Where to stay
Barceloneta – to enjoy the coastline of Barcelona. Also to experience the best nightlife at night in one of the many bars and clubs by the sea
Where the locals go
Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) -the medieval historic part of the city and a labyrinth in itself. I did not mind getting lost and exploring. Don’t miss out on following spots: Place del Rei, Placa Nova, Place del Pi and La Seu Cathedral.
Bunkers del Carmel – once a hidden gem exclusively known by locals, now getting the attention of visitors. Yet, so worth experiencing it. To get there was a bit difficult due to a uneven path (involving a bit of climbing). But once at the top you will realise why it is worth it. A 360-degree vista of the whole City and sea. Best enjoyed with a small group of friends and a bucket of fresh Estrella beers. Best time to go has to be sunset or sunrise for some unforgettable FREE moments.
Why not try the Uncensored Barcelona Tour? (18+ only)
Where to eat/drink
Els Quatre Gats – One of Picasso’s first exhibition venues and favourited by many other international artists. Now populated with locals who enjoy an authentic Catalan menu in this unique venue more than 120 years old.
Cerveseria Catalana – for a QUALITY Tapas experience in a non-touristic place. Hence, good value for money. It gets very busy and does not take reservations so it is advisable to go quite early (than normal Spanish people: so before 8pm)
Bar Marsella – The oldest bar in the city and also where Picasso, Dali, Gaudi and Hemingway used to sip their cocktails. It is also known as Absinthe bar due to its dangerous selection of a super-alcoholic drink: the absinthe (45-74% ABV). Travel advice: the area where the bar is located is rather dark and not the safest at night so just be careful.
Enjoy a variety of fish dishes at bar Jai-Ca in the trendy Barceloneta area. Definitely try the cuttlefish, stuffed mussels and the galician octupus. Delicious!
Bar Bitácora – so authentic that it does not even have a website. Generous and mouth watering tapas. Genuinely the best call out for your tapas craving.
TAPAS x WINE
A favourite of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, La Plata specialises in 4 incredible tapas dishes – the same 4 dishes that have been served since it was opened back in 1945. These simple yet refined dishes are accompanied with an exceptional Spanish wines.
Le Cyrano – if you are looking for an authentic local bar, this place is GREAT and wallet-friendly. Here you pay for the size of the glass (3 – 4 EUR for a tall skinny glass) and are given the choice of pouring the amount of alcohol you want. The power is in your hands! (so be sensible, please!). Also they provide FREE popcorn and a shot before you leave.
PortAventura – if you are looking for a day fun activity near Barcelona, then this Theme Park is your call! You can get there by train in 1 hour 20 mins (with the fast train) by booking online (18 EUR return/pp) OR by bus here (2 hour journey approximately for 30 EUR return/pp).
Montserrat – for the more adventurous of you, I recommend a day trip to Montserrat mountains. It involves a bit of hiking and getting cable cars to move from one place to another but the view of these spectacular mountains is incredible. They look so smooth and almost soft due to their odd shape. You might hear more about the Montserrat monastery but your visit would never be completed until you take a walk through the mountains. Find more information for best routes here. My best recommendation to go there is via train (early train to make the most of your day excursion!)
Shoko – a fine restaraunt, a trendy lounge bar and an exclusive club… what else?!?! Oh YES, it is by the beach! One of the best clubs ever been during my Year Abroad experience. Plan your night out and add yourself to their guest list for a FREE or discount entrance here.
Visit the FC Barcelona: a local religion!
Whether you are a football fan or not, tick this from your bucket list as the biggest stadium in Europe and 2nd biggest one in the WORLD. If you are a football fan, I am sure you are already thinking (or have already bought a ticket to watch a match or do a tour!)