Barcelona is my favorite city in the world that I’ve been to so far in my travels. I lived there for a summer during college and have been back a couple of times since. I love the laid-back, cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city and the nightlife is second to none. This past week, a friend asked for some recommendations for an upcoming trip to Barcelona so I thought I’d list out some of my favorite things to see and do in the city.
A good portion of Barcelona was designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. One of my favorite Gaudi sites is Park Güell. The lizard mosaic at the entrance is one of the most recognized symbols of the city. The top of the park also provides one of the best views over the city and the ocean. You can see more about Park Güell here.
A Spectacular Fountain Show
Right off of the Espanya metro stop is the best fountain show I’ve ever seen. It takes place Thursday through Sunday nights and is well worth an hour of your time to see the vibrant colors and designs of the water.
Another Gaudi masterpiece, Sagrada Familia is probably the coolest site in Barcelona. It has three distinctly different designs and the third side is still under construction to this day. You can read more about Sagrada Familia here. The surrounding area also has lots of little cafés. I know this because when I lived in Barcelona for a summer, my apartment was only about half a block from where this picture was taken. What is still my favorite Sangria comes from a little café there called La Boulangerie, which was conveniently located directly across the street from my apartment. I quickly got to know the place well!
La Boqueria Market
Somewhere else I visited regularly, La Boqueria will blow your mind! It is the largest open-air market in the world and has everything you would ever want as far as food products. You may never leave. The best thing is the 1 euro fresh-squeezed juices. They have every flavor you can think of, from Papaya-Guava to Passion Fruit-Banana. I found it difficult to get through the market without having 6 or 7 of them (every day)! I guess there are worse things to be hooked on.
Casa Batllo / Casa Mila
Shocker alert: more buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi! Most of the really cool sites in the city were designed by Gaudi. I guess you’d know that because this is the third I’ve mentioned. Anyways, both Casa Batllo and Casa Mila are worth the few euros it costs to take the tour. You won’t be disappointed.
Barcelona is a great food city. With its location right on the Mediterranean, you can always find lots of fresh seafood. You can also find lots of delicious tapas cafés. One of my favorites is Cerveseria Catalana. From patatas bravas to pimientos verdes to a simple combination of bread, olive oil and tomato slices, you will never run out of tapas choices to try. Always go to tapas cafés with a group of friends so that you can try a variety of different dishes.
This next place was also a frequent hangout. If you’ve never had a shot lit on fire or roasted a marshmallow in it before taking the shot, you’re missing out. Chupitos is by-far my favorite bar in Barcelona (out of many). When you walk in, there’s a wall with about 300 shot names on it, but they don’t tell you what the names mean. You just have to try different ones and hope for the best. Recommendations: get the Boy Scout (you roast marshmallows then tastes like a s’more with the shot) or the Harry Potter (seen above).
The Chocolate Museum
The Chocolate Museum is something fun to do some day before heading out to the beach, or on one of those rare days where it might be a bit chilly to lay on the beach. They have all kinds of statues, figures, and anything else you can think of. It’s like a wax museum, only made from chocolate. You can see my favorite one above.
Speaking of my favorite soccer (football) team, take a trip over to Camp Nou and catch an FC Barcelona game. I got to attend a couple of practice sessions at the stadium. Even if there are no events going on, you can still tour the stadium and see where the best team in the land plays all of their home matches.
I could go on all day about cool things to do in Barcelona, but that will do it for now. What are you favorite spots in the Catalan capital of Spain?