A Guide to Barcelona
Barcelona is an eclectic global city on the Mediterranean Sea filled with awe-inspiring art, laughter, food, and fiesta. It is home to several UNESCO heritage site created by the talented Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Since visiting Barcelona every Spanish party song that comes on the radio brings me back to the enchanting streets of this seaside town. You can’t help but feel alive in this vibrant city and I’ve jotted down some of my favorite places to help you see why.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
While Barcelona is a large city you can still keep most things within walking distance with a well-positioned Airbnb. Staying in an apartment also helps you feel more like a local and truly embrace the breathtaking cultural capital around you.
Gran Vía de les Corts Catalanes, 670, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
Cotton House is located in an old cotton factory (they do tours of the hotel if you’re interested in the history). It’s beautiful, and centrally located outside the Gothic Quarter, so it’s easy to walk most places. Their phenomenal breakfast spread and stunning decor made waking up a pleasure. If for no other reason, the cloud-like mattresses have made Cotton House my go-to spot for all future Barcelona excursions.
Carrer de Bergara, 3, Barcelona, Spain
If you’re a student or looking for cheap accommodation, St Christopher’s Hostel is a great choice. It’s located in the heart of the city, at the top end of Las Ramblas, and has a young atmosphere. St. Christopher’s even has its own bar, Belushi’s, on the first floor!
Things you must see in Barcelona
Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
If you see one thing in Barcelona La Sagrada Familia should be it. Gaudí’s masterpiece is truly spectacular. La Sagrada Familia has been under construction since 1882 and no detail, no matter how small, has been overlooked. The most striking thing about this building is that when you’re inside you feel as though you’re at the center of a rainbow. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance.
Montcada, 15-23 - 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Don’t let the long lines deter you. The wait is well worth it to catch a glimpse of some pieces by one of the world’s most celebrated artists. To reduce your wait check out Google in advance to get estimates of peak hours so you can go at a less crowded time.
Did you even go to Barcelona if you don’t get an iconic pic in Park Guell? Channel your inner Cheetah Girl and strut your stuff on some of the most famous steps in the world. Pro tip: Hit up this hot spot at sunset to miss the daytime tourists and have a stellar scene for photos.
Are you interested in seeing some of Europe’s most picturesque streets and beautiful cathedrals? Look no further than the Gothic Quarter, one of Barcelona’s oldest neighborhoods! Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter boasts some of the city’s most famous cathedrals and museums such as the Cathedral Basilica of Barcelona or Museu Frederic Mares.
Who doesn’t love to relax on a beach? Kick off your shoes and grab a glass of sangria from one of the many street vendors to make the most of your beach stroll.
You can’t go to Spain and not see a futbol match. It’s a lifestyle here and I must say the hype is real. If you want to truly embrace Spanish culture on your next trip join them in cheering on FC Barcelona! (Sorry Real Madrid fans.)
This park is fantastic for a light stroll or a rollerblade race. It’s adorned with a breathtaking fountain, a warm ode to the Arc de Triumph, and even a zoo! Ciutadella Park is truly an attraction for all ages.
Where to Eat & Drink in Barcelona
Carrer de Petritxol 11, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Do you like churros? Do you like chocolate? Great! Go here. This spot is always packed, but I can promise you there is no better afternoon snack than churros con chocolate.
Carrer de València, 163, 08011 Barcelona, Spain
I stumbled on this restaurant while wandering the street of Barcelona in search of food and it truly felt like fate to find such a spot. At Bosque Palermo, I encountered by far the best (& cheapest) Paella I had in Spain! Wash it down with a glass of the house red and you’ll be inboxing us thanks for introducing you to this gem.
Carrer d'Enric Granados, 19, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
For those of you whose phone eats first (if you know, you know) you must stop at Brunch and Cake for a bite! Located a street over from Bosque Palmero, Brunch and Cake boasts a stellar menu featuring a reimagined Eggs Benedict.
Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Here you will find any food you can think of and it is all to die for! I love to stop through this market for a quick snack or light lunch. My favorite stand is Rostisseria Ramon featuring the delicious Barcelona Croquette w/ Garlic Aioli.
Carrer de Mallorca, 236, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
This popular lunch spot is known for their amazing tapas and fresh seafood. Be aware that there is usually a line, but it goes by quickly and is completely worth the wait.
Calle Baluard, 56, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Do as the locals do and head to a casual and authentic seafood haven. Cova Fumada is primarily frequented by the locals and it has been owned by the same family for decades – a true indication of excellence.
Poeta Cabanyes 25, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
The perfect spot for drinks and snacks to break up a long day of exploring. Quimet y Quimet is so popular that you may end up enjoying your meal while standing, but I assure you with one bite you’ll understand the hype.
Calle Sardenya 48, 08005 Poble Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Menssana boasts a healthy and creative take on cuisine from around the world. While everything here is delicious my personal favorite dish is the decadent Guinness Cake!
Passeig de Gràcia, 24 bis 08007 Barcelona, Spain
La Nacional is an eclectic restaurant experience where you will find 4 culinary areas and 4 bars packed in a stunning venue. This is a great spot to sip on a glass of wine or have a full meal with friends. With the vast array of options to chose from you’re sure to find cuisine and beverages to satisfy all whims.
Paseo Isabel II, 4, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
If you’re looking for a laidback and local scene look no further than this cash-only mojito bar. If you’re feeling adventurous ask Tincho for his secret drink!
If you’re looking to “turn up”
Barcelona is quite famous for its nightlife and I assure you it’s not to be missed. When going out in Barcelona it’s helpful to have a club promoter, my go-to guy is Aashi. Next time you’re in Barcelona check out Aashi’s Guest List to see where the party is, get free entrance, and drink specials. If you are lucky enough to see this fantastic person tell him Emily says hello!
Here are Aashi’s top recommendations for our readers:
Passeig maritime de la Barceloneta, 34, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Opium is accredited for one of my most memorable nights out in Europe by far. It boasts a huge beachfront terrace and it is always packed. If you’re looking to catch the big names in EDM while in Barcelona look no farther than Opium. As an added bonus it is in the perfect location for a moonlight (or sunrise) stroll after bar close.
Free entrance with Aashi Guest List until 02:00 am every night.
Ramón Trias Fargas, 2, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
Ibiza style clubbing in the purest form. Visitors are greeted by a sleek white interior and a stunning view over the beach. Pacha attracts a crowd that is international with both a smart and casual atmosphere. This club has a bit more of an edge than its Port Olimpic neighbors. On Fridays, the vibe is dramatically different from other nights, dress smart but get ready to dance!
Free entrance with Aashi Guest List every night.
Carrer de Tuset, 8, 08006 Barcelona, Spain
The atmosphere of this club speaks for itself; it is fancy, sophisticated, and known for attracting the trendiest of Barcelona crowds. Bling Bling boasts one of the largest dance floors of any nightclub in Barcelona and is known for its musical variety. The dress code is smart and sophisticated, and you will feel like you are surrounded by all the chic, gorgeous individuals of the world all under one roof.
Friday & Saturday free entrance with Aashi Guest List until 02:00 am (for 25 yrs & up).
Carrer de Lincoln, 15, 08006 Barcelona, Spain
Otto Zutz can best be described as the go-to stylish club for locals. On the top floor, you’ll find the exclusive “Los Altos” space, often visited by celebrities. Located in the Gracia neighborhood, the venue follows the same classy atmosphere as the popular beach clubs, minus the hordes of international tourists.
Free entrance with Aashi Guest List valid until 02:00 am + free open bar on Wednesday & Saturday from 12:30 am until 01:30 am.
¿Qué puedo decir? Me gusta bailar.
Day Trips from Barcelona
Barcelona is in a fantastic location to trek out on a day trip. You could spend a day cruising the Balearic Sea on a catamaran or train to one of the picturesque Spanish towns located just outside Barcelona such as Sitges or Tarragona! Last time we were in Barcelona we considered heading to the charmingly small country situated between Spain and France, Andorra, but we opted for another day exploring Barcelona.
Getting Around Barcelona
While Barcelona is a large city walking is one of the best ways to get around. Walking is entirely manageable here and it enables you to stumble upon some of the best spots!
If you’re up to it, the Metro is one of the fastest ways to get around Barcelona. It’s fairly easy to navigate, but as in any major city be mindful of your bag.
Among other driving apps Barcelona has two of my personal favorites, Uber and MyTaxi. I used both of these apps to get to and from the airport and when going out at night.
Vive tu mejor vida.