I think everyone who knows Barcelona will agree with me – Barcelona is the perfect weekend get-a-away destination (at least for every European who can reach BCN within a few hours by plane). I’m absolutely in love with the one-and-a-half-million inhabitants beach city. The food, the people, the weather, the architecture – everything feels perfect every time I get the chance to visit the city.
If you stay in a central place and plan your trip ahead of time, you actually don’t even need public transportation to get around. Almost everything is in walkable distance. In the following, I will share the experiences of my latest 48h-stay in Barcelona. The article is structured into "day-plans" for a weekend stay (Friday Night -Sunday). Other recommendations regarding activities, food and shopping are listed at the end of the article.
Equipped with a huge ToDo/Must-see list, I started my little mini weekend vacation with an amazing Pasta dinner at Macchina on Friday night. In Knew this place from previous visits and always thought the mini pasta bar in the Gothic neighborhood is unique..until I found out this year that Macchina actually is has several locations in Barcelona. So if you feel like pasta, choose the location in "Barrio Gótico". In this tiny bar, the pasta experience is unique.
After dinner, I kept strolling around the Gothic neighborhood & through "el born" (my two favorite districts in Barcelona), exploring the twisty alleys that characterize the city. If only wall could speak - those mysterious buildings would have millions of stories to tell, I bet! During my walking tour, I also found this super cute little ice cream shop called “Topping Circus. I can’t judge their ice cream quality but their store front looked super cute from the outside.
I started my first full tourist day with a brunch at “Brunch & Cake” – my absolute favorite brunch place in Barcelona. In my opinion, they make the best “artsy brunch dishes ever”. From homemade Nutella-Granola-Porridge to Mac & Cheese-Egg-Bagel, you will always be surprised by their latest creations. To all Foodies out there: Check out their Instagram-Feed – I'm a true fan and they are a super cool inspiration to all Foodies in my opinion.
PS: They also serve coffee not only brunch (I didn't have the cake for breakfast!)
Strengthened from my delicious “Brunch & Cake by the Sea” breakfast (Brunch&Cake has various locations throughout the city), I started my Saturday city tour. First, I walked over to and then up “La Rambla”, Barcelona ́s most prominent pedestrian street. It starts by the harbor at the Columbus monument / Port Vell and goes all the way up to Plaça de Catalunya. With thousands of tourists walking by every day this street is super vibrant and the perfect spot to see the fusion of Barcelona tourists with locals during their weekly shopping tour. I especially love the little “kiosk-shops” in the middle of “La Rambla”, where you can buy post cards, newspapers as well as any other random item that can be taken home as a souvenir.
About halfway up "La Rambla", right next to the Barcelona opera house, you find "El Mercado de la Boqueria", the coolest and most antique fresh produce market in the city. The historic market of "La Boqueria" opened in 1840 and is one fo the most prominent tourist landmarks in the city today. Thus, to avoid being run over by thousands of tourists, I recommend you to go as early as possible to explore the market; ideally for breakfast when the market opens its doors at 8am. Especially popular at La Boqueria and my personal recommendation to try, are the fresh fruit juices and fruit bowls they sell at the market. Other things you can find are high-end cheese, fresh meat and fish, tons of sweet and fresh bakery products - basically everything you expect to find at a Spanish street market!
After my little smoothie break at "La Boqueria", I took a left on "La Rambla" into the neighborhood of "El Ravel" and kept strolling down the narrow streets. After hours of exploring, I ended up at "Lulu" - a nice little brunch spot where you're invited to sit outside, under a large umbrella and enjoy your healthy lunch bowl accompanied by a homemade juice. By the way, at Lulu's you're almost by the Barceloneta beach - So, either grab your bathing suit and go for a swim after, or, alternatively, there's always the option to keep exploring.
My Saturday Dinner Spot was Elsa & Fred. A beautiful dinner spot with the perfect veggie-based creations. But don't worry to take your non-vegetarian friend or partner. They also offer non-veggie dishes accompanied by leafy greens! ;) By the way, if you can't make it for dinner there, their breakfast/brunch is also amazing!
To end this beautiful weekend trip as wonderful as it started, I kicked-off the day with an amazing breakfast at Caravelle. It was my first time at this brunch spot and I absolutely loved the food experience. I ordered a French Toast croissant stuffed with a delicious cream filling and berry topping. DELI!
From Caravelle, I headed to “Plaza Catalunya” and then in the direction of “Passeig de Gràcia” the classic Barcelona shopping street (which is even interesting for non-shoppers from an architectural point of view). The first stop I made was at “Casa Battló”, one of Antoni Gaudí ́s masterpiece buildings in the city. If you have a lot of time to line up in the tourist line or manage to book tickets ahead of time, I definitely recommend a tour through the house. The 1877 constructed building is absolutely stunning - inside and out!
From Passeig de Gràcia I kept heading north-east until I reached “La Sagrada Familia”, Barcelona ́s most iconic landmark. Even though I haven't gotten the chance to visit the inside yet myself, you should definitely put the visit on your bucket list. Every time I'm there, I’m impressed again by the creativity of the visionary Antoni Gaudí and his imagination to build such a colorful masterpiece.
After my little break in the small park in front of “La Sagrada Familia”, I started heading back south into the city center. I started to get hungry and decided to try “Flax & Kale”. Even though the place is pretty crowded usually, I love their restaurant concept and the food is amazing. It's actually THE PLACE in Barcelona for a plant-food lovers.
After the super green lunch at Flax & Kale, I headed to my last "Must-Visit Spot" for the weekend - "Parc de la Ciutadella". Parc de la Cuitadella is a beautiful 280.000 square-meter park built in the mid 19th century located right in the of Barcelona. One of the best and most popular photo spots there is the large fountain designed by nobody less than, of course, - Antonio Gaudí! If you visit Barcelona with your family (and have a little bit more time than a weekend in the city), I also recommend a visit in the neighboring Barcelona zoo.
Unfortunately, I headed straight to the airport from there. Below, I will list a few more sightseeing, shopping and food spots, I highly recommend if you get the chance to spend a few more days in the city!
There's so much to see in Barcelona. The following, are a few more of my city favs:
1. Park Güell
Parc Güell another intriguing landmark to visit during a Barcelona stay. The UNESCO World Heritage park on Carmel Hill is composed of many architectonic elements designed by Gaudí and his colleagues Josep Jujol and Joan Rubió. Definitely worth a visit!
2. The Beaches around Barcelona
Of course, the iconic Barcelona beach in Barceloneta can’t be missed during any stay in the city. Yet, if you have a little more time, get a RENFE train ticket and hop on the train at “Estación de Francia” (which, by the way, is a beautiful train station worth an instagram photo). From there, head south west along the coast and exit at any beach location such as Sitges or Vilanova y la Geltrú. There you basically find a beach for yourself, I promise!
3. The Carmel Bunkers
For the perfect view over the city take a hike up to the Bunkers of Carmel. If you bring a bottle of wine and some sandwiches, this place is the perfect spot for a romantic date with a view.
4. Barcelona Olympic Park at Montjuic
The 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona were reason for this major areal built on the Montjuic Hill. Besides watching the “Magic Fountain Show” which is played almost every night at the park during summer time, you can grasp another beautiful view over the city from “Hill Montjuic”.
5. Arc de Triompf
Last but not least, I absolutely love walking through the Barcelona Arc de Triomf on my way to the “Gothic Neighborhood” or the “Ciutadella Park”. I’m not quite sure what fascinates me so much about this arch built for the Barcelona World Fair in 1888. I think its a mix between the beauty of the palm tree- lined avenue and the sporty vibe. You always see people skateboarding, inline skating or riding their bike along this avenue.
There are tons of places to shop in Barcelona. The easiest is to start at “Plaça Catalunya” and either go up into the direction of “Passeig de Gracia” or down to “Avinguda del Portal de l ́Angel”. Depending on your needs, I either recommend you to check out “El Corte Inglés” (similar to Galeria but still the spot where many locals shop) or keep strolling down the street for all the national and international chains. Btw don’t worry about finding a Zara there. I think there are at least 10 stores, all in a 1 km radius.
For every Foodie, Barcelona is a dream city. The Gothic neighborhood, Born and El Ravel alone, have so many unique food spots you won't get tired exploring..Some other recommendations I have from on top of my head are
- Cafe Mennssana: The perfect spot closely the Uni / the beach for a delicious Mexican Chilaquiles breakfast. Location - Carrer de Sardenya, 48, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
- Hammock Juice Station: The perfect place to start the day or take a little afternoon break and sip on a delicious juice during the exhausting Barcelona walking tour.
- Alsur Cafe "El Born": A great Breakfast spot. Location - Plaça de Sant Cugat, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
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