It is the city of peaches and and lemons and cafés con leche; of patatas bravas and siesta and cervezas on the plazas; a metropolis big enough to discover new corners every day but small enough to walk everywhere; the city of sea and sun and parks; and a fairy tale stage thanks to Antoni Gaudí. I’ve spent four months in Barcelona and there is so much I miss about the city already!
I love to get inspiration for new cities from other blogs and city magazines and friends. I always wanted to return the favour, and also wanted to remember my favourite places, so I wrote down my own Top 3 list of things to do, see and feel in Barcelona. I hope you like it and that it gives you some ideas for your next trip to this beautiful city!
1. Mescladís, Carrer Carders 35, El Born.
My first café con leche on colourful retro chairs at this outside café.
2. Café Granja Petitbo, Passeig de Sant Joan 82, L’Eixample. (Photo)
Perfect place to work and dream of the world on the wall.
3. Cafè del Teatre, Carrer de Torrijos, 41, Gràcia.
Lively enough to observe the outside world through white-framed windows, and quiet enough to write and read inside.
1. Parc del Laberint d’Horta (Photo)
The buildings remind me of Italy, the trees smell like in my grandparent’s garden, the park is a poet’s dream of the perfect writing place – and to confuse all senses, you can get lost in the labyrinth. Perfect.
2. Montjuïc + Teatre Grec
Take a long stroll at and around this hill by the sea and by the city– there is a beautiful view and picnic spot at the top, lots and lots of gardens and also a secret bar behind the castle.
3. Parc de la Ciutadella
Great resting place next to El Born. Look through the greenhouses’ windows, listen to some music or just take a siesta underneath a palm tree.
1. Bunker del Carmel (Photo)
You can climb the hill with bus V17 from Gràcia and once you are up there, it is all unfolding in front of you: the city, the sea, the sky. At its best in the late afternoon when the sun slowly collects its light together and then disappears behind your back. Take a cerveza.
Just below the castle, there is a field you can sit down and see the roofs of the city as well as the sea and the harbour. Big ships are waiting outside, and so can you wait and enjoy a picnic up there.
If you only go half way up with the old tram Tramvia Blau, you can already get a cup of coffee and a different view on the city: Barcelona looks slim and long from this side.
1. Plaça Virreina, Gràcia
This is a great spot for many things: to watch (or dance) swing and salsa on a sunday, to have breakfast in the morning or to just read a book on one of the benches.
2. Carrer de l’Allada-Vermell, El Born (photo)
It is a street’s name but the street is so wide it feels like a plaza. Sometimes they play music on one of the benches, there is an Impossible Project shop next to cafés and restaurants – simply a very comfortable atmosphere.
3. Plaça del Diamant, Gràcia
My favourite book by a Catalan author is called Plaça del Diamant by Mercè Rodorado, so I was more than happy to live just around the corner. Read the book and have a look at the statue honoring the novel!
This summer, I started Paper Sail and found four very special bookshops in Barcelona. Please follow the links to their Paper Sail portrait to find out more about each of the places:
1. La Central, Carrer de Mallorca 237.
It is impossible to leave this bookshop – there are so many pages, art, langauges, genres and thoughts and words around.
2. Babèlia, Villarroel 27.
Two friends founded a favourite place of books, coffee and languages. A place they’d like and I do, too.
3. Llibreria Calders, Passatge Pere Calders 9. (Photo)
This bookshop combines books and wine and at night add music and readings to the mix. Tastes good, reads well.
4. Pequod Llibres, Carrer de Milà i Fontanals 59.
A destination with the smell of sea, literature, wanderlust and immortal prose. And good old Moby Dick is watching, too.
They have a beautiful collection of necklaces, earrings, some dresses and rings. I couldn’t resist to get myself a green Barcelona ring (photo above).
If you are looking for clothes (dresses!), accessories or just wellness products, they’ve got it all. Natura is a Spanish chain and everything looks good and relaxed. There is usually nice music playing in the background too. Tempting.
Two floors of all things paper: notebooks, writing pads, single sheets of paper, journals, in all colours, all formats. If you are into paper goods as much as I am (when I am not carrying a backpack through countries), go inside.
1. Sant Pol de Mar
A sweet coastal town only one hour by train (with sea-view out of the window) away. It has tasty Paella, a quiet siesta, cactuses on top of the hill next to a church and, of course, a beach.
A nice day trip to get away from the big city and to the beach. Big enough to do some shopping, crazy enough to do people-watching.
There is not only a monastery up there, it is also great for hiking to the top of the mountain where you can see – if the weather is fine – Barcelona and the Pyrenees. (Read my article about Montserrat on Andanza Mag).
1. A Singer of Songs – Oh Barcelona
I listened to it on repeat before I moved to the city. Great Belgium singer-songwriter who’s been living in Barcelona for many years.
2. Roger Mas – El dolor de la bellesa
Sometimes you need to go and watch a movie without understanding the language. I went and saw 10.000 km, understood the emotions and loved the music.
3. Maria Coma – Abismes
I am always looking for a soundtrack of a city and a time – so I went to a concert of four Catalan musicians and she was the first I heard.
Thanks for ideas & inspiration:
I hope you enjoy Barcelona as much as I do, and if you have any more questions or if you have other beautiful place in mind I should visit (as I will most probably be back one day), I’d be happy to hear from you (contact details on About me)!