Travel Guide: Barcelona
Looking to see the best of Barcelona? Love a large, chilled gin and tonic? This is probably the only guide you'll need…
- By Tom Powell -
Fundacio Joan Miró
Art class: Got your Gaudi fix? Good. (If not, try beautiful Park Güell, pictured.) For even more arty vibes and quirky architecture, make the pilgrimage up Montjuic to the Fundacio Joan Miró. If modern art’s not your schtick, the trip is well worth it for top notch hilltop city views – just take the funicular from Para-lel if you don’t like achy legs. fmirobcn.org
Moloka’i SUP Centre
Go paddling: Yep, as well as culture and cuisine, Barcelona has hell of a beach – about time you used it. When you’re bored of the Barri, hit the Barceloneta for serious maxing – and the chillest stand up paddleboarding on the Spanish side of the Med. Because nothing beats seeing the sights from the water.
Group lessons from £27. molokaisupcenter.com
Censored Barcelona Walking Tour
Run riot: Forget standard tours, you won’t be taking in anything quaint and belle here. Instead, ducking through the notorious neighbourhood of el Raval, you’ll be shown the sites of the city’s anarchist revolts and despotic history with a nice sprinkling of street art packed in for good measure.
Free two-hour tour meets at Plaça Catalunya. freewalkingtoursbarcelona.com
Shake your tailfeather: Not content with slapping up the freshest fish in town, this sophisticated eatery tucked between Passeig de Gracia and Diagonal is also home to one of the city’s top cocktail bars. If the hardwood banqueting tables, flaming cocktail garnishes and oyster platters don’t win you over, Barcelona’s most audaciously designed loos probably will. bocagrande.cat
Tapas treats: If you manage to beat the queues to this classic Catalan canteen, you can swing by for salads, tapas and tons of montaditos – that’s tiny slivers of bread topped with prawn skewers, veal sirloin, or whatever else tickles your fancy. Our favourite bites were the squid (andalusian or fritti, we’re not fussy), the cold shell fish salad, and the beers (lots of them). Pop in for a snack and keep on chowing down till you waddle out the door.
Market research: For fresh fish, hanging hams and Barca’s spin on tiger-nut horchata, head to La Boqueria, off La Rambla – even try a cooking course if you fancy yourself as a Spanish chef. Alternatively, if you can’t take the tourist hordes and slippy floors, the quieter Mercat de Santa Caterina offers the same, but with a bonus wavy mosaic roof. Four-hour market tour and cookery class, £60. bcnkitchen.com
High spirits: If we’ve learned one thing in Barcelona, it’s that Catalans love a G&T. Cue Bobby Gin, where you can slurp bowlfuls of them from an immense menu full of fine gins given a Spanish citrus twist. Our favourite comes infused with mandarin, bitter chamomline and agave nectar. And obviously, where the best drinks go, the tapas follows – Iberian pork? Gin and tonic salmon? Sold. bobbygin.com
Kitsch cool: So the Barrio Goticá balances cool, dusty heritage with super-luxe hotels, right? Not always. When you head to Sor Rita – the leopard print, stiletto and, er, nun adorned super-kitsch dive bar that sits on the edge of the Gothic Quarter’s warren-like alleys, you’ll feel like you’re walking right into the set of a Pedro Almodovar film. It’s dissident, raunchy and just a little bit weird. sorritabar.es
Can Cisa/Bar Brutal
Best bottles: It’s hard to pick a single bar from the bustling alleyways and tree-lined boulevards of El Born, but this cool neighbourhood tavern just about takes it. Unpretentious yet refined, Bar Brutal blends classic bodega and wall-stacked wine bar. The wines – all 300 of them – burst from barrels and bottles are stacked all over the shop in organic, biodynamic glory. cancisa.cat
Ryanair flies to Barcelona El Prat from London Stansted from £19.99 one-way, including taxes, see ryanair.com. Access to the city centre is easy – just take the bus to Plaça Catalunya from the airport.
Praktik Bakery, is a great boutique bolthole to explore Barcelona on a budget. Economy doubles start from £75, hotelpraktikbakery.com. For something more luxurious, try Grand Hotel Central on the edge of the Gothic Quarter. Superior doubles start from £280, grandhotelcentral.com