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Tropical paradise meets urban art nouveau. Barcelona, the Catalan capital, delights beyond expectation with its food, architecture, and culture. There’s more than just sangria and tapas in this nature and art lover’s utopia. If you only have a weekend in Barcelona and you’ve never been, we have you covered.
You’ll be greeted by warm locals who always smile even if you don’t speak Catalan or Spanish (despite your best efforts).
Barcelona offers a variety of lodging. If you’re on a budget, try a hostel like BCN 46 or a great hotel like Olivia Balmes Hotel. If you’re feeling like a splurge, boutique hotels with rooftop views like Almanac and ME Barcelona will indulge you.
Now we’re ready for some sights. West of the city is the avant-garde, unfinished basilica, the Sagrada Família. Having this crossed off early guarantees a better sense of the city’s story and design. Antoní Gaudí, the architect who conceived Barcelona’s best known structures, is synonymous with a Catalan rockstar here. Not far are his other masterpieces, the Casa Batlló and the Casa Milá.
Thirsty? An afternoon drink is never a bad idea. If you’re a cocktail lover, a great terrace to visit is at Bonavida Cocktail Bar. They have all types of innovative drinks, alcoholic or virgin. For beer lovers, an excellent brewery is Moritz — serving beer in Barcelona since 1856! I swear by Moritz’s beer sangria to rejuvenate your spirits (exactly like in the commercials!).
It’s about time to head to the Gothic Quarter. The magnificent Barcelona Cathedral welcomes you. Book your admission ticket in advance to take advantage of its museum, lush garden including 13 white geese, and its rooftop.
Behind the cathedral is a Game of Thrones-esque courtyard called La Casa de l’Ardiaca. This small Renaissance palace houses the city’s historical archives with a charming palm tree in its midst. Right next door are two more plazas — the grander MUHBA/The Barcelona History Museum and the instagrammable Palau de Lloctinent.
Head to the funky Calle Avinyó where the young Pablo Picasso took inspiration for Les Demoiselles d’Avignon. Walk a bit further and you’ll end up in El Call, Barcelona’s old Jewish Quarter with the narrowest streets. You could follow the street signs to discover its dark history or sit in tranquil squares like the Plaça de Sant Felip Neri.
It’s food time! A local’s secret favorite tapas place is Bar del Pla. Its traditional tapas served in a homey setting will have you eating like a true barceloní.na. For the main course, Cañete offers delicious fine cuisine. Or, for more tapas and to sample orange wine, try Espai Puntal.
To cap the night off or to get it going until dawn, it can’t get any better than Plaça Reial. From jazz concerts to Catalan parties, this alluring square bustles with life, day in and out.
Surprisingly, Barcelona has brunch places on almost every corner — some offer brunch all day, everyday, like Zenith. Locals flock here for good comfort food to get the day started. Just a few steps away is We Are Bow with the best flat white. Meanwhile, if you love your frappuccinos, Camelia Art Café awaits.
We’re off to Park Güell for today’s adventure. If there’s a paradise for Gaudí’s fans, this must be it. Here’s where you’ll find the famous mosaic salamander and arcadias of the most colorful structures. It has the best views of Barcelona at the Serpentine Bench.
An experience not to be missed is La Boqueria. It’s an emporium swarming with the best (and some of the cheapest) gastronomy Barcelona has to offer. To pick a favorite here is nearly impossible! However, if you’d like to enjoy a proper meal minus the sensory overload, Kiosko Universal is my go-to. I’m still dreaming of their grilled peppers to this day!
Outside the mercat is La Rambla. It’s the most famous pedestrian street in the city, lined with trees and shops. Stroll down until you reach the sea and enjoy the Mediterranean breeze. At Sant Sebastià Beach or at Playa de la Barceloneta, you can get a tan or play beach volleyball with locals.
To celebrate the past 48 hours, dine at Casa Alfonso — winner of the award for best Iberian ham. Pair your meal with a bottle of Godallo. Estava bonissim!
Sagrada Família – C/ de Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
Casa Batlló – Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Casa Milà – Passeig de Gràcia, 92, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
Bonavida Cocktail Bar – Carrer de Casp, 22, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
Fàbrica Moritz – Ronda de Sant Antoni, 41, 08011 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona Cathedral – Pla de la Seu, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
La Casa de l’Ardiaca – Carrer de Santa Llúcia, 1, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona History Museum/MUHBA – Plaça del Rei, s/n, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Palau de Lloctinent – Palau Reial Major, Carrer dels Comtes, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Bar del Pla – Carrer de Montcada, 2, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Cañete – Carrer de la Unió, 17, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Espai Puntal – Plaça de Sant Cugat, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Zenith – Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 633, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
We Are Bow – C/ de Roger de Llúria, 46, 08009 Barcelona, Spain
Camelia Art Café – C/ de Padilla, 264, 08025 Barcelona, Spain
Park Güell – 08024 Barcelona, Spain
La Boqueria – La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Kiosko Universal – Mercat de la Boqueria, Parada 691, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Casa Alfonso – C/ de Roger de Llúria, 6, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
Calle Avinyó / El Call / Plaça de Sant Felip Neri / Plaça Reial / La Rambla – 08002 Barcelona, Spain
- Ready to go to Barcelona? Book your hotel now! Check out our listings.
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- Here are the 25 Best Things to Do in Barcelona by Condé Nast Traveler
Written by Maikka Piquemal for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Plum Guide and our Marketplace for fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person? Check out our marketplace shop and experiences.