Barcelona was Mike and I’s first stop on our Europe Summer’18 trip! We flew in and arrived at 3 am, but since there’s a 9 hour time difference from back home, we weren’t quite tired yet and wanted to celebrate finally getting to Europe! As we made it to our hotel, Hotel Rec (a cute and hip hotel), there wasn’t really anything open so we decided to take a walk down the empty 3a.m streets, breathe it all in, and celebrate by picking up wine around the area to take back to our room. Plus we were still in our sweats and not really looking to go out. It was the perfect start to our trip.
The next morning, we woke up around 7a.m (3 hours of sleep was apparently enough for us – talk about jet lag!) We somehow had the energy to start our morning with a smoothie and a jog around the park near by the Arc De Triomf. It was the first and last work out during our 1 month trip in Europe (aside from the endless steps and walking).
As we traveled around Barcelona, we found that our hotel seemed to be in the perfect location. It was easily walking distance to some of our favorite restaurants and bars/lounges. To really explore and get to know other parts of the city like the beach, attractions, etc. the best thing Mike and I did was hop on a bike. It’s my favorite thing to do, in any city really. Barcelona is very bike-friendly and we found it to be a great way to really get to know the city and photograph all we want!
Here are some of our favorite spots as we traveled through the city for 4 days!
One of the first places we went to was: Elsa y Fred – it’s a gastrobar with great small plates and tapas. We sat right by the window (it was both oudoors/indoorsy – something in between, what I recall), which looked out on a cute little street and got to people watch as we ate. This place was always busy through out the day, so we were glad we got their early and got the perfect table for two.
We found a nice alternative to all the tapas and Paella we had been eating at Da Greco. They specialize in pasta and other Italian dishes and play opera music in the background. It was a fun spot and really felt like we stepped into a different city for the evening.
Flex Bowl was a nice restaurant for healthy food. They have a bunch of acai bowls and wraps. It’s great for breakfast or lunch.
Brunch & Cake was a good spot for brunch. They have a lot of trendy brunch items and its super cute inside!
Alsur Cafe – I tried their red velvet waffles and an acai bowl. Both were so so good! They have a bunch of items with fun modern spins on them.
We went to a very historic restaurant called 7 Puertas for paella. They have a famous guest book that celebrities sign and the chairs have placards of who sat there. Apparently Picasso was a regular here! This was definitely my favorite place for paella on this trip.
Mercat de la Boqueria – a large farmers market with so much brightly colored produce, homemade food, and drinks everywhere! Mike’s parents told us about this place and it was very fun finding different sections of interesting foods and drinks. We went on a busy weekend/Summer day so after a while, I started to get overwhelmed by the crowds, I needed to move it along.
Can Cisa / Bar Brutal was a super cute fusion of a wine bar and a food bar. The wine bar serves wine from the region and has cute and quirky decor, while Bar Brutal serves yummy small plates.
A few locals recommended we check out Beach Barrack, a restaurant by the beach. It was in a rather touristy area, but had some good paella. I definitely thought it was the best in that beach area! It also made for fun people watching by the sea.
Mike and I then went to see Sagrada de la Familia, a beautiful and renown temple. The construction on it started in the 1800s and was still going on when we visited! It was so stunning, I couldn’t stop admiring the details and Gaudi’s magical vision. Must see! Side note: It was so hard to get a pic here because of the constant tourism and traffic in this area. I managed to get one in front of it and also found a spot, away from the people, in the far corner across the street.
Las Ramblas was such a pretty walkway to explore. It had lots of outdoor vendors as well as restaurants and cafes for a few blocks! This area is very touristy (not my favorite), but good for lil shopping and to go check out their H&M.
Mike and I spontaneously decided to go to a Shakira concert, while there in Barcelona. It was so so fun! I had never seen her live before, so it was a great experience, her husband, Gerard Piqué, is a soccer player from Barcelona so everyone seems to love her there. It was a whole different experience seeing a concert at a different place, let alone country – a big change from the concerts I typically go to in LA. The only thing we found a little off-putting was trying to leave the venue. It was super confusing just trying to get out of there and back to our hotel.
Harlem Jazz Club is a cool and authentic place Mike and I went to listen to some live Spanish music and have drinks. We got to see a well known live Spanish band and danced away to those Spanish beats.
Cocovail Beer Hall was a fun place for drinks and food! They have a ton of craft beers on tap and appetizers to snack on.
Park Guell – is a public park with beautiful gardens and Gaudi’s sculptural buildings.
There were also some other hidden gems we found along the way, by foot. We came across cute and delicious coffee shops + fun hang out bars. I can’t recall the names of these places, as it’s been a few months now since. I think it’s good to make time, to just wanderlust and encounter these gems by foot on your own. It’s fun stumbling upon something that you heaven’t necessarily heard of yet is … yum and fun!
Hope you find some of these places just as enjoyable as I did and helpful for your Barcelona trip! xx