Oh, Barcelona. A weekend here combines romance, style and food to die for… The Holy Trio. A perfect city in which to float between amazing architecture, restaurants and galleries. Your weekend there could be any time of year as this city is always idyllic. But for me, sangria and sunshine go hand in hand, so why not time your trip for late Spring or Summer. Avoid Easter itself, as many things are closed.
A great option for your Barcelona lodgings is one of the many boutique hotels. We chose Casa Mathilda for affordable luxury and it stole our hearts from the moment we saw its well-preserved vintage elevator! First floor, please! The en-suite will bring on tile-lust and the restaurant is a cozy, intimate and yet modern space for breakfast.
We also stayed at the H10 Cubix, which is a little pricier but achingly cool. We’re talking robots in the lobby and a specialist gin bar on the roof. Well worth it.
For your first meal in the city, try Can Paixano (La Xampanyeria), where you’ll be sat almost on top of your neighbours, munching fabulous and thrifty tapas, whilst you sip cava for something bubbly. It’s fun, it’s social, it’s Barcelona.
Situate yourselves over another glass of cava or switch to a pint of Estrella at Bar Oviso, choosing a table outside in George Orwell square for a prime people watching spot.
Saturday morning must start at the beach, then a stroll up to Barcelona’s most famous street, Las Ramblas. Stop for a café con leche at the Café de l’Opera before detouring off to the Gothic quarter to get lost in the streets and stumble upon Barri Gotic, the beautiful partially-ruined cathedral with a wild and cloistered garden.
Head back towards Las Ramblas and make your way to Barcelona’s premiere food market, La Boqueria, which will soon have you salivating. You can’t go wrong here – bar-hop and grab a snack from each or install yourself on a stool to enjoy the hippest of buskers and premium tapas. We propped ourselves up at Bar Central and highly recommend. Try the calamari, king prawns, peppers, any of the pintxos, just all of it. In fact, consider a foodie tour.
From here, head over to Park Guell for all the fabulousness and fantasy of Gaudi’s public garden works. It’s a beautiful way to walk off the tapas and make room for your next meal. Heading onwards, it’s time for your pre-booked slot at the Sagrada Familia for Saturday afternoon (book at least a week in advance for your first choice time). The modern cathedral is simply breath-taking… and it’s a work in progress! We spent hours walking around the exterior alone. Despite the crowds, the vastness and the detail to get lost in provide a serene experience. The mid-afternoon light is a beautiful time to be there.
You are spoiled for dinner options of course, but Viana is a wise, wise choice. This is gourmet Spanish food with all the right international influences and atmosphere. Again, it mixes cosiness with industrial décor and the tables are crammed in for a buzzy atmosphere. Everything is recommended but the pork was incredible.
On Sunday morning, admire Gaudi’s most magnificent buildings, mixed into Barcelona’s streets like they’re part of the furniture. Start at Passeig de Gracia and walk down to the wavy-walled apartment block, La Pedrera, before reaching Casa Battlo. If I’ve one top Barcelona tip, Nomads, it’s to GO INSIDE Casa Battlo. Built as a family home, this incredible building is now an incredible museum which uses VR handsets to literally bring the house and Gaudi’s designs to life. I don’t want to give too much away, but this is an unmissable on your itinerary. If it’s lunchtime afterwards, try out Tapas24 nearby for delectable tapas.
From here, head over to the Picasso Museum to see an amazing display of how the artist’s work evolved from boyhood to old age. My top tip, Nomads, is to skip the main queue and go around the corner to where they sell annual memberships. It’s a fraction more expensive but skips the entire line.
If you haven’t eaten yet, stop in at Quimet & Quimet on your way to Montjuic for some grade A tapas. Then on to Montjuic, for a wonderful Sunday afternoon up on the hills of Barcelona. You take the Barcelona Port Cable Car up with great views across the sea. At the top, you can choose to visit the Olympic stadium and the Palau Nacional. Be back in time for the Font Magica fountains for a wonderous display of light and water. The times vary during the year, so be sure to check.
For your last meal in Barcelona, I’ve kept a gem for you, Nomads. Jai-Ca is boisterous, family-filled and fabulous. There’s usually a waiting list, so go before you’re famished and get a drink. There are actually two locations close to each other. They’ve been making cheap, melt-in-the-mouth tapas since 1955 and it is FUN with black and white tiles and diner tables. A visit here guarantees you’ll be planning your next trip over the dinner table.
Let us know your plans, Nomads! Did you stumble across some top tips for me? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.