What is it that keeps me coming back to Barcelona? The glorious weather? Si. The off-the-wall architecture? Absolutamente. The laid-back vibe? Si por supuesto. The world-class cuisine? Claro que si!
On my latest visit, I pulled together all of my Barcelona favourites – old and new – for your ease of reference, to help you plan a (minimum) twenty-four hour Barcelona extravaganza…
For Melbourne-quality coffee and brunch (yes, I am totally biased and compare every purveyor of breakfast foods everywhere to the impossibly high standards set by those of my hometown of Melbourne) go no further than Federal in the charming neighbourhood of Sant Antoni. It’s the perfect little bolt-hole in which to recover from the night before and plan your moves for the day ahead.
There is so much to see in Barcelona, from the Miro Foundation, the psychedelic architecture of Gaudi, the Picasso Museum, Parc Guell… The list is endless. However, for something a bit off the tourist-beaten track, consider the Mies Van Der Rohe Pavilion.
The pavilion was designed by Van der Rohe for the 1929 Barcelona International Exhibition. Re-constructed in the 1980s, it is a design and architecture nerd’s dream. It is also fabulously Instagramable. My little tip: the guy selling the tickets is fantastically knowledgable about absolutely every aspect of the pavilion and a font of fascinating facts. Have a chat!
For shopping that ticks every box (from High Street, to unique independent stores, all the way up to luxe specialities) the L’Eixample district has it all. Passeig de Gracia, famous for its landmark Gaudi architecture, runs up the middle of this area, and is home to them all. Once you get up towards Diagonal (the main road that cuts across the city), slope off down the streets to the left. Here, you’ll discover divine little local boutiques such as The Avant – locally-made dreamy womenswear and accessories with a touch of that Catalan bohemia.
All that shopping is thirsty work, so if fancy some refreshment I suggest you head up to the roof bar atop uber-chic boutique Santa Eulalia on Passeig de Gracia for a well-earned glass of cava. Treat yo’ self.
One of my favourite places in Barcelona to have a mooch around is the beach-side neighbourhood of Barceloneta. It’s sunny, beachy, bohemian vibe makes you want to quit your day job, move to Barceloneta and sell coconuts on the beach.
The busy but beautifully charming district of El Born has many a cocktail bar for your drinking pleasure. One of my favourties is Numero Nueve. It’s chilled out, has a decent cocktail menu and cool interior. Salud!
It’s fair to say there is no shortage of amazing restaurants in Barcelona. For something a tiny bit special Cinq Sentits is perfect. It’s USP is its focus on local producers of the freshest ingredients, and its menu which engages all five senses in the most delicious ways.