A Weekend Guide to Barcelona

A Weekend Guide to Barcelona

If I could pick one word to describe Barcelona, it would be rebellious. The fight for sovereignty from Spain runs deep in the Catalan culture and has created a unique pride among the people of BCN.  I would even argue that Gaudi himself, and the architectural feat he achieved in this vibrant city, is markedly rebellious. This fiery identity makes Barcelona feel a little cheeky in all the right ways.

This was my second short visit to the city, and I’m sure it won’t be my last.  And while I wouldn’t say that I’d necessarily go out of my way to visit Barcelona again, I wouldn’t not extend a layover either.  Especially if it meant tapas at La Cañete followed by cocktails at Dr. Stravinskys.

Things to Do 

La Sagrada Familia.  A must. Book tickets in advance to see the inside of one of the world’s great masterpieces.  You can book tickets here.  I suggest only paying for the entrance and skip adding on one of the towers.  The view is great, sure.  But wouldn’t you rather go to a rooftop nearby where you can see La Sagrada Familia in the skyline instead while you enjoy a cocktail?  Plus the winding stairs to get down are nauseating.  

Park Guell. A must. I’m pretty sure you can’t even say you went to Barcelona if you don’t go to Park Guell.  Book tickets ahead of time here for your stroll through Gaudi’s prized park to save hours of waiting in line.  

Tapas.  More specifically eat tapas at Bar Cañete, one of the better restaurants I’ve had the pleasure of dining at.  Most specifically, get the lobster croquettes & the gazpacho.  Make reservations ahead of time, here.  I suggest getting a table for 9pm or later so you can eat on local time. 

Enjoy a creative libation at Dr. Stravinskys.  This mixology haven is perhaps one of my favorite bars in the world. 

Rooftop Cocktails. If what you’re after is a gorgeous photo backdrop, head to Hotel Colon rooftop or H10 Madison.  If you’re more looking for a rooftop scene, then check out the live music and wrap around deck at Hotel 1989.

Mercado de la Boqueria.  Bonus is that you can also cross off ‘walk Las Ramblas’ during your visit to the market. I’d plan to visit the market for lunch, you can fill up by browsing the stands (like Matt’s favorite – the meat and cheese cone) or post up at one of the food stalls for fresh oysters & grilled octupus.

Embrace the tourism and get lost in the Gothic Quarter. Eat gelato, go shopping, pop into a bar for some sangria, repeat.

Michellin Star Dining.  Barcelona is home to an impressive number of Michellin star restaurants.  We didn’t try either but Tickets and Enigma topped every list of recommendations we received.  Make reservations in advance.   If you’re up for a once in a lifetime food experience, my highest possible recommendation is to have dinner or lunch at Cellar Can Roca.  It’s an hour outside of the city, so you’ll need to hire a car or take the train, and the reservations are next to impossible without a 9 month notice, but if by some miracle you can get a table for your dates, do. Cellar Can Roca has been rated the world’s best restaurant in years passed. (Read more about Cellar Can Roca here). This 4-5 hour dining experience will cost around $1000 for 2 seasonal tastings & wine pairings.

Tour some of Gaudi’s works. Casa Vicens, Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, etc. I’ve never taken the time to book tours inside any of these infamous structures, but if the outside details are any indication of what splendor the inside holds, I can only presume it is nothing short of remarkable.

Stroll the Beach. Are the beaches in Barcelona anything to write home about?  Not particularly.  Do they have a few oceanside restaurants and bars worth checking out in the summer?  You bet. The new Soho House is my best recommendation for beachside lounging and lunch.

Visit the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Opera House. The best option would be to buy tickets to see a show.  But if you’re just after the quintessential Barcelona colorful columns photo for the gram, you can buy a ticket to tour the building and learn more about the architecture. We were short on time so didn’t get an opportunity to go inside on this trip, but I’ve heard it’s breathtaking.

Museums. Barcelona is home to a Miró foundation museum & a Picasso museum worth mentioning.

Where to Stay

We stayed at the H10 Mimosa.  The area was a bit off the beaten tourist path, in a good way. The hotel offers a lovely little retreat from the overstimulating pulse of the city center (onslaught of tourists), and there are views of one of Gaudis Casa Milà from the petite rooftop pool terrace.  Rooms are large and comfortable, staff is incredibly accommodating, and the price more than reasonable.  Room upgrade suggested as Barcelona follows NYC room size standards.

Other hotels I really love in Barcelona:

Cottonhouse: Every detail of this boutique hotel is artfully decorated. While there is a rooftop, they’re unfortunately pool-less.

H10 Madison: great location and rooftop, but you’ll need a suite upgrade to feel comfortable in their closet-sized rooms.

Hotel 1898 has a 360 rooftop view and pool with nightly live music for sunset. The hotel is charming and sophisticated.

Hotel Colon: The spa and rooftop view is breathtaking, rooms are renovated and ok, price is unbeatable.

>>Shop my loooooooks>>

White Skirt: DollsKill Black Top: Zara White Slides: Charlotte Russe Red tassel Earrings: H&M Sunnies: Quay Woven Purse: Adorne

Leopard Sweater: Amazon Fashion Light Wash Jeans: Sanctuary Hair Scarf: vintage find

Green Velvet Swim: Bellizo Fashion

Green Dress (below): Bellizo Fashion White Jacket: Amazon Fashion

 

 

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