10 fun things to do in Barcelona
- Sagrada Familia
- Barceloneta Beach
- Sunset at the Port
- Las Ramblas
- Gothic Quarter & Moment of Freedom (Free Walking Tour)
- Park Güell
- Speakeasy Bars – El paradiso
- Flax & Kale – the healthy spot
- Tapas & Sangria
- FreeNow & Moveit App
Sunny weather, vibrant markets, stunning architecture, delicious bites and booze and hundreds of gorgeous hidden corners and all this right next to the beach? No need to ask me twice: Hagámoslo! Vamos a Barcelona.
Fun things to do in Barcelona: DAY 1
Plans for the first day? Sleeping in and enjoying life! Travelling by plane is always time consuming and exhausting therefor we decided to start our trip pretty chilled. After a bit of “brunch place research” (one of my favorite things) we decided to enjoy our breakfast close to Placa del Rei in the old town which was just a 10-minute walk from our Airbnb away in a cute little place called “Farggi”. They offer different kinds of breakfasts including avocado on toast, various kind of eggs, omelets, crepes, fresh juices and also we were able to order “iced cappuccino” (loving me an iced coffee) which is not always the case. What a great start to our trip!
The sun and blue sky almost forced us to spend our day at the beach, sipping on some more iced cappuccino in one of the various restaurants at Barceloneta beach and later on enjoying ourselves having some cerveza and lemón. Even in September the water is warm enough for swimming, however I didn´t make so much use of it. Don´t get me wrong I love the sea, however the water was kind of rough at some point including huge waves – a paradise for surfers, but not so much if you have quite a bit respect of the ocean, like me. Even though some people might connect my looks with the little mermaid, I´m not there yet!
After a shower, feeling fresh and fruity, we went out to explore the famous “Las Ramblas”, a huge Boulevard running through the heart of the city filled with crowds, restaurants, artists and human statues. Always keep an eye on your belongings this area logically attracts pickpockets. Along the road you will also find more attractions like the Erotica Museum (Museu de l’ Erotica), the Christopher Columbus monument and the Modernist Boqueria Market. If you´re suffering from claustrophobia you might avoid going there on “Diada Nacionale de Catalunya”, happening in memory of Barcelona’s surrender on 11 September 1714 after the siege of the city by French and Spanish troops, like we did. Parades, formal ceremonies and streets filled with people create a special festive atmosphere.
At some point we wanted to escape the masses and continued our discovery tour in the gothic quarter. Have you every heard about speakeasy bars? Me neither, but that´s where chance took us. We discovered a cute little place called “El paradiso” (Pastrami bar) which serves great smoked sandwiches and tapas. The food we ordered was lovely, however it´s probably not the best choice for vegetarians as you can only order sides (all mains include meat). When politely asking the waiter, he will open his secret bar for you. Have you ever entered a bar through a fridge? No? This will be your first time then! I can only recommend this hidden gem, offering the fanciest drinks you will ever see with very reasonable prices (9-14 Euros). I´m not gonna tell you more, just enjoy the experience.
Fun things to do in Barcelona: DAY 2
Our second day we started with… guess what… BRUNCH! If you would ask me what my favorite meal is, it would definitely be brunch. Porridge, coffee, eggs and avocado, yogurt, fruits, cheese… did I mention coffee already? Obsessed! Nothing better than a delicious brunch. We found the most gorgeous place namely “Flax & Kale”. Such a pretty place with a great message. It describes itself as the “first healthy flexitarian restaurant” in Barcelona and points out the correlation between a healthy diet and a healthy life. 80% of their offer is plant-based however you can also find eggs and fish in the menu. Let me tell you- it was delicious! Ask for a table in the first floor – the terrace brings a special peaceful vibe with it which makes your stay even better.
Strengthened from all the delicious food we got back on our feet to explore the city. Already the day before we registered for a “free walking tour” in the oldtown executed by Donkey Tours. We met our group and the tour guide Eric in the late morning at Placa Nova, close to the cathedral of Barcelona. You can find them pretty easy as they are wearing yellow shirts. The tours are completely free, but tip based, so you can decide how much it is worth to you. Eric recommended a tip between 10 and 10.000 Euros. Sounds reasonable to me! Santa Eulalia cathedral, Roman Aqueduct remains, Palau de la Música Catalana, Sant Pere Square, Mercat del Born, Santa María del Mar Church, Roman Wall, Plaça del Rei and Augustus temple and these are only a few of the spots we visited. Unfortunately, we lost our group in the Augustus temple and weren´t able to find them again (Well done I know). However, we really enjoyed it therefor we waited for the next tour to start so we could pay Eric his well-deserved money – very entertaining and fun tour!
After soaking up some more sun at the beach, all showered and dressed, we went for some snacks at “La Boqueria Market” which ended up being our dinner. It´s labeled as the beating heart of Barcelona, right next to Las Ramblas. The market prides itself on selling local and international products in highest quality. We tasted fresh fruit drinks, empanadillas (stuffed Spanish bread) and a tortilla wrap which came with nachos and guacamole. Everything quite delicious, however half of the stands were already closed – to be fair we were quite late. Also, we didn´t know that closing at 8:30 actually means 8. We all deserve an early siesta, right?
Later on, we went to the “Port of Barcelona” to end our day having one (or two) San Miguel and Sangria next to the ocean watching a beautiful sunset.
Fun things to do in Barcelona: DAY 3
The third day we woke up earlier to catch a bus in the direction of “Park Güell” (UNESCO world heritage), a public park system in la Salut in Barcelona. Using an app called Moveit we found the right bus and bus station, you can either buy your ticket before the ride or just in the bus (Price 2,5 Euro/ person). A huge area of the park was for free, even the viewing platform at the top is free of cost. When you get off the bus just walk in the direction of park Güell and then take the stairs on the very right (let me warn you there are quite a few stairs, but it pays off). Reaching the top, you can enjoy a stunning view of Barcelona and the sea. From there you can walk down a longer walk through the Park, enjoying nature and listening to some local bands, guitar or violin players. The main part, the monumental area (controlled area/ 5% of the park) costs 10 Euros for an adult, however there are discounts for elderly, students, children and disabled. E did not enter this zone as you can see most of the buildings also from outside, if you are a fan of modernist architecture or Antoni Gaudi, I would totally recommend going in.
After this small hike we grabbed some snacks on our way back and explored the gothic quarter a bit more. Crossing Placa Nova a little bit hidden at Plaça d’Isidre Nonell we found the famous mural of two people kissing which is made of thousands of tiles, expressing “a moment of freedom” of local residents. The Mosaic was designed by Joan Fontcuberta, a conceptual artist, in 2014. Next to the mosaic there is a plaque which says: The sound of a kiss is not as loud as that of a cannon, but it’s echo lasts a great deal longer (translated). For everyone who is active on IG it is very instagrammable .
Last but not least visiting the Sagrada Familia was a must. It is a one-of-a-kind-basilica designed by the famous modernist architect Antoni Gaudi. 135 years after putting the cornerstone it is still under construction and it will continue for at least 7 more years, estimations say it should be completed in 2026. In an underground level of the basilica, Antoni Gaudis tomb can be found, which is surrounded by four chapels. I would recommend buying your ticket online as otherwise you will fall victim to the huge waiting lines. Another recommendation would be visiting the Sagrada familia in the evenings as the light coming through the windows will be way much warmer than in the mornings, which bathes the whole church in a glorious tinge.
We then concluded the last day in a relaxed atmosphere with Tapas and Sangria close to the Port in a cute little restaurant. Fried asparagus with spicy dip, fresh bread, burrata with olives and tomatoes, spanish omelet with chorizo, fried potatoes, fried anchovies and a fishbowl of Sangria – life can be this beautiful.
Beautiful, vibrant, delicious Barcelona: te veré de nuevo!