I had always dreamed of visiting Barcelona. I imagined eating delicious tapas at a bodega near the ocean while marveling at the Mediterranean Sea, wandering down cobblestone streets lined with beautiful Gaudi architecture, popping into mercados for a glass or two of cava and listening to Spanish guitar at sunset.
After taking a high-speed train from Madrid (why don’t we have trains like this in California?!), we arrived in Barcelona. Wow, my dreams had come true. I fell in love with this beach town full of sun, fun, food and Gaudi.
Planning to explore Barcelona?
Visit the Boqueria. This is an obvious one. As with the San Miguel Mercado in Madrid, you will see tourists. But you will also see locals. Because it is an amazing market! You will see everything from exotic fruits to interesting cuts of meats to Anthony Bourdain-recommended tapas bars.
Held only once a year, La Mercè festival celebrates the end of summer and honors the patron saint. It is one of the largest festivals in Barcelona with about two million festival goers. La Mercè is celebrated through street parades, concerts, art exhibits and food festivals.
Check out the Ciutadella Park for a relaxing afternoon of strolling, napping, rowing the lake and drinking sangria.
Have an authentic absinthe cocktail at Bar Marsella. A beautiful and nearly 200-year-old bar that Hemingway supposedly frequented.
See Gaudi’s beautiful works of art like Park Güell, Casa Batlo and the Sagrada Familia.
Go to the beach. Avoid the beaches with all tourists and check out a beach further from the city-center, like Bogatell.
See Messi play at a Barcelona game and experience the incredible energy from the fans.
This is just the beginning of things that you can do in Barcelona. What are your favorite things to do in the city?