Quite honestly, Barcelona was probably my least favorite city I have traveled thus far (but that could also have something to do with the original “purpose” of the weekend being Abroadfest, a student focused concert/ “dager”). That being said, the weekend in the sun and warm breeze was much needed and we found some gems along the way I thought I’d share.
If you want to see how I spent my days in video form, click here! The video may also help you understand activities that make sense to do in the same day spatial-wise.
T H I N G S T O D O & S E E
MUST DO. Most famous structure in Barcelona for good reason- this is the most beautiful church (and building) I have ever been in. Also designed by Gaudi but it is still under construction as it still hasn’t been completed. Tickets are $37- must make a reservation, they sell out a day or two in advance.
Palau de la Música Catalana
A UNESCO world heritage site. Very famous theater where very well known orchestras, soloists, etc. have performed. You need to pay for a guided tour to enter. Probably more expensive than it’s worth but still worth doing.
Cathedral of Barcelona
Free to enter before 12, takes about 20 mins to do the whole thing
Famous park designed by Gaudi. honestly pretty overrated and filled with tourists but a so-called “must see” if you’re going to Barcelona. Make reservations to visit in advance.
Playa de la Barceloneta
W Hotel for drinks
We didn’t do this but they have an amazing location overlooking the ocean if you are looking for a simple rooftop bar for drinks/ a good view.
This class was seriously so much fun and very affordable for everything included. You start out going to the local market to get the ingredients and come back to the kitchen to enjoy (and make) Sangria and Paella. Put yourself out there and meet your fellow classmates, we had a great time befriending fellow Americans visiting Barcelona on a work trip!
F O O D
Note: Breakfast isn’t a very Spanish concept, so if you are looking for a meal around this time you should probably expect to eat either bakery pastries or Australian/ American style brunch spots.
Teresa Carles Healthy Food
Juice/ smoothie spot. Not too overpriced and nice for a quick pick me up. Located in the Gothic Quarter near Barcelona Cathedral.
I’d recommend going to the market for lunch, for some reason we had a hard time finding good fresh spots to eat lunch.
(Market) “Mercado de La Boqueria”
Very fun to walk around and a great place to grab food for lunch. Be warned- the candy booth is extremely overpriced (but still fun to look at).
Dishes to try: fresh seafood salad (seafood further back of market), chocolate covered strawberries, fresh juice.
…(near Sagrada Familia) is new so we were the only customers in when we went, but food was cheap, delicious, and the staff treated us like royalty. They brought us out free food while we were waiting for our order and made sure to put care into the presentation of each dish despite the casual nature of the food and inexpensiveness. Great place to go for lunch before/ after visiting the church.
Dishes to try: the homemade french fries hit the spot, carrot hummus was a nice starter, and my friends loved the chicken sandwich.
Beachside restaurant where you can get tapas and drinks and people also come around and give you massages. We didn’t go because it’s more expensive but sounds intriguing
Note: DO NOT GO to Brunch & Cake. It was recommended to us because the food looks beautiful but the service and taste of the food was awful.
Everyone eats dinner late- around 10 PM- but places are open a earlier too. You should definitely plan where you’re going to eat and make reservations because all of the best restaurants book up.
Great tapas place in/ near Gothic Quarter. Make reservations.
Dishes to try: The sangria, tuna dish and cod croquettes were amazing, apparently the steak is incredible (if you eat red meat).
Gourmet Tapas by Sensi-
SUPER popular, you’d need reservations. There are about four “Sensi” restaurants (owned by same people) around the same area in Gothic Quarter. We went to “Gourmet Tapas by Sensai” but they all were recommended.
Dishes to try: The broccoli soufflé, beetroot gnocchi, seared tuna, and scallops were to die for but you really cant go wrong with anything you order here. I’d recommend ordering the Sangria instead of wine.
El Nacional in Palacio de Gracias-
We didn’t do this but it was highly recommended.
Churros place in Gothic Quarter deemed the “original churros”- def recommend but they have weird hours- make sure you get there before 8:15 PM.
N I G H T L I F E
The nightclub in Barcelona. This was incredibly hyped-up by our friends studying abroad there– I’d heard of Opium for months before I got the chance to go myself. It was definitely a fun club… be prepared to walk out the door around 6 AM (its on the beach- not a bad place to watch the sunrise).
This entire area is full of clubs and bars. We went to “The Room” a couple of times before going to the clubs after. Other popular clubs are Pacha and Shoko. Pick your poison.
I prefer nightlife at more low-key spots but due to the nature of Barcelona not really being able to go to a bar to chill due to the language barrier, you are mostly stuck with the club scene. If thats your spot, live your best life. If not… good luck, Charlie.
This is where our Airbnb was. Really great area to walk around and explore. This area gets gritty very late at night (4 AMish).
I wouldn’t rush here if you don’t have too much time in Barcelona but La Rambla is like the “5th Ave” or “Champes D’Elesyees” of the city. Definitely go into Zara (best Zara I’ve ever visited- the company originated in Spain) and also be sure to stop into some boutiques on side streets- some of my favorites had sneaker walls and great sale racks.
F I N
You made it to the end of my Barcelona Weekender guide, now go enjoy it for yourself! If you’re aware of other amazing areas or restaurants I may have missed, comment them down below. SPREAD THE BARCELONA LOVE!
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