Last updated: January 11, 2020
I moved here not too long ago and worked in the city for about 6 months, so most of these tips are from that time. I quickly fell in love with the city, its people, and its culture. Also, looking back, my time here was truly a huge part of shaping adult Kere. These are some of my favorite spots to dine solo, work, take visiting friends, and get to know dates (#liveyourlife). They are for the most part, budget friendly (think intern with the occasional visit from her family). As always, check out the spots mentioned on this guide in my custom Google Map!
Where to Stay
You honestly can’t go wrong in most neighborhoods but I recommend staying in one of my favorite neighborhoods, El Poble Sec or Sant Antoni. Both are really trendy and hip, with tapas options for days. However, keep in mind that since it’s not in the most touristy part of the city, you’ll be interacting with locals a ton, who may only speak Catalan or Castellano (what other countries traditionally call “Spanish”). I personally love that aspect, but to each her/his own.
Comer y tomar una copa
There are so many good restaurants and bars in Barcelona, and I’ve only scratched the surface…
Arume embodies the idea of “sobremesa”, which is essentially the lengthy after-dinner conversations. The number of nights I spent closing out the restaurant because of such long talks with friends and family… Whew. For my first timers, start with a drink at the bar while you wait for your table. You can’t go wrong with your main dish (everything is good) and you’ll get the distinct Basque-style cuisine. Make sure to end your dinner with their chocolate cookie with lavender ice-cream. I’m pretty sure they put pop rocks in them. Carrer d’En Botella, 11, 13, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Buenos Aires Grill Restaurant 🥩
If you like to eat meat, this is the perfect spot for you. This Argentine restauratn is prefect for when you want a little something different from the traditional Spanish fare. Carrer de València, 189, 08011 Barcelona
La Pizza del Sortidor Poble Sec 🍕
If I had to list my favorite pizza spots in the entire world, this would be in the top 3, hands down. You’ll find authentic Neapolitan pizza, good and cheap beer, and a ton of locals since this is a pretty hole in the wall spot in a residential area. Not a touristy vibe at all. Carrer de Blasco de Garay, 46, 08004 Barcelona
Carrer Parlament 🍻
The number of fun bars and restaurants on this street make it a favorite of Barcelona locals. At night, it’s lively and the a good spot for chill bar-hopping during the week.
Cafe Cometa 🥪
A cafe on Carrer Parlament. Great for their sandwiches, juices, and chips & guac. It’s a favorite of mine especially before a day of sightseeing in Montjuic (it’s almost on the way). breakfast pastries. Carrer del Parlament, 20, 08015 Barcelona
Flax & Kale 🥬
A great brunch spot that’s entirely vegetarian/vegan with tacos, salads, juices, you name it. You’ll find anyone from the Spanish girls with their baes and Chanel flap bags to the chill Americans craving a bit of that California lifestyle (can you tell I did quite a bit of people watching here?) Carrer dels Tallers, 74b, 08001 Barcelona
Picnic Restaurant 🍳
Good brunch spot with the main attraction being its proximity to the Arc de Triomf and surrounding parks. Carrer del Comerç, 1, 08003 Barcelona
De Paula 🍔
Best burger spot in Barcelona and in one of my favorite neighborhoods, El Poble Sec. Carrer de la Creu dels Molers, 65, 08004 Barcelona
Milk Bar & Bistro 🥞
Probably the best classic American brunch you’ll find in Barcelona. At one point I was craving a stack of pancakes and scrambled eggs, so I quickly ran here and I was not disappointed. Carrer d’en Gignàs, 21, 08002 Barcelona
Lolita Taperia 🥘
Great for late night tapas. Also the place where a hostess gave me a tutorial on the Spanish word for eggplant (berenjena). It’s a hard one to pronounce flawlessly! It gets busy, so not exactly the place for a large meal unless you want to wait for a bit. But, grab a seat at the bar, order a few tapas, and keep exploring! Carrer de Tamarit, 104, 08015 Barcelona
La Flauta 🥘
A pretty spot on restaurant and a great place to try one of my favorite Spanish dishes, “huevos estrellados”. Request the upstairs dining area! Carrer d’Aribau, 23, 08011 Barcelona
Things to do/Places to explore
If you’re like me, then you already have a list of museums (Museu Picasso, Gaudi museums, Sagrada Familia, etc.), botanical gardens, and parks (Olympic Park, Montjuic) to hit up when you arrive. But here are some extra spots that may not be on your radar:
Free walking tour 👟
This is a great way to start your trip and get a general sense of the areas of Barcelona. I did the Sandemans one during my first weekend and was able to meet some cool travelers as well as get more familiar with the city.
Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 🎾
For my tennis fans out there, if you’re in town in April, try to see if you can get tickets to the Barcelona Open. It’s played before the French Open so you’ll probably get to see some big names! I watched Rafael Nadal and fully fan-girled.
Dali Theatre-Museum 🎨
One of the most complete collections of Salvador Dalí, and is located in his hometown. This will be a day trip, but it’s worth it. Plaça Gala i Salvador Dalí, 5, 17600 Figueres, Girona
Attend a fútbol match ⚽
If you’re in town during fútbol (soccer) season, I highly recommend attending a match. There are two teams that are home to Barcelona, FC Barcelona, and the lesser known, RCD Espanyol. I had a friend who was the biggest fan of Barcelona’s smaller team, Espanyol, and going to one of those matches was such an energizing experience.
Some of the best shops are tiny hole in the wall ones, and you can shop til your heart’s content in this city. But areas you should definitely check out:
- Placa del Catalunya
- Las Ramblas (including La boqueria market)
- Tascón Zapaterías (funky shoe store)
- El Cortes Ingles (department store, think Nordstroms)
Barcelona is one of my favorite cities and I hope you find the beauty in the city and its people, like I did. If you end up checking out any of these spots, let me know (comment here or DM me on Instagram)!