“Barcelona! Such a beautiful horizon… Like a jewel in the sun” sang Freddie Mercury for the city’s Olympic selection. Brimming with iconic architecture, Barcelona combines everything that is most charming about Mediterranean cities – a relaxed vibe, months of warm sunshine and unbeatable food.
WHERE TO STAY
Set in the bustling residential neighbourhood of Poble-Sec this is a little gem we can’t wait to go back to. We couldn’t resist splurging on one of the two penthouse suites, which have an outdoor bath on the terrace and spectacular views. The staff are really friendly and know all the best local spots for where to eat such as Mano Rota.
If you can’t get a room try Casa Bonay for another hub among hip locals – settle in and repeat after the welcome mat: Mi casa es su casa.
Majestic. Just like the name. Everyone from Picasso and Hemingway, to Miró has graced the hotel with their presence. It’s worth visiting just for a drink on the rooftop at sunset. Still need convincing? The breakfast is to die for and rumoured to be the best in Spain.
Luxurious, decadent and whole lot of fun. Need we go on? You’ll need to be up at dawn to shotgun a poolside bed but then you can catch forty winks in the sunshine. Escape the city for the day by taking the 30 minute shuttle bus to the Little Beach House. Sit back and relax with a bottle of Lady A (or two). Ask for una caña, not una cerveza. Sangria is for the true tourists only.
WHERE TO EAT
Estupendo. Really delicious food accompanied by a seaside view and a relaxed “LA-meets-Spain” atmosphere. Have the fish tostados, fish tacos, ham croquettas, tuna and tomoato salad and finish with a coconut ice lolly for desert.
Great choice, no question. A covered garden restaurant with an energetic and lively ambiance. Opt for the mint chocolate rolls for pudding.
Four restaurants, four bars and a thousand ways to feed the soul. It’s difficult to put into words how fun the atmosphere is – you’ll just have to visit it and see for yourself. Perfect for people watching.
WHAT TO DO
If you like unusual architecture, then Gaudi is your man. Wander round Park Guell and day dream about living in the pretty house right bang in the middle. A walk in the park if you book in advance.
Get some cash out for a taxi to the foot of Tibidabo Mountain ask for the Tranvia Blau (funicular) on C/Balmes & St Gervais – the view from the top is breathtaking.
Brunch at Milk and then wander round the Born area for independent stores – we loved Ivori and Clay Concept Store – and if you are looking for espadrilles check out Manual Alpargatera although we have a secret obsession with Toni Pons. Get lost in the tiny streets finding the Picasso Museum. One of the most famous museums in Barcelona, this spot is an absolute must. If you have time and like modern art head to the Joan Miró gallery on the hill. Dodge La Rambla like you would a date with Franco.
It’s impossible to ignore Gaudí’s masterpiece, La Sagrada Família, which is truly unlike any other building in the world. This Basilica is no hidden secret, but rather an imperative for anyone visiting the city. Eat like a local, lunch at 2pm, then siesta, a late dinner after 9pm and then party after. And if you fancy a snack in between opt for La Fabrica (take away empanadas), Rocambulesc (ice cram waffle buns) & Churros of course. It’s no wonder the Sagrada Família is still 50 years away from completion.
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