We finally ended up going to Barcelona. The last time we were in Spain, we made it to Madrid and Ibiza but just couldn’t afford to go to Barcelona. DJ has wanted to visit ever since. So on a cold November evening, while sitting at home and sipping coffee and arguing about the heater, we booked our tickets to visit during the extended Easter weekend.
Barcelona is a pretty spectacular city.
It pretty much ticks the box for everything and everyone – museums, art, food, beach, football, wine, history, fashion, good weather. Its not very often you get a city which has everything.
And its definitely a little different from the other areas of Spain since its in the Catalan region which has its own language, food and history.
Research where you want to stay.
We didn’t but ended up in the Gothic quarters which I would recommend if this is your first time in the city. Its quite different from the rest of Barcelona.
The Gothic quarter has narrow lanes, cobbled streets and a square every 5 minutes away.
This area is also definitely the most historically relevant and its easy to walk everywhere.
The only places we took the tube was the football stadium and the Basilica – its not far but we just wanted to get there asap. We did the Sandemann’s walking tour which gives you a short(ish) history lesson about Spain and Catalan.
Of course, if you are interested in spending time at the beach, staying somewhere near the beach makes sense. But strangely, the beach area was a lot more ‘touristy’ than the Gothic side so I am pretty glad we stuck there.
I was surprised to see how good the food was.
We were not terribly excited with the food in Madrid. I just didn’t get the hang of paella, although we did enjoy the sangria. So I wasn’t really expecting the food in Barcelona to be amazing – which it was! I am also glad we skipped the sangria to have red wine – they have some mouth-watering Catalan wines.
Eat all the Catalan tapas and pintos you can find. We ate Iberian ham with every meal since this is the best you will get. Strangely, the potato bravas was also different in every restaurant since each place has its own sauce and spices. Other recommendations: try the fried peppers, coco bread with tomatoes and the croquettes.
My only restaurant recommendation is Bodega Vascoria (at 13, Gignas). Unfortunately we ate there our first night in Barcelona – the food after that was always being compared to this place. (Although that was just a good and included a Michelin star restaurant as well). You go in and the owner just says ‘sit wherever you want. I have this today (pointing at the counter). I got it from the market in the morning.’ So thats what we did. So so good!
Also loved this very typical ‘vintagy’ Italian gelato place – the croissants here were amazing. (Strangely, we actually didn’t end up eating the gelato here!)
The other place we liked was Mirilla, not far from the first restaurant. Our Air BNB host gave us quite a good tip to stay away from the restaurants near La Rambla and the waterfront since they were pretty much tourist traps. The small cute cafes and restaurants in the Gothic quarter are a good bet.
Also you won’t do too badly if you are the dessert loving type.
The muffins we had at this bakery on the way to Casa Batlo was really yum. Tip: don’t get the coffee – overpriced and not impressive. (This was the general trend that I found with coffee in Barcelona.)
Of course, my mandatory photo of oranges.
To quote DJ, ‘if I came here as a kid, I would have wanted to be an architect’.
Antoni Gaudi was an architect and has his work all over Barcelona. I am in no way an architecture buff or more architecturally inclined than the next person, but whether or not you are interested in architecture, art or design, I would recommend going to the Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo.
Please make sure you go to the ‘Gaudi and Nature’ part of the Sagrada Familia – it gives a certain perspective to a lot of his design and is quite a revelation.
Unfortunately, these were the only two we had time to visit but I would recommend going inside and taking a look.
(Buy tickets online beforehand – the Sagrada Familia tickets were all sold out and we saw people being turned away. The line to get tickets at Casa Batllo is quite a long one.)
I couldn’t write about Barcelona without mentioning football. Again, I am not a football fan but the political connotations that football has is Barcelona was pretty interesting to discover. We found balconies all over the old town draped in flags for the football club of Barcelona. We only went and checked it out from far but if you are a football fan, taking a tour inside Camp Nou would be recommended.
Fashion and Shopping
There are lots of shops selling small items and look pretty interesting.
I have been raving about Mango quite a bit and their main store in La Rambla is pretty amazing. Its a huge store with collections that are not yet seen in London. And of course, prices are cheaper than anywhere else in Europe or the UK. Nothing fit me and I was very upset. The Zara store I went to was a little messy so I didn’t really care to look around too much. I just picked up the jacket I wanted which was cheaper than in London.
Like the pharmacies in Paris, the pharmacies in Barcelona are awesome too. I picked up some beauty brands I like which you don’t find in London. Definitely research the brands you are interested in and stock up. I saw a lot of cute boutiques as well and would have loved to pick up something but most of the clothing was definitely not London friendly – but so dreamy!
So thats all I have for Barcelona.
If you are looking for more travel ideas, have a look at our travel section and if you are looking for more ideas for summer, we have that too! If you have any questions about Barcelona, comment below and I will try and give you s much information I can.
We also posted a lot of pictures from Barcelona on Instagram – a lot of shoe selfies and food from what I remember! Follow us and have a look at that. You can also subscribe for our emails or follow us on Facebook. We update our Facebook pages with a lot of pictures and videos throughout the day, provide some fashion and art event information, fashion news and styling tips – so make sure you like our page if that is the kind of stuff you are interested in!