Deemed as a world-class drinking and dining scene, need I say more? Really though, Barcelona is magical. Vibrant street culture, incredible food, inexpensive (and good!) cava, history around every corner and home to one of the most impressive and unique churches on the planet. Grab a plate and fall in love with Barcelona!
Recommended stay: 3 days, 4 if you want a beach day
A couple of great options in the heart of everything.
H10 Urquinaona Plaza is my favorite! A great mid-range option located conveniently in Urquinaona Plaza, one block from the Placa de Catalunya and just off Via Laietana. Both are major streets/squares connecting all of the main areas of interest in Barcelona. Decor is modern with a urban twist. Awesome rooftop bar and pool area with complimentary cava upon arrival. Rooms are super tiny, but brand new with great showers.
Hotel Denit, is another great option. Location is also prime with easy access to all the main sights. Centrally located at the intersection of Las Ramblas and Placa de Catalunya.
Hotel 62 and The Majestic are other fantastic high-end choices in terrific locations. See more on Majestic below...
BARcelona. So many fab bars tucked into magical spots all over town. If I lived in Barcelona, Id live in El Born. Charming cobblestones, buzzing and full of beautiful people. Paseo del Born – stroll this street for tons of bar options...
Saboc – fun bar, lively scene
Llamber – great ambiance, I preferred the bar area. Great spot for after dinner drinks.
Bormuth Bar - great low key bar to start the night, we really enjoyed the vibe here
Orio Gastronomia Basca – stop early evening for a few snacks. There are dozens of specialties to select from and then you are charged based on the toothpicks on your plate – www.grupsagardi.com
La Champagneria Cava Bar (below) – this is a MUST!!! We had a blast. Things to know: It’s hard to find, street is under construction, no signage, but you’ll hear the noise and crowd. Awesome vibe inside. Cava by the bottle for 2 or 3 euro each and several little ham, cheese and tapas plates. Standing room only, super fun!
Majestic Hotel – rooftop bar (right). This is my favorite view in the city! This is a great stop for afternoon cocktail. It'll cost you, but it's totally worth it for panoramic views of Barcelona, including an amazing view of the La Sagrada Familia.
Sensi Bistro is hands down my favorite restaurant. I've had dinner here on two separate trips and both were unforgettable. Service is fantastic. From the moment you walk in you're treated like a friend showing up for a long anticipated dinner party. Their spin on tapas serves up larger dishes with a great selection for vegetarians and seafood connoisseurs. Must try... truffle ravioli, yellowtail ceviche and truffled flank steak.
Café Zurich – on the corner of Placa de Catalunya at the start of Las Ramblas, is a great to start your day! Grab a cafe table outside and watch the beautiful people of Barcelona rush off to start their days while you map out your day.
Day one... Sagrada Familia! It's absolutely worth the hype. I actually got teary eyed the first and second time I entered the cathedral. It's unlike any other church in Europe and will leave you in a trance as you stare at the vibrant stained glass and Gaudi's signature quirky style. Tip - purchase your tickets here before you go to avoid the 1-2 hour wait typical of peak season. After your visit to Sagrada, head toward Avinguda de Gaudi for several lunch and shopping options. In the afternoon, stroll back down Paseo de Garcia “the heart of Barcelona” upscale shopping street, tons of cafes, bars and high end shopping. As you make your way back towards Placa de Catalunya, stop at Casa Batlló – one of Gaudi's masterpieces. Before heading back to your hotel to freshen up for dinner you may be interested in stopping at Marsella, supposedly Barcelona's oldest bar where absinthe is the must have drink.
Day two... After a cafe and a croissant at Cafe Zurich, head for a stroll down Las Ramblas - the very popular pedestrian tree-lined street that connects to most of Barcelona. Plan to make a stop at La Boqueria, an 800 year old market known to be one of the best public markets in the world. We loved taking in all the smells, sights, colors and delights of this bustling market. Tapas, fresh fruit and drinks, chocolate, candy, vegetables, fish, meat, flowers, jewelry are all available. Weave your way down Las Ramblas to Barri Gothic. Make a stop at Cathedral de Barcelona – beautiful and quick to visit. You can also hit the Picasso Museum, if that's your jam. I certainly appreciate art and I was good after 45 minutes here. Next up, wander the streets of Barri Gothic and El Born stopping for pinchos and tapas (at the spots mentioned in Booze) while making your way to dinner at Sensi Bistro.
Park Guell - I've never made it out to Park Guell, but I hear it's absolutely worth a visit. From the center of Barcelona you can take a bus or taxi, plan 30 minutes each way.
For crazier nightlife the clubs down by the water go all night… I didn’t venture out there, but CDLC and Aqua were recommended. Apparently CDLC is one of the top nightlife spots in the world.
Cabs are cheap and the metro is super easy. However, a metro ticket is 3 euro each. Most cab rides are 6-8 euro… so if you have more than 3 people cabs are your best bet.