“Barcelona is a very old city in which you can feel the weight of history; it is haunted by history. You cannot walk around it without perceiving it.” ~Carlos Ruiz Zafón
There is nowhere quite like Barcelona. Perched on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea with the breathtaking peaks of Montserrat rising over it, the city’s diverse culture, vibrant nightlife, and exquisitely unique architecture entice visitors from all over the globe. We hear they’ve got a decent sports scene, too …
Read on for our take on the best way to spend a day in Barcelona.
Breakfast: Second breakfast is totally a thing in Barcelona, and we’re here for it. Start your morning with a cafe con leche or a bombon, and once your stomach wakes up it’s time to seek out brunch. Marmalade gets our vote for its funky vibe … and its eggs benedict.
Outdoor Activity: Hop a cable car up Montjuic Hill for sweeping city views, plus an 18th-century fortress, gardens, a Spanish village, and some Olympic stadiums from when Barcelona hosted the Games in 1992.
Lunch: The locals lunch late in Barcelona—many of the restaurants don’t even open until 1 or 2 p.m. It’s also the biggest meal of the day, so do it up right with some of the best paella in the city and a killer view of the Mediterranean.
Shopping: Stroll down Passeig de Gracia, where you’ll find everything from designer labels to unique, one-of-a-kind local shops on this sweeping, tree-lined street.
Dinner: As you might expect, there are no early-bird specials in Barcelona. Dinner is never earlier than 8 p.m., and it’s a much lighter meal then you’re probably used to— a tapas bar like Bar Tomas fits the bill perfectly.
Attraction/Splurge: You can’t visit Barcelona and fail to notice its one-of-a-kind architecture. Antoni Gaudi is the man responsible for much of it, so a Gaudi tour is a necessity to take in Sagrada Familia, Casa Calvet, Casa Macaya and La Pedrera.
Drinks/Nightlife: Las Ramblas is the place to be after the sun goes down with plenty of bars and clubs to choose from. Keep an eye on your stuff, though—pickpockets are notorious for preying on the hordes of tourists in this area.
Book To Bring: The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, is an international best-seller. This thriller/mystery hybrid is a story within a story set in Barcelona in the 1940s.
How Do You Say:
Yes, Barcelona is in Spain … but Spanish isn’t the only language spoken there. It’s also the capital of Catalonia, which is an autonomous region of Spain, complete with its own language: Catalan. Many street signs and menus will be in Catalan, rather than Spanish although locals will likely.
Hello: Hola in both languages (but don’t forget to be breezy about it)
Goodbye: Adios in Spanish/Adeu in Catalan
Thank You: Gracias in Spanish/Gracies in Catalan