So you’ve climbed the hill to jostle with the crowds at Park Güell and graced the sand on all the city’s beaches and now Las Ramblas is beginning to grate. To get a real feel of Spain’s coolest city, here’s our travel snobs guide to Barcelona…
Zip around town retro style
Join the achingly hip locals and taken a tour around the city on a stylish Vespa. For a quick way to see all the city’s main sites try Vesping who hire out the iconic vehicles as well as a GPS tour to ensure you don’t miss anything – just make sure you stay safe and wear a helmet!
Head for Gràcia
Head for one of the coolest areas in the city for a seemingly endless collection of quirky cafes and eateries, curiosity shops, ethereal parks and colourful squares surrounded by hip bars. Hunt for vintage clothing, try out the latest herb cocktail, soak up the lively, arty atmosphere or just take advantage of hillside location and take in the fabulous views.
Immerse yourself in foodie heaven at Santa Caterina market
With a Gaudí-esque roof and a relaxed atmosphere perfect for a mornings perusing, the newly re-opened market is the place to head for to purchase your food in the traditional way. Forget boring supermarkets, here each isle glistens with fresh fruit and vegetables, dried fruits, spices and all your other foodie needs.
Fill up on Pintxos and vermouth
You can’t leave Bareclona without indulge in the most Spanish of pastimes – eating tapas. For a slight alternative try Pintxos a traditional Basque tapas which consist of small tasty snacks typically eaten in bars. One of the best places to give them a try is Euskal Etxea, here you can pick at the food with toothpicks and at the end of the night they count them up and charge you accordingly.
Take in the city’s underrated art spots
Barcelona is a place where art permeates the whole city and you cannot leave without making the most of it. For a good mix of art and a bit of added relaxation try the lush gardens of the Teatre Grec and then head over to the Fundació Joan Miró – home to a vast collection of paintings and sculptures by the Spanish surrealist painter.
Go to an al fresco cultural event
Make the most of the balmy climate and head out to an open air cultural event. Film festivals are becoming increasing more popular with Cinema Lliure (which shows independent films on Sant Sebastià beach on Thursday and Sunday evenings) being one of the best. In the summer also check out the gardens University of Barcelona which offers a free – and open-air – taste of local music.
Participate in the clandestine restaurant movement
Clandestine restaurants (pop up eateries run out of people’s homes) are definitely having a moment in the Catalonian capital. The exciting concept, which offers a more personal, intimate dining experience, is being lead by a growing band of chefs and entrepreneurs who bring their passion and knowledge to the movement.
Where to Stay
Barcelona is a small, fairly compact city so where ever you base yourself you’ll still be within around 20 minutes walking distance of the city centre. A good area to find accommodation is downtown Barcelona, in and around Plaza Catalunya. If you want something very close to the action then near or in La Rambla or the Gothic Quarter would be a good choice. It’s a city well geared up for tourism so offers a range of accommodation from hostels and B&B’s to hotels to suit any budget. If you want to stay more like a local then try Apartment Barcelona who offer holiday apartments all over the city. Apartments often offer more space, privacy and comfort and are a great choice for families or larger groups.