Barcelona was my first stop in The Big Trip. I landed in the early afternoon and did my best to fight off the jet lag to start to explore this fun city. Here are my top seven things to do in Barcelona.
1. Mercat Boqueria
Stroll through La Rambla to get to La Boqueria. Once there you’ll find all kinds of fresh produce and treats.
I got there in the late afternoon, and many of the stalls had already started to close. Luckily, Ramblero, near the main La Rambla entrance, was still in action.
Grab a stool at the counter and choose from the ample fresh options. I went with the clams, which were, honestly, the best I’ve ever had in my life. Welcome to Barcelona!
After watching Barcelona win the latest installment of El Clasico at Taverna Barcelona my friend and I weren’t quite ready to call it a night. We took a recommendation from my godsister and made our way over to the El Born neighborhood to check out the speakeasy Paradiso.
Upon arriving at Paradiso it looks like a sandwich shop, but how many sandwich shops have bouncers?
When you’re finally let in what once looked like a pantry opens up to reveal an expansive lair behind the hidden door.
We sat at the bar where we had a front row seat to the show put on by the bartenders. Or should I call them cocktail artists?
We had so much fun watching them create interactive experiences out of their drinks. A mai tai served in a vase, a pisco sour served in a glass bird.
The flashiest was the Hugo Sánchez, served in a green skull and set on fire.
The coolest presentation was the Mediterranean Treasure, served in a small treasure chest inside of which is a shell containing a drink.
Remember the sandwich shop that just served as a front for all the action hidden inside? Well, you can actually order a pastrami sandwich, and it was AMAZING! (I never thought I’d use all caps to describe a sandwich, but here we are.) So make sure to eat up in between rounds of libations.
3. Bike Tours Barcelona
A bike tour of Barcelona seemed like it would be a perfect way to take advantage of great weather and see the sights of the city. My hostel promoted a free bike tour, but when I arrived at the meeting point I was told they decided not to run a tour that day.
Luckily I was able to find Bike Tours Barcelona. Their tours are not free, but I was willing to pay the €23 price knowing the company was not going to flake out.
I met my guide, Marc, outside of the tourist information office at Plaça Sant Jaume, and he led our small group over to the bike shop to start the tour.
Marc is a native of Barcelona and was so knowledgeable. He was able to go beyond giving us lots of information about the history of the city and helped us learn so much about the culture as well.
4. Park Güell
If you want some of the most iconic views of Barcelona head to Park Güell. If you want to experience the famed Gaudí monument section buy your tickets in advance. After taking the city bus to get close to the park and climbing the hill to the entrance I was disappointed to find out that all of the tickets were sold for the day.
I thought I had done all of that work for nothing, but the rest of the Park Güell is free to access. There’s a nice walk through multiple paths leading to panoramic views of the city all the way out to the Mediterranean Sea.
5. Xiringuito Escribà
I continued my quest to eat well in Barcelona. While in Spain I wanted to be sure to have some paella, and in Barcelona my godsister recommended Xiringuito Escribà.
I took line 92 of the city bus from Park Güell all the way down to the beach.
Escribà is a popular place, so I had about a 20-minute wait even in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon.
Once seated I decided to order the seafood paella. When you order paella a 25-minute hourglass is placed on your table to indicate the time by which your order will be ready.
While waiting for my food I enjoyed my position near the paella kitchen to watch multiple servings being prepared.
My dish actually came before the sand ran out. My server gave me a crash course in how to eat my paella, being sure to eat it straight from the pan.
They don’t scrimp on the seafood, and I had tasty morsels in every bite.
6. Sagrada Familia
A visit to Sagrada Familia is one of the quintessential experiences to have in Barcelona. If you like visiting the great churches of Europe you won’t find another one like this.
The whimsical designs give Sagrada Familia lots of personality, and the fact that it’s been under construction for 135 years and its completion could very well evade our lifetime is mind-boggling.
If you go be sure to buy your tickets in advance at which time you’ll be able to select a time to enter. I’d also recommend renting an audioguide to gain a better understanding of what you’re seeing.
7. Camp Nou
Seeing a game at Camp Nou and visiting its museum will help give you a better understanding of the team and the people of Barcelona.
More details about the Camp Nou experience here.
What are your favorite things to do in Barcelona?