¡Hola Barcelona!

[trip style = urban + beach & sun]

Mention Barcelona to Europeans and the response will be Ahh... Barcelona! I love Barcelona! The beach, the food, the city... Mention Barcelona to North Americans and the response will be Watch out for pickpockets! I traveled to the largest city on the Mediterranean Sea with high hopes and street smarts, ready to conquer the city on my own before meeting up with friends. Follow along for my Do / Eat / Stay recommendations.

 DO // Walk along the waterfront and out to the beach in  La Barceloneta .

DO // Walk along the waterfront and out to the beach in La Barceloneta.

 DO // Neighborhoods so charming that I didn't mind getting lost in them: El Born, Barri Gòtic and El Raval. Explore the Ciutat Vella {old city} by foot and always remember to look up.

DO // Neighborhoods so charming that I didn't mind getting lost in them: El Born, Barri Gòtic and El Raval. Explore the Ciutat Vella {old city} by foot and always remember to look up.

 El Born

El Born

 DO // Visit Gaudí's  Park Güell  to experience art nouveau architect Antoni Gaudí's curvy mosaic masterpiece/public park.

DO // Visit Gaudí's Park Güell to experience art nouveau architect Antoni Gaudí's curvy mosaic masterpiece/public park.

 Casa Trias, Park Güell

Casa Trias, Park Güell

 DO // Don't miss the architectural centerpiece of the city, Gaudí's  La Sagrada Familia , and if you plan on going inside, buy tickets ahead. The detail will blow your mind! No wonder it's still a work in progress.

DO // Don't miss the architectural centerpiece of the city, Gaudí's La Sagrada Familia, and if you plan on going inside, buy tickets ahead. The detail will blow your mind! No wonder it's still a work in progress.

 Six-story human tower {castell}, Catalan festival

Six-story human tower {castell}, Catalan festival

 DO // All Gaudí all the time? Marvel at the mind of Spain's most famous architect inside  Casa Batlló   and  Casa Milà .

DO // All Gaudí all the time? Marvel at the mind of Spain's most famous architect inside Casa Batlló and Casa Milà.

 DO // Trek up to the highest point in the city for incredible views and  amusement park rides  at Mount Tibidabo. Best reached by bus or metro and 1901-built funicular. Bonus points for re-enacting scenes from  Vicky Cristina Barcelona .

DO // Trek up to the highest point in the city for incredible views and amusement park rides at Mount Tibidabo. Best reached by bus or metro and 1901-built funicular. Bonus points for re-enacting scenes from Vicky Cristina Barcelona.

 Sagrat Cor church, Tibidabo

Sagrat Cor church, Tibidabo

 EAT //  Bar Lobo  is a fun indoor/outdoor restaurant with memorable fried eggplant and tuna tataki near the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art {MACBA} in El Raval.

EAT // Bar Lobo is a fun indoor/outdoor restaurant with memorable fried eggplant and tuna tataki near the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art {MACBA} in El Raval.

 EAT // "Come for one and stay till two" as the expression goes at one of the city's cheap, cheerful and tiny cava bars —  El Xampanyet  in El Born or  Can Paixano  {La Xampanyeria} in La Barceloneta.

EAT // "Come for one and stay till two" as the expression goes at one of the city's cheap, cheerful and tiny cava bars — El Xampanyet in El Born or Can Paixano {La Xampanyeria} in La Barceloneta.

 EAT //  Luzia  is the perfect hideaway off Las Ramblas for delicious cava sangria and tomato salad.

EAT // Luzia is the perfect hideaway off Las Ramblas for delicious cava sangria and tomato salad.

 EAT //  Café Cometa  is a colorful rest stop for a coffee or a juice in Sant Antoni.

EAT // Café Cometa is a colorful rest stop for a coffee or a juice in Sant Antoni.

 STAY // I stayed at the budget-friendly and stylish  Praktik Garden  in the Eixample neighborhood. It's close to the metro, shopping street Passeig de Gracia and Gaudí's Casa Batlló and Casa Milà.

STAY // I stayed at the budget-friendly and stylish Praktik Garden in the Eixample neighborhood. It's close to the metro, shopping street Passeig de Gracia and Gaudí's Casa Batlló and Casa Milà.

Things to know

  • Many residents speak only Catalan and Spanish
  • Aerobús is the easiest way to travel between the airport and the city centre
  • The best times to visit are Spring and Fall
  • The city is very walkable with a good transit system
  • Be vigilant with your wallet/handbag in busy tourist areas
  • Many shops are closed on Sundays
  • Dinner is traditionally eaten after 9pm
  • If you have time, leave the city limits to visit Monserrat or Sitges or Figueres and Cadaqués
     

This post is written by Trip Styler's Assistant Wayfarer/Editor Heather.

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[images by @heatherlovesit, 12hrs.net, airbnb.com, parcguell.cat, sagradafamilia.cat, lapedrera.com, anekdotique.com]