Life in Barcelona: Favourite Places

Every guide book seems to start with the line ‘with the advantage of hindsight, every trip could be made better, so our goal is to give you the insights that a traveler would have upon passing through a town before’. Unluckily for us, most guidebook authors are older than us, cheaper than us, or more posh than us….it’s difficult to find a good fit. That said, having a month in a place gives you the insight to design your own ‘perfect’ getaway. So, with this in mind, here are a few of our favourite haunts and tips.

Beaches.

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While most tourists stay in around ‘Barceloneta’, our preferred beaches were further north. Still in Barcelona, but far from the majority of tourists. Here, the paella joints and beach cabanas had free tables and the food was more authentic. And the people here actually spoke Spanish…yay!

Restaurants.

Honestly, we tried to eat at home most days because it was a bit expensive to go out and our friends were on more stringent budgets than we were. We’d generally eat at home and then head out. That said…Pinchos are our favourite, so we loved this little place named ????? in the Barrio Born. Their little open-faced sandwiches looked like works of art! Gorgeous and delicious. Perfect!

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That said, we attempted to buy the freshest, nicest ingredients and visited the local specialty stores. Yum! And we even learned to make Paella, Tortilla and other local favourites at a cooking class during our visit. Can’t wait to replicate those back at home in London, adding a bit of variety to our usual weeknight line-up.

Places/Sights

Magic Fountains

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It’s in all the tourist guides, but it’s seriously cool. At an art museum near Placa Espanya, the city has installed fountains which are synchronised to dance and light-up in synch with the music played over loud speakers. While we’re not at all light show experts, we have to say that this is one of the coolest free experiences we’ve encountered during our travels. Both tourists and locals were out to see the show…though, I’m sure, the majority were tourists since it happens for at least 2 hours, twice per week, every day for the entire year… :)

Lunch at Bouqueria Market

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we had a great time propped on bar stools, sipping glasses of Spanish crianzza during a leisurely lunch at Bouqueria market. The pulpo (octopus) was wonderfully fresh and the mushrooms were gourmet. Yum!

Escriba Patisserie

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We always have a favourite cafe. For me, this was a favourite in Barcelona…for two reasons, or should I say locations? :)

First and foremost, we visited this cafe’s location on the Ramblas for the first time ONLY because it features prominently in one of our paintings. Figured we should visit and enjoy the place if it may grace our walls for decades…thankfully, we loved it and had a wonerful time.

Second, the cafe which has been around for over 100 years, has 3 locations. The second was located a 10 minute walk from our flat. Not only was it great for a rainy day coffee, but the waiter is from Argentina and taught us a bit of Spanish…and gave us free chocolates (they are famous for their chocolates for good reason!). The key to my heart… :)

One of their chocolates is filled with a yummy vanilla liquor which congeals when chilled. It’s as if you’re eating an ice cream bonbon coated in cocoa. Heaven!

Art Market at Placa Sant Josep Oriol

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Every Saturday and Sunday, the local artists convene in this plaza to sell their wares. It’s somewhat akin to the art market in Krakow given the quantity and cost of the art on display for sale. we had a great time chatting with the artists [in Spanish] to learn about the locations they painted in the works displayed. We loved it…

Churros con Chocolate

So, we had Churros con Chocolate for the first time a few years ago in a place recommended in Madrid. It supposedly provided the ‘best churro in town’. We were unimpressed and generally concluded that if these were the best, we’d happily abstain.

Upon arriving in Barcelona, we decided to give it another try…and gosh are we thrilled that we did. This little sticky cafe near Placa del Pi (and also the art market) serves Churros con Chocolate fresh and warm….they’re the tiniest bit sweeter than the Madrid version and we loved them so much that we went back for more!!! That’s kind of unheard of on a K&G trip…double-dipping is generally frowned upon :)

Cycling Gran Villa

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We loved the cycle paths along Gran Villa the best…they were lovely and tree-lined.

Bars

Mojitos

Rosa Negro and it’s sister mexican restaurant had the cheapest and most delicious mojitos in town. I had a raspberry mojito…it was heaven!

American Theme

Dow Jones bar…it’s a bit kitch, but a lot of fun. Basically, the drinks menu works like the stock exchange. Popular drinks cost more than cheap ones and the prices change in real-time with each sale. Every hour or so, the market crashes bringing each drink back to average…it’s a great way to spend a couple hours and provides a good ‘jalapeno’ if you’re in the mood.

Basically, it seems that people in Barca eat, drink and be merry…and little more…

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