Barcelona Recommendations

Fabian and I will be heading to Barcelona next Wednesday to celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. We are both super excited and I can’t wait to share Spain with my husband since he has never been. I have been doing a lot of research and think we have most of the big sights covered.  I know that we’ll visit Gaudí’s masterpieces, Sagrada Familia, Guell Park, and La Pedrera or Casa Batlló followed by shopping on the Passeig de Gracia. We’ll spend some time wandering the Gothic Quarter and visit the Picasso Museum. We’ll of course, visit La Boquería Market and ramble on Las Ramblas. Then, we’ll head up to Montjuic to check out the wonderful views and the fountains that everyone is crazy about.

We have selected a Lázaro Rosa Violán-designed hotel, naturally, but I would love any suggestions you might have regarding restaurants, shops, sightseeing, as well as any tips you might have on day trips. When we were in London last September, I had a couple of day trip options planned, but we loved the city so much that we didn’t want to leave. I have a feeling that this might happen to us in Barcelona as well, but I would like to have some options in case we decide to explore another town for the day. Has anyone been to Montserrat, Sitges, Figueres, or Zaragoza? Which would you most recommend for a day trip? Thank you!!

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  1. have so much fun in Barcelona and happy 5th anniversary! i have such fond memories of that city from a trip i took when i was 18 🙂 to this day, the sagrada familia is still one of the most amazing buildings i’ve ever seen (rome’s colloseum and florence’s duomo are close seconds). standing in front of it took my breath away. can’t wait to hear about the trip when you get back and to hopefully see some pictures!

  2. Congratulations and have a wonderful trip. For a casual yet DELICIOUS meal, go to Bar Pinotxo in the Marcat de la Boqueria. And order a glass of cava to go with your meal. The owner Juan is quite an endearing character. A great home store (furniture, accessories, tableware, etc.) is Vincon on the Paseo de Gracia. It is more on the modern side, but great to see what the European aesthetic is like.

  3. I am a longtime reader, first-time commenter! Love your blog. We went to Barcelona on our honeymoon 3 years ago, and went to some of the BEST restaurants. I highly recommend the iberico ham sandwich at Cafe Viena on Las Ramblas (Mark Bittman of the NY Times wrote an article about it), the tasting menu at Cinq Sentits (they book up fast so call early), the tapas at Tapac 24, and dinner at Quatre Gats. Enjoy!

  4. MONTSERRAT is awe inspiring and unlike anything I have ever seen before…I HIGHLY recommend it. But I will warn you, if you are afraid of heights the ride up can be a little rough, but SO worth it.

  5. We were in Italy last year and someone thought my name was Marta – they said their absolute favorite place was a beach bar in Barcelona called Santa Marta. I can’t vouch for it but I can say that this woman was totally hip. And a beach bar in Barcelona complete with DJs works for me! Have an amazing trip! Hope you’ll periodically report back (as much as I know you would rather be relaxing!).

  6. Have a great trip! I see you went to London last September. I am heading to Germany THIS September and was wondering if you could recommend cute comfortable shoes (ballet flats? boots? other?) and perhaps a bag big enough to fit my SLR camera? Fashion is not my forte and I’m always looking for recommendations! Thanks so much!

  7. I’ve never been, but watched the entire series- “Spain…on the Road Again” with my husband and I’d definitely recommend checking out the book (same title as the show), since they list some fantastic spots to see & eat. Also, I’m sure you’ve seen, but there was a GOOP article listing places to see/eat in Spain. Have a wooooooooooooonderful time!!

  8. Thanks, everyone!

    Marija, I will definitely look into Santa Marta. It sounds fun!

    Mandy, if I know that I’ll be doing a lot of walking on uneven surfaces, then I’ll wear my Converse, Pumas, or a comfortable pair of cute sandals. I usually wear heels and wedges all the time at home, but as much as I’d like to wear cuter shoes, you have to go with something comfortable in Europe. The cobblestone streets will do a number on your legs and back! Just no running shoes, please! That just screams tourist. 🙂 I remember Paige at the blog I heart You posted a really cool SLR camera case recently. Ours is a little bulkier than I’d like, but my hubby liked that he could fit extra accessories and stuff in there and he is in charge of the camera bag, so it all works out. Good luck!

    Torrie, I have both the “Spain…On the Road Again” books and DVDs. I will have to watch the Barcelona episodes and go through the book again this weekend. Thanks for the reminder! 🙂

  9. Hola Paloma!
    I have thousends of suggestions!!

    Get lost in “El Borne” but real lost, it’s my favorite place in Barna, full of little indi shops, clothes, vintage, bars, etc, etc.

    Sitges it’s really cute, all white and full of design and glamour.

    Parque de la Citadella it’s very nice park to walk around and also safe in evening, on summer they always have stuff going on.

    Ok, I think I better write you an e-mail with more things.

    HAVE FUN!!!

  10. I thought Montserrat was totally worth the trip. It’s so calm and inspiring. I would recommend it.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip and enjoy Barcelona as much as I did!

  11. Inopia is another great place to eat – don’t miss the pineapple with molasses – as is Commerca 24. I also like Taller de Tapas. The Santa Margarita market is also very cool and has a nice restaurant.

    The Museum of Art of Catalonia is a must see with works from the middle ages through the modern era. Its restaurant is very good with a spectacular view of the city.

    As for a day trip – try Girona. Beautiful medieval architecture.

  12. hi paloma,
    i’m actually visiting barcelona right now, and have already seen a lot of the things you listed. it’s absolutely worth it! especially the gaudi buildings in eixample and the barri gothic area (besides ramblas)are very nice to visit.
    the beach area is good for a walk under palm trees. from montjuic there are little cabins to the barceloneta area, which seem to offer also a great view.
    have fun and enjoy the warm weather!

  13. Such a wonderful anniversary! I love Spain too. Have a really beautiful and fun time, you’ll find tons of places all on your own just from walking around. Got a giveaway at my place, come on over. xx’s

  14. Too funny ~ I am headed their Thursday for our 5th anniversary as well {staying at Hotel Pulitzer based upon some of your prior posts on the hotel}. It was great to read all of the recommendations people had to offer. It gives me plenty of tips for the few days we will be there. Have a wonderful trip!

  15. I love your blog and I am also a first time commenter…..A great day trip from Barcelona is Girona…..It is about a 45 train ride and is definitely worth it…..Have a great trip…..

  16. Ok, I’ll try to be short because I’m from Barcelona and could probably talk for hours:
    – for Tapas: Inopia (the greatest in years in Barcelona, they have brought back the traditional flavour of tapas) it’s always very full so I would recommend going early 20:30 or 21:00 because after that you will have to wait a bit. Tapaç 24 that has also been recommended is very good. The best bravas in Barcelona is Bar Tomás, although there’s nothing touristy near it so I don’t know if it will be worth the trip considering the days you have (ferrocaril station of Bonanova is very near). Cervececeria catalana is also very good and very centric and Pinocho in La Boqueria (it’s more traditional style food than tapas) is also worth a visit. You can find all of them here: . If you go to Montjuic you could also try the bar Quimet & Quimet that has great tapas and it’s in el Paralelo (very near)
    – Best restaurant (IMO): Hoffmann has a star Michelin but it should have 3. Great service, magnificent food and good prices (considering the quality and place). You should phone to book before going. I always go there on my birthday!
    – Hotels: you should take a look at Hotel Murmuri (by designer Kelly Hoppen).
    – Shops: take a stroll in El Borne it has fantastic shops including Vitra, Munich (trendy sneakers with great fabrics and colours), Ici et La…. you should also visit Vinçon in Paseo de Gracia (a design classic). La Manual Alpargatera or Castañer for typical spanish espadrilles (Castañer also makes the espadrilles of haute couture brands such as Hermes and YSL but it’s much pricier than La Manual). Spanish Designers shops: Josep Font and Lydia Delgado.
    – One day trip: Montserrat is very nice (I should know this as my name is Montse) but I would prefer Cadaqués or Calella de Palafrugell or Pals or Llafranc. You could rent a car and visit this typical fisherman’s villages in the Ampurdan (although I think it’s at least a 2 hour drive). A stroll in “el camí de Ronda” between Calella and Llafranc is also very nice. More info:–cami-de-ronda-.html . Sitges ans Figueres is also a very good option. Sitges is great because you can go by train in less than an hour.
    – Visits in Barcelona: Sagrada familia (it’s a shame, I’m from Barcelona, I live next to it since 2 years ago and have never been there), Parque Guell, Las Ramblas, stroll in Rambla Catalunya/Paseo de Gracia, Picasso Museum, MNAC Museum (in Montjuic and great views)
    Sorry for such a long reply my english and thanks for the tip of Lázaro Rosa Violán, he is the designer of some places I love.
    Have fun, enjoy the city and be careful of pickpockets (there has been an increase lately most probably due to the terrible economy).

  17. We just got back from Spain where we celebrated our 5th anniversary (spent most of our time in Granada and Barcelona)! I really loved just exploring the city on our own, and visiting Sagrada Familia and the other architecture by Gaudi. Although my favorite part of the trip was going to the Primavera Sound festival, which is the whole reason we went in the first place! Have fun!

  18. You’re going to have so much fun! I had 4 days in Barcelona, and a friend recommended that I spend one of them in Sitges. I was very hesitant about going – but so glad that I did! It was my favorite day of the whole trip. We visited shops and had a fabulous lunch along the water, and spent our afternoon lounging on the beach. We took the train back in the late afternoon (5ish?), which left us time for a nap before changing and going out for dinner.

  19. Okay my suggestion is slightly cheeky, but go to Hotel Barcelona Catedral on Wednesday night and take their free (for hotel guests) tour. It has more of a “spooky” theme since it’s at night and you get to learn some hidden facts on the surrounding area. They have signs in the hotel with the meeting time and they meet out front on the street.

  20. Enjoy Barca, such a great city. Please go to the restaurant El Rovel in Borne. Lovely tapas and if you want to dance the night away head for the waterfront at CDLC Beach Club.


    Lise M.