Having recently taken the difficult decision to not return to Barcelona for the rest of my Year Abroad, I have decided to write this post as a somewhat ode to this magnificent city. Sandwiched between the towering mountains and sparkling sea, Barcelona is one of those places that just has it all. Effortlessly combining seaside chic with the historic Old Town and a vibrant street life, there is something for every traveller to enjoy.
Although my time in Barcelona was short-lived to say the least, I did get the chance to find some hidden gems around the city that just can’t go unmissed on your next trip!
Bars & Restaurants:
If you’re fan of Japanese cuisine, make Robata the first stop on your list. Named after one of the most popular traditions in Japanese cooking, this sushi and grill restaurant offers a gastronomic experience that incorporates the soul and perfectionism of Japanese dishes with a subtle western touch. Enjoy ‘SexyTuna’ rolls, salmon sashimi and robata chicken skewers in a dark, intimate, and cosy atmosphere.
Booking is highly recommended.
2. Dow Jones Bar
Branded as The Barcelona Drink Exchange, this quirky bar is a real unique find! Every drink is priced on a digital stock-market type menu, with a catch. Every time someone orders that specific drink, the price goes up, and so the least popular drinks are the cheapest. A somewhat genius idea, this trick is sure to make you try a variety of beers, cocktails and shots throughout the night.
Weekend brunch is very real trend in Barcelona at the moment, and there’s a plethora of places to choose from. Some are extremely busy and definitely require booking, whereas others run on a first-come, first-served basis. I found a happy medium at Ophelia. Offering a range of dishes from around the world, this stylish restaurant ensure a taste sensation paired with excellent service.
4. Espit Chupitos
If the vibrant nightlife is what attracted you to Barcelona, this chain of bars is the perfect start to your perfect night out. Almost exclusively serving shots and cocktail pitchers, this buzzing bar is a great place for those looking for a lively evening. There are several bars all over the city, so you can choose the one closest to you!
Museums & Sights to See:
1. Labyrinth Park of Horta
This storybook hedge maze is the oldest garden in the city and is one of the best kept secrets in Barcelona. Get an impressive glimpse at the Desvalls family mansion, that dates back to the 14th century and wander to the center of the towering green labyrinth, filled with silver cypress trees and plenty of dead ends. Will you find your way out?
2. The Carmel Bunkers
If you want a view of the city, there is no other option that to visit The Carmel Bunkers. Located at the top of the Turó de la Rovira hill, the ‘bunkers’ are actually an antiaircraft warfare facility from the Spanish Civil War. With a 360-degree panoramic view, the bunkers are a great place to watch the sunset (or rise, if you’re an early bird). Take a picnic or a bottle of wine with you an enjoy the fantastic views of Barcelona!
4. MNAC Museum
Although this museum might be relatively well-known, I had to include it due to its range of art and its incredible views! Located on Montjuic hill, the building itself is a sight for sore eyes. Steps (and outdoor escalators!) lead up to the impressive front doors, where you can take a moment to marvel at the exquisite architecture, crowned by a large ornate dome that makes the building instantly recognisable. Inside, you’ll find possibly the most comprehensive collection of Catalan art in the world, ranging from classical portraiture to marble sculptures and modern art.
Unusual Things to do:
1. Take a Boat Trip
With the glistening Mediterranean on your doorstep, it would be rude not to take a trip out on the water. Live the VIP lifestyle with a champagne sunset cruise along the beautiful Barcelona coastline, and look back on the city as the sun dips behind the horizon. Sample the finest wines, bubbles and beers during your tour as well as traditional Spanish paella!
Barcelona Boat Party:
2. Visit Camp Nou
For the football fans amongst you, a trip to Barcelona is not complete without a visit to the home stadium of FC Barcelona. Take a tour of the 99,000-capacity stadium and find out all the behind-the-scenes secrets of the team!
3. Born to Cook
Having walked past this building a few times, I was intrigued as to what was happening and to why it was always so busy. After some research, I realised it was a business offering unique cooking experiences for groups and private events. Learn to make creative tapas, Mediterranean rice and even Peruvian ceviches, all in the heart of the stylish Borne district.