Barcelona is divided into ”barrios” (areas/districts) and each has its own charm, but where is best to stay in Barcelona 2019? Here we’ll guide you to the most attractive areas.
Why you should stay in I’Eixample
In I’Eixample you’re in the center of Barcelona, and if you stay near Placa de Catalunya you’re close to everything, especially the metro lines. Last time we rented an apartment three blocks from Placa de Catalunya, by the metro station Urquinaona – the best area we’ve stayed in so far!
In terms of shopping, you’re in the right place! From Spain’s biggest department store El Corte Ingles to Passeig de Gràcia where all luxury brands are represented. Not to mention that three of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces are located here: Casa Batlló, Casa Milà, and La Sagrada Família.
Why you should stay in El Barri Gòtic
El Barri Gòtic ”the old town” is the heart and origin of Barcelona. Cobblestone streets, picturesque architecture and of course, lots of boutiques, restaurants, and cafés. The area is located east of La Rambla and goes all the way down to the port.
Why you should stay in El Born
El Born and El Barri Gòtic are located next to each other, why they’re a lot alike! Vibrant culture, narrow streets, tapas bars, and unique boutiques – a scenography made for Instagram. Did we also mention the Picasso Museum? A must-see, of course! And if you stay in the south part you’re not far from La Barceloneta and the beach.
Why you should stay in El Raval
El Raval is a controversial but interesting neighborhood, you could say it’s the dark, dirty side of Barcelona 2019 – with lots of personality! And now since they began to ”clean up” the area, El Raval attracts both locals and tourists thanks to its cool restaurants, bars and vintage shops. Why not grab a burger at Llop?
Tapas, flexitarian, hamburger, or an Instagram worthy avocado toast? Whatever your tastebuds desire, you’ll find it at one of these 9 Barcelona restaurants and cafés in 2019.
1. Flax & Kale
If a restaurant could turn a meat lover into a flexitarian, it’s Flax & Kale! You do want to try everything on their menu, so don’t be surprised if you (like us) end up here three times in one week. And, since they have sweet potato ice cream, you can have more than one dessert! I mean, if it has a sweet potato in it, it technically doesn’t count as a dessert, right?
2. El Mercat
At El Mercat, you eat classic tapas with a twist, and you can taste the love they put into each dish – the fried eggplant almost made us go into the kitchen and kiss the chef. Oh and make sure you leave room for their Catalan crème brulée – with a glass of the local whiskey. What’s more? Well you’ll be pleased to hear that the portions and prizes are generous, so both you and your wallet will leave happy!
3. 52 Café
There may have been cafés in every corner and still, we ended up at 52 Café several times. Why not try their Caffe Americano and “Entrepà Iberic”? A ciabatta style bread with Iberian ham that literally melts in your mouth (who needs butter?) Also, the locals seem to like the place as much as we do.
4. Tapa Tapa
If you’re going to eat tapas on La Rambla, do it at Tapa Tapa. Besides their tasty tapas, the service is what impressed us the most. Like when the waiter was heading to our table with the ”coppa” bread, but the manager stops him and sends it back to the kitchen, because ”it wasn’t prepared well” he told us. When a restaurant is that attentive, you know they care about their customers.
4. Oassis Natural Cooking
When you find yourself on Passeig de Gracia but need a break from the touristy Barcelona restaurants, look no further than to Oassis Natural Cooking. Generous and flavorful salads as well as pizzas and burgers – all made with good produce. Not to mention; served in an Instagram friendly environment.
5. La Bodegueta
When your stomach is rumbling after a day’s shopping around Plaça de Catalunya, just remember: La Bodegueta. This tapas bar attracts both locals and tourists who want authentic Spanish tapas without the ”fuzz,” and the interior is what you’d expect: lots of barrels and bottles, old posters, and of course; the fluorescent lighting. Worth a visit!
” Don’t eat yet! I have to take a picture first.” Poor father and husband…But who can blame us when Lulu serves up such an Instagram worthy avocado toast and golden milk. And since you ask: yes, it tastes as good as it is Instagram friendly. Did we mention they only use organic and local produce?
7. El Corte Inglese
Can’t decide on which one of ALL the Barcelona restaurants to go to, because you don’t know what you want to eat? Then take the elevator up to the food court in El Corte Inglese. Pasta, paella, meat, or fish – you name it they have it. And you know what else they have? One of the best views of Barcelona! Shopping, food, views….Sometimes you can have it all.
You know when sightseeing has made you all tired and hungry? Then a burger at Llop is what you need. Do yourself a favor and start off with their nachos and guacamole, then ask for the sweet potato fries with your burger if you fancy them (you will fancy theirs, trust us).
And since you’ve taken more steps than your Fitbit can count during your sightseeing tour, don’t think twice about having their brownie for dessert. Yes, it’s smudgy and served hot.
Barcelona is an exciting city and Antoni Gaudí’s unique architecture remind you of how important it is to think outside the box, why his famous work is a must among the Barcelona attractions! Don’t have time to see them all? Then prioritize these.
Casa Batlló, Casa Milà and Parc Güell
Here’s how you can experience Antoni Gaudì x3 in one day: Start at Placa de Catalunya and then walk on the left side of Passeig de Gràcia; here you’ll pass by Casa Batlló. Continue a bit further up and you have Casa Milà on your right side.
Then take bus 24 from Passeig de Gràcia up to Parc Güell – the beautiful staircase, mosaic, and unique benches will not disappoint you. Furthermore, you get a fantastic view of Barcelona! Why not bring a picnic basket to enjoy in the green park?
La Sagrada Família
Even if churches are not on the top of your list of things to see in Barcelona, you don’t want to miss this. I haven’t been inside the actual cathedral yet, but just observing the architecture and provocative design from the outside is a sight on its own. Not to mention, La Sagrada Família is still a work in progress! The construction started in 1882 and is planned to finish 2026, then it’s a 100 years since Gaudì past.
The Picasso Museum
While you’re out strolling in the Instagram friendly neighborhood El Born, you have the perfect opportunity to visit Museu Picasso. The museum opened its doors for the public in 1963 and consists of five palaces in Catalan Gothic style, originating from the 1300- och 1400 centuries.
Speaking of Instagram friendly….
Even if all the Barcelona attractions are worthy of a place in your feed, I want to encourage you to put down your phone for a moment and take in the city with all your senses….Just sit down at a café and listen to how the city sounds, smells, and tastes….If you do that, I promise you it won’t be long until you come back here.