Barcelona is nestled in Spain’s northern Mediterranean coast, around two hours’ drive south of the French Pyrenees.
It serves as Catalunya’s capital, a part of Northern Spain with a distinctive culture, traditions, and personality.
Barcelona has had human habitation since the Neolithic era. At the end of the first century BC, the Romans established a settlement called Barcino, which later became the city. A protective wall that surrounded the colony, which had about a thousand residents, is still visible in the old town.
Barcelona was ruled by the Muslims for more than 200 years before being reclaimed by Christians and became a county of the Carolingian Empire and one of the principal homes of the Crown of Aragon’s court. Barcelona’s status as the political and commercial hub of the Western Mediterranean was established throughout the prosperous medieval era. The city’s Gothic Quarter is evidence of the splendor it has experienced from the 13th to 15th century
Barcelona is well-known for its inhabitants, its customs, and of course, its culture. The numerous festivals held annually for all occasions are one feature of the city that has earned it international fame. This includes local fiestas with parades, contests for building human towers, and music festivals with globally renowned performers!
The city’s passion for food is also evident from the abundance of eateries that are well-known for their superior cuisine. Because so many pubs and clubs around provide live entertainment every night of the week, taking advantage of the nightlife scene doesn’t need leading an extravagant lifestyle either.
What makes this city special?
It is a city brimming with fantastic cuisine and some of the most stunning Gothic architecture. What else is there to say?
Barcelona is a Catalan city with fantastic restaurants, bars, and, of course, amazing architecture, but does it have a name for anything else? Perhaps the best tapas in the world, or something more particular to it?
The fact that Barcelona is home to so many diverse cultures is another intriguing aspect of the city. Due to its diversity, it is not a city governed by a single culture. The architecture is a lovely fusion of Gothic and modern styles. Of course, there are beaches as well. Barcelona features some of the nicest beaches in the world because it is one of Spain’s major ports. There is always space for sun loungers and palm palms on the bright, clear sand.
6 Great Hotels In Barcelona
1. W Barcelona
The “Fabulous” rooms of the W are easily understandable by their name: Some of Barcelona’s best views can be found through the floor-to-ceiling windows, which look out onto the city, the beach, and the Mediterranean beyond. It makes sense that some visitors barely ever leave their rooms when gloomy lighting, plush beds and chaise lounges, and fancy bathrooms are included. (But there’s plenty more in store if you do.)
2. ME Barcelona
The Plaça de Catalunya, the city’s main plaza, is only a short stroll from this newcomer from the upscale Spanish brand ME by Meliá, and all the upscale shopping on Passeig de Gràcia is just around the corner. From the sinuous metal sculpture in the foyer to the book-lined lobby bar and up to the trendy, modern suites with large, striking photos of models on the walls and tables loaded with design tomes, there is an artsy, cosmopolitan vibe everywhere.
The suites at this hotel are worth the extra money because many of them include large terraces with Jacuzzis where you can relax while admiring the vast city views. The entire second floor of the hotel is dedicated to dining and drinking, with two restaurants with a Mediterranean theme and the posh Luma for fantastically inventive cocktails. The largest courtyard terrace in Barcelona, which is 1,000 square meters in size and dotted with flowers, orange trees, and planters of fragrant herbs, flanks them. It is a delightful haven away from the busy city streets. The exclusive guest-only rooftop pool and sundeck, as well as the small, two-cabin Égoste Spa, which offers opulent treatments, are also available.
3. Sir Victor Barcelona
The Hotel Omm, which opened in 2003 and was Barcelona’s first design hotel, has been updated as Sir Victor Barcelona. The rooftop bar, with its bright blue pool and views of the heads bobbing among the bizarre constructions of Gaud’s Casa Mila, is the nicest part of this spot since everything is clean, fresh, and patchouli-scented. Adding a saffron-colored pool table, a women-only library, and an outpost of Mr. Porter, the Amsterdam steakhouse, as well as slick branding and events and tours targeted directly at the new traveler, the hip Amsterdam hotel group Sir Hotels, wisely reopened the 91-room hotel in the summer of 2019.
Sir Victor lies on the softly civilized northern edge of Eixample, surrounded by peaceful strollable streets, and satisfyingly far from the closest Irish bar, whereas many of Barcelona’s upscale hotels are down in the hustle and bustle near the sea. Even after all these years, it still feels like an escape and is cool.
4. Hotel Arts Barcelona
Listing Barcelona’s top hotels would be incomplete without mentioning the historic Hotel Arts. It is renowned as one of the most upscale hotels in Spain and takes up all 43 floors of Barcelona’s second-tallest structure, a high-tech byproduct of the city’s Olympic building boom in the 1990s. Though famous people and business leaders might choose to stay in one of the duplex penthouse suites for the breathtaking views (Ariana Grande rented out the entire 36th floor during her visit in 2017), it is definitely possible to book a room here for less than £200 per night and still have a very comfortable stay.
Big beds and marble baths are standard, but a room with a view of the ocean is worth the extra money. The spa, which has two outdoor terraces and Barcelona’s tallest sauna, is located on the top two levels of the hotel. The Arts are wonderfully situated for the beach’s sand and water activities, but its location is somewhat cut off from the ebb and flow of the city. If you don’t have a reservation at the magnificent Enoteca Paco Pérez, the hotel’s two Michelin-starred restaurants, use the taxi stand outside to head to one of the area’s livelier neighborhoods for dinner or drinks, including El Born, Barceloneta, or Poblenou.
5. Casa Bonay
The contemporary Casa Bonay, which converted a 19th-century apartment building, is all about elegant exuberance: original city pavement tiles flank its enormous Libertine bar; pendant lights hang down in bedrooms; marble bathtubs that have been turned into planters mark the entrance. This spirit of fun extends to the entertainment options, including movie screenings on the orchard-scented roof terrace and a Catalan-Asian fusion restaurant and café from neighborhood favorite Satan’s Coffee Corner. Better yet, bikes are provided for free, making the Gothic Quarter accessible in only five minutes for breakfasts starting at €7.
6. Margot House
Since Margot House was named after a character from The Royal Tenenbaums, it makes obvious that it attracts hipster and Wes Anderson types. The coolness quotient is increased with designer furnishings, seductive bathrooms, and the impression that you are staying in a decked-out private apartment rather than a hotel. Additionally, this is among the greatest offers available for those who want to stay on the famous Passeig de Gràcia.
8 Great Restaurants and Cafés in Barcelona
1. Orval Barcelona
The newest addition to Barcelona’s hippest coffee houses debuted in 2019 – Its founder and creative directress is Lucía López. She has managed to maintain the “coffee and plant” theme with this second establishment staying true to her branding. An array of magazines and book guides are also on sale and it makes perfect sense to sip coffee, unwind and read.
It is well known as none other than Espai Joliu’s younger sister, a notable beat café with a modern touch.
The people are amazing, the food is great, and the coffee is a must-try. Additionally, Orval Barcelona has two floors and large windows which allow for plenty of natural light to flow through.
The Orval Barcelona is a 10-minute walk from the top portion of El Born and is situated close to the Arc de Triumf and Park de la Ciutadella.
2. Animal Coffee Bar
Since 2016, the original team that opened the charming neighborhood cafe in Sarria-St. Garvasi has also been roasting their own coffee. In a cortado, we sampled their organically processed Ethiopian. One of the most popular orders in Spain is cortado, yet there is no set formula for it. The many regions of Spain have quite different cuisines, and Barcelona itself has more recipes than we could have possibly tried.
In the Gracia neighborhood of the city, there is a cafe and roastery concept business called SlowMov that emphasizes giving its clients access to regional goods. Their roasting has a close relationship with the Paris Couture Cafe.
The branding, roast characteristics, and green beans are all the same at SlowMov, but Francois in Barcelona roasts the food. Although it is only in Spanish, SlowMov’s blog has more information about its past and present missions.
4. Skye Coffee Co.
Speaking with Skye Maunsell, the proprietor of Barcelona’s hippest coffee truck, which is housed in a former warehouse that has been converted into an office, we realized that Skye is a little out of the ordinary.
Many employees from the nearby offices in Sant Marti, a neighborhood within an industrial area of Barcelona, frequent this alternative and creative venue. Visit their silver CitröenHY van and enjoy the lovely, sunny area for a short while. Although you can also have a V60, the La Marzocco Linea machine is the car’s primary engine.
5. Bar Ramón
Bar Ramón, a popular local hangout with a kitsch 1950s rock and roll theme, has been a staple since 1939. Bar Ramón is a location where you can eat very well on a budget and is renowned for its signature dishes like seared foie gras with beef filet on toast and traditional tapas like croquettes and gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp). Reservations are advised but must be made over the phone or in person.
The fine dining pyramid in Barcelona has been continually topped by this establishment. Disfrutar has acquired and kept two Michelin stars since its 2014 opening in Barcelona by the chef-owners, who were former employees of the El Bulli restaurant. A must-have experience is the contemporary Mediterranean cuisine and the refined service.
The seasonally changing menu at Artur Martnez’s tasting-only restaurant Aurt in the Hilton Diagonal Mar lobby is picture-perfect, with each course vying for your affection. It takes a while to finish 15 dishes, so this place is for laid-back foodies with laid-back afternoon schedules. The cuttlefish tartar(a) was outstanding during a recent visit; it was delicate and nicely balanced. In addition to a large, sophisticated, and approachable wine list provided by sommelier Mara Fanni, who is happy to help you make your selection, the onion royale is good enough to alter your opinion of onions for good.
8. Mr. Porter Barcelona
Mr. Porter, which is housed inside the Sir Victor Hotel, is exactly what you’d anticipate from its chic address and has grown popular among the It crowd. Although it is advertised as a steakhouse, its wood-fired oven also produces some excellent vegetable and seafood dishes. The succulent Japanese Wagyu steak, smooth-as-sin beef carpaccio, and roasted whole leek are all highlights of the menu, but the sweet-spicy jumbo shrimp salad with corn and avocado will have you fighting over the last taste.
The cocktail game is also excellent. A well-known drink is It’s About Thyme, which combines thyme-infused Casamigos Reposado tequila, orgeat syrup, citric mix, and Ribera del Duero red wine. Serious carnivores should try The Rib Rye, a Bulleit Rye that has been infused with rib eye and served with Ruby Port, Campari, and olive bitters.
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Things to do in Barcelona
1. Casa Batlló
It is understandable why Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and Casa Batlló have been compared: It can occasionally appear blue, then turn green, then shimmer like the glassy layer of a lake while being covered in stained glass fragments. Josep Batlló, a textile businessman, hired Gaud to create this house after seeing what he had done with Park Güell. Because it was inspired by nature, Casa Batlló lacks straight lines (because, according to Gaud, they don’t occur in nature), has stone pillars that sway like animal bones, and has a long, ocean-blue stairwell that is reminiscent of Jules Verne.
Although it’s not the easiest sight to reach, it’s definitely worth seeing. One of the nearby natural landmarks that should be included on every traveler’s Barcelona tour agenda is Montserrat.
There is a ton to see and do there, and you can reserve this amazing Monsterrat tour and lunch to make your vacation simple. In addition, you’ll get to ride a vintage train and go to a vintage monastery to see the famous Montserrat mountains. It’s incredible.
3. Montjuïc Magic Fountain
The majority of residents will only witness this light, music, and water spectacle when they are young children or when they are required to serve as tour guides for tourists. But whether or whether you have children of your own, the show makes us all feel like children again. It’s magic after all. It is one of the final attractions of the 1929 International Exposition that was created by Carles Bugas. After being restored, it now puts on a show every half-hour. As a result, you can catch it whenever you’re close by. It is located at Avinguda Maria Cristina, which is in the Montjuic district.
4. Palau Güell
Although this mansion is not immediately recognizable as a creation by Gaudi, its intricate details and interesting history make it a must-see. It was constructed by the Spanish architect for wealthy businessman Eusebi Güell.
Now, simply be careful to space out your Gaudi structures across your days. You don’t want to become bored and believe that’s everything there is to do in Barcelona. So much is available to view!
Another building that has been expertly renovated is CaixaForum. This old textile factory was constructed by Puig I Cadafalch for the businessman Casimir Casaramona. The Fundació La Caixa purchased the industrial modernist structure that had been long-abandoned and gave it a new life as a center for culture, society, and education. Following repair work by Arata Isozaki, Francisco Javier Asarta, Roberto Luna, and Robert Brufau, it was inaugurated in 2002.
There are three rooms for temporary exhibitions in addition to the permanent collections of modern art, and the schedule includes concerts, lectures, movies, guided tours, and kid-friendly activities. So while it may sound like a pharmaceutical company, it’s actually a beautiful location with unique surroundings.
Places to Visit in Barcelona
1. Sagrada Família
The Sagrada Familia, when finished, will soar above Barcelona’s urban landscape as the world’s highest church (estimated for 2026). One of the most divisive and often visited basilicas in the world is this 130-year labor of love that Antoni Gaud created. The architectural marvel that combines nature, light, and religion into one breathtaking ensemble draws three million visitors each year. Each subsequent architect’s style blends into the remainder of Gaud’s avant-garde design, creating an interior that resembles a massive jigsaw puzzle. For something that isn’t yet finished, three million visits each year isn’t at all awful.
Barcelona People immediately think of the Sagrada Familia whenever the more general name Barcelona Cathedral is used, right? It’s true that it’s not a cathedral in and of itself,
This cathedral has all of its titles. Actually much older and more reputable than Sagrada Familia, the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is well worth seeing in Barcelona.
This Cathedral, which dates all the way back to the 13th century, is one of Barcelona’s most spectacular tourist attractions.
2. Bogatell Beach
Within the boundaries of Barcelona’s city limits is one of Spain’s top beaches. Bogatell Beach is a popular destination for locals to socialize, relax, play volleyball, windsurfing, Kayaking, and kitesurfing activities.
The sandy shoreline of the 600-meter-long beach is complemented by first-rate facilities like restrooms, showers, parking, a beachside promenade, snack cafes, and ice cream stores. To maintain the safety of the beach, there are numerous lifeguard towers.
3. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Watching the Magic Fountain of Montjuic, located close to the Plaça d’Espanya in the Montjuic area, is at the top of the list of things to do in Barcelona at night. Carles Buigas created the substantial Art Deco fountain for the 1929 International Exhibition in Montjuic.
All ages enjoy the musically coordinated light and fountain presentations at the Magic Fountain of Montjuic. In the summer, the shows run from Thursday through Sunday, and from Friday to Saturday in the off-season. With music sessions every half-hour, the nighttime performances last for a few hours.
4. Park Güell
This complex of walls and walkways, which is located high above Barcelona’s Horta-Guinardó neighborhood and includes a number of gardens, miniature architectural exhibits, and other features, offers stunning hillside views of the entire city. The Hall of One Hundred Columns, which only has 86 genuine columns, the mosaic snake bench, and the salamander on the main steps are all noteworthy attractions.
The park is free to enter, but if you want to see the famous mosaic bench and dragon, you’ll have to pay a few euros to enter the “Monumental zone” (and more). Just two kilometers away, at Parc Natural de la Serra de Collserola, you can have a stroll in a larger park.
1. Do a park crawl
The abundance of playgrounds in Barcelona is one of its best features for families traveling with children. The majority of people reside in apartment buildings, therefore neighborhood play parks are prevalent on almost every street. You can thus frequently stop at parks as you explore the city. It’s one of the things that appeals to kids about Barcelona.
It’s ideal for adults because they can stroll around the city and the numerous parks will keep kids happy.
2. Barcelona Zoo
While visiting Barcelona, how about a little animal adventure? On the outskirts of the ancient quarter, right in the middle, is where our zoo is situated.
After a morning of historical sightseeing, the youngsters can be easily bought off with it because of its convenient location.
A pleasant stroll around the enclosures is made possible by the zoo’s simple layout. Each animal’s explanations are skillfully written for children and center on topics like extinction and conservation. Children adore the more participatory areas, such as the farm, pony rides, elephant training area, and expansive playgrounds, in addition to the enclosures.
Additionally, you might be fortunate enough to schedule a feeding session with the adorable penguins.
You may travel through most of the grounds on an electric train for a few more euros.
3. Hill of Montjuïc & Castle
Barcelona’s Montjuic mountain towers over the city, offering a pleasant respite from the bustle of daily life.
The 1992 Olympic Stadium, numerous parks, botanical gardens, art galleries, and a fortified castle are all located there.
What a wonderful approach to spark any child’s creativity.
Its origins are a fort from the 17th century, but it has since been extended, so there are many nooks and crannies for the kids to discover.
Kids can’t get enough of looking down from the protective walls since it offers fantastic panoramic views of the city.
Temporary exhibitions rotate in and out of the visitors center, which provides excellent historical context for the fascinating castle.
4. Go to Tibidabo Amusement Park
Tibidabo Amusement Park includes rides for all ages, including a carousel, roller coasters, and a Ferris wheel, making it a popular destination for families with young children. It has a pleasantly retro vibe, which heightens the appeal (even the new rides have been built with a vintage style). Additionally, there is a cathedral to visit (the one that sits atop the hill and you can see from all over Barcelona). It’s among the best family activities in Barcelona.
5. Visit a display at Caixa Forum.
Amazing exhibitions are regularly held at Caixa Forum, and many of them are family-friendly. For instance, TeamLab, an amazing interactive installation about nature and technology, was open when we visited, and it let visitors interact with the projected lights to produce unique effects. Additionally, they provide a full calendar of family events.
Best Hikes In Barcelona
For anyone searching for a breathtaking hike close to Barcelona, Montserrat ought to be their first choice. This is the spot for you if you wish to take a strenuous hike from Sant Jeroni to the top of Montserrat or just desire a stroll among the mountains. The scenery is breathtaking. You genuinely have a sense of being on top of the world. The degree of difficulty varies significantly depending on the hiking trails you selected. Overall, it’s a great location for a weekend hiking day trip with family and friends or by yourself.
2. Tibidabo is undoubtedly the most well-known hill surrounding Barcelona. It is a very lovely mountain that overlooks the entire city. On top of the mountain, there is a sizable amusement park, but you can also find some fantastic hiking paths nearby.
With a height of more than 510 meters, it is the Serra de Collserola mountain range’s tallest peak. You can ascend the hill using any of a number of routes. A trip to Parc del Tibidabo, one of the first amusement parks in Europe to open its doors in 1905, is a wonderful addition to your hike.
3. A fantastic and very simple circular climb is available in Siurana, providing access to the picturesque settlement of Siurana at the summit of the mountains. The best location to unwind is in Siurana. It’s been a while since I’ve seen something as adorable as the village. It resembles a setting from Harry Potter with its cobblestone streets, stone houses, and population of just 21 people.
You can enjoy lunch while looking out over the clouds from there. Bring your swimming suit because the trail will only take you a maximum of three hours to complete. If you go there on a sunny day, you can even go for a swim in the lake. Rock climbing is also very popular in Siurana.
4. The ideal place to go for a hike in a stunning, green valley is Vall de Nuria. Your hiking boots, some cozy mountain clothing, a bottle of water, and this day trip are all you need. If you’d like, you can sign up for one of the “expeditions” that range in difficulty from those for novices to more experienced daredevils.
Snowsports are highly well-liked in the area in the winter. The Vall de Nuria is a historical valley that can be explored on a leisurely day trip or as part of a long journey through Catalan nature and culture. If the weather permits, it’s even a terrific area to camp.
5. The Girona Pyrenees may be seen well from the Costa Brava’s stunning coastline. The craggy shore connotation of Costa Brava is undoubtedly extremely realistic. There are numerous cliffs and coves that provide views of both the French border and the Mediterranean.
The Cami de Ronda, which passes past fishing towns, white sand beaches, and remote caverns, is the most popular coastal footpath. North of Barcelona is where you’ll find the Costa Brava, which is definitely worth a trip, especially in the summer.
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