Barcelona is the perfect city to visit if you’re after a mix of architecture, great food and a long sandy beach. Although fairly spread out, if you stay in the Eixample area most on the central part of the city can be explored on foot – Make sure not to miss the winding streets of the Gothic Quarter.
- Currency: Euro
- Local time: GMT +1
- Language: Catalan, Spanish
Stay: Kimpton Vividora
This was my first time staying in a Roommate hotel, but it certainly won’t be my last! Roommate Gerard was perfectly located in central Barcelona in the Eixample district. It is a short 5 minute walk to the Gothic Quarter, around 10 minutes to the El Born area with its trendy bars and cafes and around 30 minutes walk from the beach, meaning pretty much everywhere in central Barcelona is easily accessible on foot.
The rooms were minimalist in design and equipped with everything you need for a city stay, plus a few little extras to help you settle in. The beds were huge and amazingly comfy, and the bathroom followed suit in spaciousness, and had great products that were restocked daily. The yoga mats were a great addition for anyone who wanted to take part in the rooftop yoga classes included in the stay.
There is a daily wine hour for guests as with all Kimpton hotels, which is a great chance to mingle and meet other guests, and there is also a rooftop complete with pool and loungers exclusively for guests use – great if you want to soak up some sun away from the crowds on the beach. The rooftop bar and restaurant has an excellent selection of local food and drinks, and amazing views over the city!
Do: Sagrada Familia, Barceloneta Beach, Las Ramblas, La Boqueria Market
No trip to Barcelona is complete without a trip to the Sagrada Familia. Although the basilica – designed by Gaudi – is unfinished, it’s a hugely impressive building, and even more so from inside. If you want a tour of the building it’s worth booking tickets in advance as the queues on the day can get very long.
One of the major benefits of Barcelona is that there is a beach within walking distance of the city centre, and it’s a nice beach too! There’s a wide stretch of golden sand, and although there aren’t many lounger to sit on, many people stretch out on blankets or take a stroll along the surf. The edge of the beach is also lined with plenty of bars and restaurants for when you start to feel peckish.
If you’ve had your fill of sunbathing on the beach, head back into the city along Las Ramblas, one of the most famous streets in Barcelona. Always packed with tourists, the bars and restaurants that line the street are fairly pricey here and definitely aren’t catered towards the locals, but it’s a great place to stop and people watch.
Located just off of Las Ramblas is the Boqueria Market, which is a great place to stop and sample some fresh produce, including cured meats, cheeses and freshly squeezed juices. Watch your bags in this afea though as it’s a hot spot for pick pockets!
Eat: Tantarantana, El Rall, Pizza paco, Chocolat-Box, Chichi Limona, Bacoa Burger
The food scene in Barcelona is excellent – I can almost guarantee that you will be able to find whatever you are craving! We ate a mixture of local food (tapas, paella, churros…) along with great pizza, burgers and pastries. A few of my top places to eat are listed below:
- Tantarantana – Located in the El Born district in a tucked away square, this place serves authentic tapas in a cozy setting. They have lots of tables outdoors, bu these will need reserving unless you want to sit down past 10pm.
- El Rall – The paella here was great, and very reasonable! There were several different varieties (we went for Valencian with chicken and rabbit) and the local house wine was €5 per half litre!
- Pizza Paco – Just down the road from Tantarantana, this pizza place is always packed and for good reason. Cheap, tasty pizza with an extensive toppings menu.
- Chichi Limona – A great place to stop for breakfast or brunch in the Eixample area. The pastries here were so fresh they were still warm from the oven!
- Bacoa Burger – If you’re craving a burger after a morning of soaking up the sun on the beach, head to Bacoa Burger for good quality meat and a selection of sides to accompany.
- Chocolat-Box – Perfect for a pit stop if you fancy indulging in some typical Spanish churros with rich chocolate to dip them in.
Drink: Story, Mescladis, El Born district, Roommate Gerard rooftop
There are so many tucked away bars in Barcelona that it would be impossible to visit them all, but whether you’re looking for a pavement side cafe, a wine bar or a lively late night music venue, you’re guaranteed to find it somewhere in the city!
The El Born district is an excellent area to find a spot for a pre-dinner drink. My favourite was Mescladis, a little outdoor garden style bar serving drinks to locals and tourists alike. They don’t stay open late, so make this a pit stop for a drink before dinner.
Story, not far from Mescladis, was another favourite. They often have live music in the evenings and has an excellent wine list. It’s cozy and the perfect place to relax after an evening meal.