Guide to Barcelona

Welcome to our guide to Barcelona! In this handy post we will share with you all the ins and outs of this vibrant city. We have lived in this capital of art, football and history for almost two years, and we have enjoyed it an awful lot. Perhaps we will move back someday, as we will surely miss it.

To properly start our blog, we thought it’d be great to write a guide for anyone who wants to experience Barcelona to the fullest, and this guide might be especially helpful for new expats or students who just arrived in this city. We have focused a lot on food though, so anyone currently living in Barcelona who is interested in finding out about new restaurants might also be interested in reading this post. So, we hope you will find some helpful tips here, and most importantly, will enjoy reading it!

Arriving In Barcelona

carmel

Airports

The main airport in Barcelona is the El-Prat airport, which lies just south of the city. El-Prat is about a 25 minute drive from the city, so it’s very quick to get to. Taxis are relatively cheap (the fare is about 25 euro when you go to the city). There are also buses (calles ‘Aerobuses’) from terminal 1 and 2 every 10 minutes, and they are somewhat slower than taxis but still very efficient. A one way Aerobus ticket costs €5.90.

There is another Barcelona airport, where many low-cost airlines fly to, however, it is all the way in Girona, which is another city close to Barcelona. From Girona to Barcelona it is still more than an hour long journey either by bus or by train. So take care when booking the flight!

Airport code’s:

Barcelona El-Prat: BCN

Girona: GRO


Getting around

The public transportation system in Barcelona is excellent, as there are many buses, metro lines, trains and even trams! If all else fails, there are countless taxis that can of course take you anywhere.

However, getting around by public transport is very easy and efficient in Barcelona.

We would recommend getting a T-10 card – this will give you 10 rides for 10 euro’s, and you can use it in the metro, bus, train (in certain zones) and tram.

There are also services like Drivy (a sort of Airbnb but for cars), Yugo (rent-a-scooter with an application) and Avantcar (rent-a-car via an application), which can be quite handy when you are staying in Barcelona for a longer period of time.

Another great thing to do if you stay longer in Barcelona and you actually have a social security number/NIE, is to sign up for Bicing, which is the local bike service. There are stations all over Barcelona, and you can get a bike at any station, cycle to your destination, and leave the bike at another station.


When to go

Barcelona is sunny all year round, so you can visit Barcelona anytime, and you’ll be sure to get some sun. However, we think there are some times during the year that are much better than other times. The best ones are spring (March – May) and autumn (October – December). Of course, if you want to go to the beach rather than go sightseeing, then you should go in the summer. However, summer can be awfully hot, extremely crowded with tourists and much more expensive. That’s why we prefer spring and autumn over summer, as the weather is very pleasant, not too hot and not cold, so you can still go and explore the city, without breaking in a constant sweat.

Where to stay

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So where to stay in Barcelona? Of course, this depends on some factors, such as how long you will stay and also the purpose of your stay.
Obviously, if you are staying for a couple of days, a hotel or Airbnb is the best option. But if you moved to Barcelona for a longer period, it’s good to know in what area you would like to live. We would recommend to have a look in each neighborhood to see which one appeals to you the most.

The most touristic area’s in Barcelona are the older neighborhoods, Gótico, Raval, Born and Barceloneta, all located in the southern part of the city. Needless to say, these area’s can get very crowded, especially during high season, but you will be in the center of the city, with all sights and shops in a walkable distance.

Born is one of the oldest yet charming parts of the city, full of boutique stores, good restaurants and cozy cafes. There are also some nice sights to see such as the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar, a beautiful church and the Picasso Museum. You are also very close to popular spots such as Parc de la Ciutadella, Arc de Triomf, the beach and the city center.

Gotico and Raval are very old parts of the city as well, and perhaps the most touristic ones. These two areas are separated by the famous and popular street La Rambla. In Gotico, you can find many old and beautiful churches, the biggest one being the Cathedral. Walking around aimlessly through the little streets of Gotico is the best possible way to experience the old soul of Barcelona. You will find some gorgeous sites such as Placa Reial, which is a lovely square close to La Rambla.

Raval used to be quite a dodgy neighborhood, but this changed a lot in the recent years with the influx of tourists. In Raval, you will find the Museum of Contemporary Art as well as the famous food market Mercat de La Boqueria.

If you want to get away from the tourists and the chaos, we would suggest staying either in L’Eixample or Gràcia, which are both still very close to the center, yet it will be much quieter, especially Gràcia.

L’Eixample is a modern, slightly posh area with lots of restaurants and cafes that are definitely worth visiting. Since L’Eixample is quite big, locals often divide the neighborhood in two: L’Eixample Izquierda and L’Eixample derecha, which basically means L’Eixample left and L’Eixample right, respectfully. The street that divides the two parts is the famous and big shopping street, Passeig de Gràcia.

Gràcia is the charming neighborhood that is situated in the northern part of the city. It used to be a stand-alone village, but Barcelona grew so much that it eventually swallowed the village, and now Gràcia is part of it. If you want to get away from the crowds and tourists, yet you don’t want to go too far from the center, then Gràcia is definitely the place to go. Take a stroll through the neighborhood in the weekend, and discover Gràcia’s cute boutiques, great restaurants and bars and soak in the relaxed atmosphere of the locals.

Poblenou is a relatively new neighborhood in the east of Barcelona (the name literally means New Village). It is a very modern and hip area. It is also quite close to the beaches of Mar Bella and Bogatell, which are often less crowded than the ones in Barceloneta. Additionally, Poblenou isn’t too far from the center, just 3 to 4 metro stops away. The Rambla del Poblenou is also a very nice street to walk around that leads right to the beach.

Where to eat


Brunch

Barcelona is definitely heaven when it comes to brunch places. There are countless brunch hotspots to go to, all around the city. Since we have moved to Barcelona, we have gone for brunch almost every weekend, and therefore we kind of consider ourselves ‘brunch Jedis’!

So, we have prepared the ultimate brunch guide just for you, and listed our favorite brunch spots per neighborhood!

Gràcia

Mama’s Cafe

 

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Mama’s Cafe is a cozy little cafe in the middle of Gràcia. It has a very cute patio, and in the summer it’s pleasant, as you sit in the shade. As for the food: the pancakes are absolutely to die for and they have some simple breakfast dishes that are delightful! My personal favorite is the scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms and Gruyere cheese. They also have some delicious cakes; one of our favorites is the Pumpkin Spice cake with caramel frosting… So good!

Mama’s cafe
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer de Torrijos 26

Facebook

Timeline Bar

When you first enter in this tiny bar/cafe, you will think that is it a bit strange looking with vintage decorations (such as the old looking TV containing a miniature of Charlie Chaplin haning on the wall). However, you will start blending in after spotting the lovely food buffet right in front of you at the bar and the waitress will bring you some sparkling Mimosa. The price is 18 euros per person, which includes the all-you-can-eat brunch buffet, cold drinks, coffee and tea and up to three warm tapas dishes that you can order separately. Tip: Most brunch places in Barcelona don’t accept reservations, but this one does! So reserve a table beforehand, because it can get crowded.

Timeline Bar
Price: 18€/person
Carrer de la Providència, 3
Facebook

La Nena

La Nena is not really a brunch place, but more of a breakfast place, though it is still worth to mention it as they serve some great dishes. The cafe itself may look ordinary, but their sweet and savory crepes are absolutely heavenly. It is really a locals’ place, so it’s a great spot if you want to experience the local life, this may be the place to go. La Nena is also a chocolaterie, and their hot chocolate is definitely a must-try as well. Definitely recommended for the traditional hot chocolate with churros breakfast!

La Nena
Price Range: 5-10€/person
Carrer de Ramón y Cajal, 36
Website


L’Eixample

Federal Cafe

Located in the charming district of Sant Antoní lies Federal café, a hipster brunch place (to be honest, basically everything is hipster in Barcelona) with an amazing brunch menu.

Because of the popularity of this spot, it’s best to arrive early for brunch, between 10 and 11AM I would say. Otherwise, expect a waiting time of around 30 min, which isn’t all so bad when waiting in the late morning sunshine.

There is A LOT on the menu, so choosing will be difficult as everything looks lovely. All eggs are served in a small pan on a wooden platter with some crunchy toasts, spread with a decent amount of creamy butter. The pancakes are pretty good too, with a delightful maple syrup that contains a dash of whiskey (how cheeky!). For us, the must-try is definitely the Shakshuka – perfectly poached eggs in a sea of slightly spicy tomato sauce and a dash of cumin.

Federal Cafe
Price Range: 13-17€/person
Carrer del Parlament, 39
Website

Somewhere Cafe

This brunch spot serves dishes from all over the world, hence the name ‘Somewhere cafe’. It’s massive and can accommodate also large groups with no need for reservation. They have amazing pulled pork pancakes, as well as a really nice Mediterranean breakfast. For the sweet tooths out there, the Oreo milkshake is simply amazing! The star of the show, however, is the coffee; the quality is absolutely top-notch and will make your whole experience. Last but not least, this is also a great cafe for a bit of working or studying thanks to the super fast WiFi.

Somewhere cafe
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer d’Aragó, 310
Website

Petit Pot

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Petit Pot is a lovely brunch spot in the middle of the city, just steps from  Placa Catalunya. The brunch is served during the weekend and includes some of the staples such as Eggs Benedict, scrambled eggs and pancakes as well as some dishes-of-the day. We truly believe that the eggs benedict in here are perhaps the best in the city, served with a delicious hollandaise sauce and potatoes roasted to perfection.

Petit Pot
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Plaza de Urquinaona, 4
Website

Granja Petitbo

This lovely little brunch place is located near Arc de Triomf on Passeig de Sant Juan. Like many places, here it can get quite packed during the morning and thus we definitely recommend to get there not later than 11. They serve some funky dishes, such as Matcha waffles, and some standard brunch dishes, such as eggs benedict.
It is also a nice place to have a glass of wine with some friends in the evening.

Granja Petitbo
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Passeig de Sant Joan, 82
Website

Copasetic

Copasetic is not only a great brunch place, but also serves cocktails during the night. They use only organic, km 0 ingredients and offer the most popular breakfast & brunch dishes such as English breakfast, French breakfast, pancakes and much more. Their home made lemonade is exceptionally good, as is their French toast. If you want a piece of advice, if you get the chicken crepe you might want to share it with someone else as it’s absolutely enormous.

Copasetic
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer de la Diputació, 55
Website

Poblenou

Can Dende

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This is probably the best brunch place in town! It’s a small spot with Brazilian influence and pretty popular, so be early, especially during the weekends, preferably around 10AM. It is located in Poblenou, so a bit further away from the city center, but it is definitely worth it to go.

The staff is really friendly, the food is amazing and there is even a cute dog. We would definitely recommend taking the salty pancakes with salmon, the french toast, the salmon bagel or the eggs benedict…. so basically, everything that’s on the menu!

Can Dende
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer de la Ciutat de Granada, 44
Website

Born

Picnic Restaurant
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Picnic is located close to the Parc de la Ciutadella and offers an amazing brunch menu. They have some great sandwiches, burgers as well as (virgin) cocktails. Unlike other brunch restaurants in Barcelona, they do accept reservations, so reserve a spot if you can, especially during the weekend.

Picnic Restaurant
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer del Comerç, 1
Website

Gotico

Milk

This little brunch place and restaurant is run by an Irish couple and they have some amazing food at this place! Their menu changes every season and they serve their ‘recovery brunch’ everyday from 9am to 4.30 pm.  However, it can get very busy and you might have to wait for a bit to get a seat, especially in the weekend.

Milk
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer d’en Gignàs, 21
Website

Dinner

It’s late, about dinner time. Well, there are so many options in Barcelona, that no one could ever try them all. Also because there are always many new places opening.

Here’s a list of our favorite restaurants, split by type of cuisine. We’re sure you will enjoy them!


Spanish

La Cerveseria Catalana

La Cerveseria Catalana is a great local tapas place located right in the heart of L’Eixample. This classic tapas restaurant serves delicious, local food and it is reasonably priced. Everything starting from the seafood all the way to the cured meat is absolutely delicious. You’ll be enjoying dishes like the famous Pulpo a La Gallega (tender octopus served with potatoes and ground red pepper), the garlic prawns and the Jamon Iberico. Because of its popularity, we would recommend to reserve beforehand as waiting times can be quite long, especially during the weekend.

La Cerveseria Catalana
Price Range: 15-20€/person
Carrer de Mallorca, 236
Website

Vinitus

If you like fancy places, and you are feeling like some good tapas, then Vinitus is a great choice for starting the evening. Their tapas are majestic, period. The place is rather expensive but the quality is off the roof. The venue is also very beautiful, with wine walls decorating the place creating an amazing atmosphere.

Vinitus
Price Range: 15-25€/person
Carrer del Consell de Cent, 333

Intrèpid

Intrèpid is a small and cozy tapas place in Gràcia, close to Placa de la Virreina. The tapas are delicious and the wine selection is excellent. What makes this place even greater is that it’s not touristy at all. Be sure to try the pulpo (octopus), the tuna tataki and the hummus as well!

Intrèpid
Price Range: 12-17€/person
Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 176

Italian


Pappa e Citti

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This Sardinian restaurant situated in our favorite neighborhood, Gràcia. It’s small and cozy and it offers a very comprehensive menu with plenty of Italian staples such as Parmigiana and above all, lots of traditional Sardinian dishes such as the Fregula and the Culurgiones . For all the sweet toths, they also offer an absolutely delicious Panna Cotta!

Pappa e Citti
Price Range: 12-25€/person
Carrer de l’Encarnació, 38

Napoletani DOC

For some authentic Italian pizza, from Naples, the home of pizza, head to this restaurant located in Eixample. It’s better to reserve beforehand as this restaurant is quite popular. All the staff is from Napoli, so you are sure to get an authentic Italian and delicious pizza!

Napoletani DOC Barcelona
Price Range: 12-18€/person
Carrer de la Diputació, 101
Website

Sportsbar

Another place where all the staff is from Naples and where they make great Pizza is the Sportsbar. They have various locations in Barcelona and as the name suggests, they show sports games, mainly football. Although they are known for their awesome pizzas, they also make other Italian dishes, such as pasta, salads, risotto, antipasti… You name it!

Sportsbar
Price Range: 15-20€/person
Carrer Ample, 51-53
Website

Japanese

Kibuka

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One of the best sushi places in town if you ask us! The sushi they make always have an ‘international’ twist, such as Italian sushi with mozzarella or Thai sushi with a spicy sauce. Of course, it’s not all about the sushi, some other great picks are the Gyozas, the Miso Soup and the green tea mochi for dessert.

Kibuka has two restaurants in Gràcia. If you decide to go, we would recommend going there at exactly 8pm, as they take no reservations (unless you are with a group) and at exactly 8.30pm, the place is most likely to be completely full.

Kibuka
Price Range: 20-30€/person
Carrer de Goya, 9Calle Verdi, 64
Website

Kitsune

Kitsune is another sushi place in Gràcia which serves inventive and amazing sushi. It’s a very tiny place in a small side street of Gran de Gràcia. If you’re not sure what to order, you can try the tasting menu that includes some sushi platters as well as some typical Japanese dishes such as Gyozas and Yakisoba.

Kitsune
Price Range: 25-35€/person
Carrer del Montseny, 13
Website

FAN Shoronpo
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Lately, there have been many Ramen restaurants opening up in Barcelona. But this one feels (and tastes) truly authentic. The ramen noodles are absolutely delicious and together with the Shoronpo dumplings will satisfy your appetite. You can even see the chef making dumplings by hand and noodles with a fancy-looking machine  in the back of the restaurant.

FAN Shoronpo
Price Range: 15-22€/person
Carrer de Sèneca, 28
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Vietnamese

Bun Bo
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This Vietnamese restaurant has two locations: one in Raval and one near Urquinaona (Gotico neighborhood). They serve delicious Pho soups as well as a very nice Ca Phe Sua Da, the famous Vietnamese iced drip coffee served with condensed milk. This place is perfect for lunch after some shopping or walking around in the morning!

Bun Bo
Price Range: 15-20€/person
Calle Sagristans, 3Carrer dels Àngels, 6 (Raval)
Website

La Vietnamita
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Also this Vietnamese spot has two restaurants, one in Born and one in Gràcia. They serve all the famous Vietnamese dishes, and the food is deliciously fresh and healthy. Although the prices are slightly on the expensive side (for Barcelona standards anyway),it is definitely a great place for a light and healthy meal.

La Vietnamita
Price Range: 15-20€/person
Gracia: Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 78 // Born: Carrer del Comerç, 17
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Other Asian Cuisine

Kuai Momos

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Momo’s is a great restaurant with cuisine inspired from all over Asia. The chef himself has traveled all over Asia for a few years before coming to Barcelona and share his newfound Asian cuisine cooking skills. Of course, this place is located in lovely Gràcia, and if you wouldn’t specifically look for this place, you would walk right past it. We tried the pad thai, gyoza’s, fish cakes, chicken sate, spring rolls and coconut tempura,  all of which were simply outstanding. This might be easily one of our favorite restaurants, so definitely a must-try!

Kuai Momos
Price Range: 20-30€/person
Carrer Martínez de la Rosa, 71
Website

Mosquito

Mosquito is an Asian tapas place in the Born area, which serves some great dumplings as well as a variety of different Asian noodle soups, such as Pho and Wonton soups. Additionally, they are also famous for their wide range of artisan beers from all over the world, so you can also pass by for a quick drink. The dim sum and the noodle soups are super tasty and Mosquito is definitely a great place if you feel like some Asian cuisine.

Mosquito
Price Range: 20-25€/person
Carrer dels Carders, 46
Website

Burgers

Chivuo’s

For Burger-lover’s, a must is Chivuo’s, located in the upper part of Gràcia. The menu is composed of a simple set of 4 to 5 burgers, and each single one of them is simply amazing. They also make their own sauces and the home made fries they serve are fantastic.

Chivuo’s
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer del Torrent de l’Olla, 175
Website

BRO Room

This hipster burger place is located in Eixample and serves amazing gourmet burgers. They have a wide range of different burgers, top-notch hand-cut potatoes and tasty home made sauces. On the wall in the restaurant there is also a big map describing how people in different countries say ‘Bro’. BRO Room is not only a Burger place, but actually serves great coffee and home-made cakes also!

BRO Room
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Carrer de Còrsega, 562
Facebook

Bacoa

There are several Bacoa restaurants within Barcelona and it offers a great variety of tasty burgers. You can customize your burger with different toppings and choose from a range of home-made sauces. In fact, everything is home-made, so this makes the burger experience even better!

Bacoa
Price Range: 10-15€/person
Various Locations
Website

International

Felice

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Felice is a Dutch restaurant in the middle of Gràcia, that has received outstanding reviews in the past and really has excellent food. Even though they serve some Dutch dishes such as chicken satay and ‘bitterballen’, the majority of their dishes are rather international. The honey bbq spareribs are simply to die for and the lamb chops are also super delicious. For dessert, the chocolate coulant is like chocolate heaven melting in your mouth! Moreover,  the service is exceptional; one time we had dinner there very early and the waiters just kept cracking jokes with us! This restaurant is truly special, so if you want good food, good service, good ambiance all for a reasonable price, then this is the place to go!

Felice Bar-Restaurant
Price Range: 20-30€/person
Carrer de Francisco Giner, 22
Website


Cafes

Cosmo

Cosmo is located near Universidad and is a great place for coffee and lunch or even brunch. They have a ton of things to choose from, but we especially like the iced chai latte, the coffee and pretty much all of the cakes. If you feel like something salty, we’d recommend their bikini (ham and cheese sandwich) with home made bread, absolutely delicious.

Cosmo
Price Range: 5-15€/person
Carrer d’Enric Granados, 3
Website

Onna
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Onna cafe is located just at the edge of Gràcia, and close to Diagonal. They have fantastic coffee, and when I say fantastic, it is really FANTASTIC. Their coffee comes all the way from Costa Rica. Next to that, be sure to try their amazing cheesecake and brownie. True coffee addicts will definitely adore this place!

Onna Cafe
Price Range: 5-15€/person
Carrer de Santa Teresa, 1
Website

Liadisimo
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This little local cafe just outside Gràcia is very cozy and there is also an outside garden terrace, which is great during the summer. They have great coffee, sandwiches and croissants, so for a quick breakfast it is perfect. There is also free wifi and they usually play jazz music, so it is also a great place for working a bit. During the week, they have special breakfast prices, so it’s definitely worth checking it out.

Liadisimo
Price Range: 5-10€/person
Carrer de Guillem Tell, 23-25
Facebook

Usagui
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This lovely Japanese cafe run by a couple of Japanese ladies is located in a small street outside of Gràcia. They serve great tea, Japanese pastries and other drinks such as Matcha Latte or Matcha Frappuccino, which are absolutely great! The service is very good – if you order tea, they will come once in a while to fill your teapot with hot water. They also have a lunch menu, and you can eat Japanese dishes such as Gyoza’s,  Udon, rice dishes and miso soup.

Usagui
Price Range: 15-20€/person
Carrer de les Santjoanistes, 28
Facebook

La Pasticceria di Gràcia

This small Italian bar run by a most friendly gentleman from Salerno is a lovely place for great coffee and – as the name already suggests- various Italian pastry. The cornetti filled with different flavored creams are absolutely amazing, as is basically everything else. We have come to this little pasticceria a couple of times for breakfast, but it’s a great place to visit anytime during the day.

La Pasticceria di Gràcia
Price Range: 5-10€/person
Carrer de Verdi, 58
Facebook

Co-working Spaces

More and more digital nomads and entrepreneurs are venturing to Barcelona, being also a very active startup city. As such, quite a bit of co-working spaces have started to appear as well. Here is a list of cool co-working spaces that are worth mentioning:

Cloud Co-workingThis cool co-working office is big and has plenty of natural light thanks a beautiful terrace that will get you Wow view right on Sagrada Familia. The WiFI is fast, the people are very friendly and last but certainly not least, also hosts the monthly Flylancer meet-up, which brings together lots of freelancer, entrepreneurs and remote workers for a super fun night. This is possibly the best meetup that we have attended. If you are into remote working, definitely go check it out.

betahouse: This is the largest co-working space in the city and is open 24/7. There are many different rooms and spaces, which makes it a diverse place to work at. And on top of that, there is also an amazing rooftop!

Apocapoc BCNThis is a cool co-working space in Born, well-known for its’ international mix of workers who come here. Interesting note is that there are also two terraces with fruit and vegetable trees!

Going Out


Bar’s

Gràcia Latina

In this latin bar you not only find great mojitos but you can also attend a free salsa dance class! Or if you just want to dance the night away and showcase your salsa moves, then this is the place to be. As it is located it the heart of Gràcia, you will surely mingle and dance with the locals!

Gràcia Latina
Carrer de l’Or, 19
Facebook

Le Standard

Le Standard is a cozy and charming little French bar located in Gràcia. The bar certainly has a vintage feel, as the space is decorated with old leather reading chairs and dim lights illuminating the room. The staff is absolutely friendly and the cocktails are definitely worth a try. A bientôt à le standard?

Le Standard
Calle Topazi, 24

Rabipelau

Rabipelau is a funky little bar with various locations throughout Barcelona, more specifically in Gotico, Gràcia and Raval. Not only are the drinks very cheap, they are also very good, especially the mojito and the frozen daiquiri! They have tons of other drinks and food though, so if you are on a budget (or not) and you feel like a good cocktail, go check it out.

Rabipelau
Gracia: Carrer del Torrent d’En Vidalet, 22 // Raval: Carrer de la Riera Alta, 50 // Gotico: Carrer de la Mercè, 26
Website

Nightlife/Clubs

Barcelona certainly has a lot to offer in terms of nightlife. Clubs such as Razzmatazz, Apollo and La Fira are local favourites, other than the more mainstream and touristy beachfront clubs such as Shoko, Carpe Diem and Pacha.

For jazz lovers, there are also many bars that offer live jazz or blues music. The most famous one would be the Harlem Jazz Club, which is located in Gotico and which not only features jazz artists but also, reggae, blues and latin artists.
Other bars include JazzSi in Raval, Jamboree in Gotico and Little Italy in Born.

Things to do


Shopping

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For shopaholics Barcelona certainly is heaven, as there is literally everything for anyone. Around every corner you can probably spot a Zara shop, or a local boutique store.

You can always find something in the Spanish department store el Cortes Ingles or you can discover small and hidden boutiques, for example in the neighborhood of Gràcia.

You will find all the mainstream stores around Placa Catalunya and in Avinguda del Portal de l’Angel.

Bear in mind that shops are usually closed on Sunday. If you still feel like shopping on this rest-day in Spain, you can either go the the Outlet Village just outside Barcelona or you can go to the shopping mall near the harbour, called Maremagnum.

The outlet village is called La Roca Village and you can find many Spanish, French and International mid-range to luxury brands (e.g. Sandro, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Adolfo Dominguez to name a few).

Sightseeing (Off the beaten track)

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Rather than naming all the big touristy things to do (like Sagrada Familia, La Rambla etc), we want to give you some tips on things to do and see in Barcelona off the beaten track.

Wander around the neighborhood of Gràcia: You can probably tell that we’re absolutely in love with this neighborhood, and for good reasons! Strolling around in the small streets of Vila de Gràcia is one of the nicest strolls you will ever take in you life. Here you will truly feel the Barcelona spirit, without tourists coming at you from every direction.

Take in the view at the bunkers in Carmel: Take the bus to the neighborhood Carmel and walk up to the bunkers, to enjoy a beautiful view of Barcelona. Take some wine and perhaps some food with you to enjoy the view whilst picknicking!

Take the train and go to either Sitges or Montserrat for a day trip: If you feel like being adventurous in Barcelona, yet you don’t feel like staying in the city, there are multiple things to see and do just past the edge. For example, you can take the train southwards and visit the small coastal town Sitges, which is perfect for a day trip. If you are more of a sporty type, you can hop on the train northwards and go hiking in the mountains of Montserrat, where you will see breathtaking views of the Catalunya landscape.

Visit a winery and attend a wine tasting: Just a short ride outside Barcelona lies Alta Alella, which offers some cool wine tours. Of course, there are many other wine tours available just outside Barcelona, such as the popular Freixenet cava tour. Winery tours are great for a day out in the nature together with some fine wine tasting.

Go to the Palo Alto Market in Poblenou on Sundays: This cute and little hipster market is located in Poblenou and you can stroll through the stalls and food trucks for a couple of hours and enjoy the live music with a drink. The Palo Alto Market is open every first weekend in the month, and an entrance ticket costs 4€.

Avoid the crowded and congested city beaches in the summer: In the summer, the Barceloneta beaches are crowded with tourists, which makes going to the beach a far less pleasant experience. If you hop on the train (either south- or northbound), you will discover much quieter and cleaner beaches as well as much clearer water. Beaches such as Platja Castelldelfels (to the south of Barcelona) or El Masnou (in the north) are a much better choice during the summer.

Some more tips:

Free museum entry on Sunday: On Sunday, many museums offer free entry. As the shops are closed on this day, it might be a fun idea to visit a museum, such as the Picasso museum, MACBA and others. Before you go, be sure to check during what time the museum offers free entry, as this might vary from museum to museum.

Relax in an underground spa: There is a really beautiful arabic spa called Aire de Barcelona and it features some amazing hot baths, along with lovely aromatherapy and relaxing music. For 30€ per person you can relax for 1.5 hours. It’s a bit pricey but totally worth it. If you have nothing to do in the unlikely event of a rainy day, or you during the winter, then Aire de Barcelona is definitely a nice option.

Sports & Activities

sports
With the sea and mountains so close there are many sport activities to do all year round.

In the summer, most water sport activities are available at the beach, such as paddle boarding, sailing, jet ski, wakeboarding and much more.

In the winter, the mountains are close, and in just 2 – 3 hours driving you can reach a ski destination.

Barcelona is a great biking city, so during either spring or autumn, renting a bike and just cycling through the neighborhoods is a very fun way to explore the city while keeping yourself fit (perhaps digesting some of the delicious foods we’ve mentioned above).

There are many gyms in Barcelona, and for every kind of budget. There is the fancy Metropolitan gym equipped with luxury spa or you have more affordable 24 hour gyms.

Events

gracia

Throughout the year there are several big events and festivals taking place in or near Barcelona. One of our personal favorites is the Festa Major de Gràcia, which takes place in the middle of August. During this event, various streets in Gràcia are competing for the best street decoration, and during the week there is lots of music, street food and activities going on. Even though all neighborhoods in Barcelona have such events in the summer, the one in Gràcia is seen as being the biggest and most fun event.

Another big event in Barcelona is La Merce on the 24th of September. On this public holiday, the people of Barcelona celebrate the Roman Catholic Feast Day  with parades, a lot of fireworks and of course wine.

Then there is Sant Joan, which is a midsummer celebration festival on the 23rd of June. Sant Joan is quite a crazy festivity, as there is a parade with people spinning and throwing fireworks in the air, and spectators can even join the crowd. It’s a long night, but as the next day is a public holiday, that is no problem for the locals.

There are also several major music festivals in Barcelona that are worth mentioning:

Sonar is a three-day electronic and progressive music festival, taking place in mid-June. Contrary to the usual festival sites in a big field, Sonar takes place in the city, so accommodation needs to be found within Barcelona.

Primavera Sound is an indie and alternative music festival that takes place at the end of May and beginning of June. People from all over the world come to Barcelona to enjoy this festival.

Cruilla is another music festival in Barcelona that takes place at the beginning of July. It’s a bit smaller than Sonar and Primavera Sound, and features a number of indie and world music artists.

We really hope you will find this guide helpful during your stay in this wonderful city that so much has to offer. Let us know if you will try any of the things mentioned above, we’d love to hear your thoughs.

Ciao&Doei,

Andrea&Nina

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