Barcelona in 5
Barcelona is always a good idea. Especially if it's a surprise city trip! My sisters-in-law kidnapped me to Barcelona as pre-bachelorette without me knowing where I was going. It was my fourth time in the city of Messi and pintxos, so the perfect moment to give you my Barcelona top 5!
Favorite thing to DO
I'm always a bit skeptical when I see groups of tourists taking guided tours accompanied by a flashy colored umbrella to lead the way. Maybe I just don't like umbrellas or maybe I prefer exploring things on my own but when my sisters-in-law kidnapped me to Barcelona and registered us for a guided Gaudi city tour walk with Runner Bean Tours I was quite intrigued. The free walk (you can donate at the end of the walk if you want) takes up about 2 1/2 hours and shows you four of Gaudi's masterpieces: Casa Battlo, Palau Guell, La Pedrera and the Sagrada Familia.
You don't actually go inside these buildings but you learn a lot about the artist and the masterpieces so you can easily decide for yourself afterwards what you want to visit. Miguel, our guide, told us about Gaudi's life and shared interesting facts that were surprising and mind-blowing at the same time. Like, did you know that Gaudi plaster casted dead babies for the Sagrada Familia? Or that a Chupachup lollipop is actually a Spanish invention? :)
Favorite thing to EAT
Traditional: if you are looking for a true Barcelona infused culinary experience, Carrer de Blai is the place to be. Only a few steps away from the Parellel metro-station, this street offers a large choice of pintxos bars where you can enjoy snacks served on a small piece of bread and wine, cava or beer at a very cheap price. The name pintxos comes from the Spanish verb “pinchar” meaning to stab. Your grilled gamba or omelet will have a toothpick piercing them through the middle...
Non-traditional: If you have eaten enough pintxos and looking for something a bit different, then Zed is my favorite place for a healthy meal. They serve Mediterannean inspired, seasonal, fresh food which is made with local produce. A perfect match with the natural and organic wines and the cold pressed juices they serve here as well. There is a small handcraft and decorations area in the back for a little shopping spree in between mains and dessert!
My second favorite non-traditional restaurant has to be Akashi Gallery. It's not only about food here. It's the perfect place to enjoy modern Japanese dishes and photography at the same time. All photos, posters, and photo products exhibited at Akashi Gallery are for sale.
My favorite dishes included a tofu and seaweed salad and the spicy tuna uramaki roll filled with cucumber and avocado with spicy tuna tartare on top.
Favorite thing to SEE
I have a softspot for cities that are close to the ocean. Just feeling the soft sea-breeze on your face after visiting all the city highlights or an elaborate shopping spree, is magical. You can easily walk to Barcelona's harbor area or take the metro (Barceloneta). Enjoy the view of the smaller and bigger boats at the harbor or hit the beach :) There are some pretty amazing ice cream shops in this area as well like the popular eye scream & friends or Vioko. Seeing the ocean is always a highlight!
Chocolate and mint, a perfect combo!
Favorite thing to BUY
If you are looking for something a bit more special than a Sagrada Familia magnet, Claudine - a little jewelry and clothing store in the center of Barcelona - is the place to be! Beautiful, delicate, Spanish and French creations, from modern necklaces to bohemian inspired bracelets and rings.
Favorite thing to PHOTOGRAPH
Anything by Gaudi of course :) Not always the easiest subjects to shoot, but the genius concepts behind his works of art, like the Sagrada Familia or Parc Güell, go way beyond your imagination. The inside of the Sagrada Familia looks like a fairy tail on speed and is both beautiful and weird at the same time. And have you ever tried looking through the glass staircase decoration at Casa Battlo? You turn into a mermaid swimming in a magical world below sea level! I kid you not!
I had a total blast with my sisters-in-law who offered me this beautiful trip to Barcelona. In case you need some more inspiration and travel options, feel free to check Barcelona Citytrips by Tui.