Vibrant, enchanting city? Tick. Incredible atmosphere? Tick. Fresh, flavourful dishes? Double, even triple, tick! For a destination fueled by cosmopolitan vivacity and intriguing history, look no further than Barcelona. Situated in Spain’s Catalonia region, the city embodies a rich modernist personality anchored by a strong restaurant scene – which is complimented by the central Boqueria market – and whimsical architectural works by Antoni Gaudi.
But even with its tourist traps and sun-kissed beaches, there is so much more happening within this province that can offer unique glimpses into the hidden life of the city.
Things to do
Trip4Real: a new way to discover the cosmo city, Trip4Real is a community driven platform, which allows locals to share their individual, favourite spots in the city. Technically becoming tour guides in their own right, they offer travellers ways to live local experiences and discover authentic ways of travel – think secret beaches and underground shopping malls and parties.
Biking – a simple and practical form of transport to whizz around the city. You can access any part of the city on their bikes.
For a more community vibe where you can discuss cultural and political doings of Barcelona, choose El Lokal where they aim towards creating a fair and free society. Or maybe Permaculture, a movement also set on social transformation in the community.
Best time to go
Anytime is the best time to pack your bags and head off to Barcelona but time your getaway for the middle of August (15th to 23rd) and you’ll find yourself at Festa Major de Gràcia – a week long party celebrating Catalan culture. Every year the neighbourhood of Gràcia transform the streets into the most elaborate setting with previous years having a jungle, underwater and even zombie theme. Expect great street food and drink.
Top 3 Hipster districts to visit
El Born: One of the most fashionable locations in the city, we recommend browsing the lovely, charming shops adorning the alleys and main paths alongside the following stops:
– El Mercat de la Princesa (restaurant & market)
– La Vietnamita Born (Vietnamese food deli & bar)
– Born Centre Cultural (Cultural destination)
Barceloneta: Home to the original Barcelona beach, the district traditionally was where the local fisherman used to live and is now famous for its myriad of fish restaurants strewn along its narrow streets.
Raval: A once no-go area, Raval has transformed into a popular gentrified area home to some of the trendiest bars and cafes in town. A multicultural destination with skateboarders through to hipsters, the area is a perfect place for people watching.
Insider Locations to dine and hangout
But, what to do on the other days when great food, bars and music are calling? Check out our top Barcelona insider spots below:
Av. Diagonal, 505, 08029 Barcelona, Spain
+34 934 19 31 91
A buzzing restaurant-bar, expect friendly staff and trendy food as well as great vibes and people.
Carrer de la Unió, 17 · 08001 Barcelona
+ 932 703 458
Discover fresh seafood straight from the Catalan fish markets, fried delicacies, local wine and beer all in one smooth motion at this 4-star gourmet restaurant.
Ctra. de Miramar, 38, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
+34 931 06 60 52
The best place to eat Paella in the city partnered with amazing views. Need we say more?
Almirall Aixada 22. (Playa de la Barceloneta), 08003 Barcelona, Spain
(+34) 93 250 70 23
Fresh fruit cocktails, delicious salads and sandwiches, Sur House Barcelona has it all. Don’t forget to join in with the daily workouts including yoga and paddle surfing.
Passeig del Mare · Nostrum 19-21 · 08039 Barcelona
+34 933 123 585
Simple home-made food made with fresh, quality ingredients, this bar promises a relaxing ambience.
Plaza Real 13, 14 & 15 ·08002 Barcelona
T. (+34) 93 676 48 14
Live the spirit of the alternative Barcelona with Ocana. Boasting original 1850 architecture, revelatory discoveries lie in its surprising cuisine amongst other delights.
Whatever your budget, Barcelona is a picturesque destination for a quick European break offering you captivating architecture through to flavourful dishes. You can find some great holiday apartments in Barcelona and there are plenty of great areas in the city to choose from. So get packing and head to Barcelona before the summer is out.