City Guide: Weekend in Barcelona

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

Sagrada Familia-

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.

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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.

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Cathedral of Barcelona

Free to enter before 12, takes about 20 mins to do the whole thing

Park Güell

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

One of the main reasons a lot of people go to Barcelona is to get a taste of the beach. There are lots of cute restaurants along the boardwalk- it’s worth walking down and picking a spot for dinner during sunset. Lots of my friends loved “Surf House”.
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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.

Tapas/ Paella Cooking Class

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

“Breakfast” Spots:

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.

Lunch Spots:

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.

Raro Anti*bistro

…(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. 

CLDC

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.

Dinner Spots:

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.

La Luna

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.

Xurreria

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

Opium

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. 

Areas:

Gothic Quarter

This is where our Airbnb was. Really great area to walk around and explore. This area gets gritty very late at night (4 AMish).

La Rambla

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!

 

XOXO,

Margot

13 thoughts on “City Guide: Weekend in Barcelona

  1. Please do one of these for Amsterdam and Paris! You have everything so planned out and your trips look incredible. I know it will take you a while to do these but they are extremely useful and you do them so well! Xxxxxx

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  3. La Luna is unrealllllllll… I went when I visited my boyfriend while he was abroad last semester! A great brunch place is Billy Brunch and an awesome bar is The Mint!

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  4. You probably struggled with lunch as Spanish siestas are from about 1-4pm… always something Americans and even other European tourists can get caught out by!

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  5. Hey Margot! I loved the Barcelona vlog and I hope you enjoyed your time here!
    and I’m sorry to hear you didn’t like it here that much, but I honestly feel like you missed so much… some things that are a “must” if you come here can be a little overrated… like you said about the Park Güell. But there are so many other places you should’ve visited that were worth seeing in my opinion! of course, three days isn’t a lot, but maybe if you ever come back, or if someone else reading this is coming to Barcelona anytime soon, here they are:
    – El Montjuïc and Castell de Montjuïc, lots of war history behind this, the views are amazing, there’s a cable thing that can take you up there and again, the views are amazing. Lots of gardens and parks to walk down through.
    – The streets of the Gothic Quarter, more in depth, there are so many hidden places and historical things, some churches…
    – If you’re into art, a couple great museums are the MNAC and MACBA both amazing.
    – To do at night/late evening: the Montjuïc “magic fountain”, it’s a beautiful little show they do and I’d say it’s worth it. If you like going out with friends but the club isn’t really your scene, there are some known bars like “L’Ovella Negra” that are filled with young people and open until 2 am or something like that.
    – The beach: if you have time, I recommend going to some other less crowded beach, maybe take the train to get out of the actual city! the beaches are better there.
    and more things I can’t think of right now 🙂 hope this helped someone or might one day!

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  6. Hi!!
    I’m actually studying abroad too! My friends and I are going to Barce and Seville for spring break and this has been very helpful! Any suggestions for Seville?

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  7. Hi Margot!
    I’m also studying abroad in England this summer. If possible, could you make one of these for Paris as well? These last two were super informational! I’m hoping to take a weekend trip to Paris and I would love to know your thoughts! 🙂 xoxo

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