WHY YOU SHOULD VISIT BARCELONA?
Whether you want to see the eclectic Art Nouveau art or admire the Sagrada Familia, relax at the beach or hike up to the mountains, or enjoy street tapas or dine at Michelin-starred restaurants, there is a Barcelona for every traveler. Borrowing from the hospitality of its locals, this dynamic city will charm each and every guest that comes to visit.
What to Do & See in Barcelona
With an area of more than 100 square kilometers and thousands of years of history, Barcelona is a treasure trove of art, culture, cuisine, nature, and so much more! Here are some of the best things to do in Barcelona to get you started…
1. The World of Gaudí: Antoni Gaudí’s legacy is permanently intertwined with Barcelona’s history, and many of his works are still standing today. Among his most popular are Casa Milà, Park Güell, and of course, the soon to be completed La Sagrada Família. Travelers who want an exclusive glimpse into the artist’s life are invited to go on our Gaudí tour. A local art expert will accompany you to Gaudí’s masterpieces while explaining the history and significance behind each work. You’ll enjoy a private happy hour, complete with wine and snacks, at a local artist’s studio and have the chance to learn more about the ever-evolving world of art in Barcelona. Please contact us for details.
2. Art Nouveau beyond Gaudí: There is almost no other style of architecture that has influenced Barcelona so much as art nouveau. You can find this eye-catching design all around the city, from the Palau de la Música Catalana (Domènech i Montaner); Casa Amatller (Puig i Cadafalch); Casa Vicens (Gaudi and Serra de Martínez); and many more. Fans of architecture and art can visit the Els Quatre Gats cafe, which was a popular meeting place for famous Modernisme artists in the late 1800s. Explore this seducing architecture style while in Barcelona.
3. Arts and Culture: With almost two dozen public works by Gaudí, a museum that hosts the world’s largest collection of Picasso’s art, and the only city to receive the Gold Medal for Architecture … it’s no wonder why Barcelona is synonymous with art and culture. Explore this city’s artistic heritage by visiting one of the 50+ museums (such as MACBA, Mies Van der Rohe Foundation, Joan Miró Foundation, Antoni Tàpies Museum and Picasso Museum among others) or attend a workshop.
4. Off the beaten path: While the Gothic Quarter and Eixample have their own charms, Barcelona is so much more than its most popular neighborhoods. Go off the beaten path with a visit to the charmingly historical Horta; find a vintage souvenir at the Els Encants outdoor market; or travel through Barcelona’s contemporary cuisine in the Sant Antoni neighborhood. If you are fan of small shops, then head up to Sarrià-Sant Gervasi and you will find super cute fashion boutiques and plenty of stylish outfits for kids, and even for your four-legged best friend.
5. Hiking in Collserola Park: More than 8,000 hectares of nature await at Collserola Park. Known as the largest green space in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, you could spend an entire day marveling at the views. After hiking, go for a traditional Catalan-style barbecue lunch at one of the restaurants around the perimeter of the park – don’t miss calçots with romesco sauce if you’re visiting during their season (November to April)!
6. Montserrat: Touted as one of the most popular day trips from Barcelona, traveling to the peaks of Montserrat is a great way to escape the city. Visit in the morning to beat the crowds and enjoy hiking, visiting the monastery, or try traditional Catalan foods while you’re there. From there head to Sitges, a lovely seaside town, to sample some fresh seafood paella. To round off the day, consider visiting a winery set in the Garraf Natural Park. Although this unique area is part of the DO Penedès, it is trying to get their own DOP recognition given their unique terroir. While there, see one of Gaudí’s lesser-known works at Bodegas Güell, a winery-turned-restaurant.
FOOD & WINE IN BARCELONA
Barcelona’s vibrant culinary scene is a haven for foodies and wine aficionados alike. Dive deep into the heart of Catalonian cuisine with our recommendations:
✧ FOODS NOT TO MISS
- Cap i pota is one of the most famous slow cooking specialties of Catalan culture, using the head and hooves of game meat to create a delicious stew. Gaig, a Michelin-starred restaurant that serves traditional Catalan cuisine, has its own version.
- Did you know that Catalonia grows its own rice? Indeed, you’ll find plenty of succulent rice dishes paired with seafood, meats, or a mix of the two. Although Paella is the most well-known, there are plenty of other delicious variants to try. We recommend Arròs negre (black rice), which is a Catalan specialty that gets its color from squid ink and Arròs Caldoso, a type of rice in broth.
- Cod fish reins king in Catalonia, thanks to its abundant supply in the North Atlantic Ocean and permanent fixture on menus during Lent. Some popular cod dishes include Brandada (salt cod purée very often used to fill the small piquillo red peppers ), Esqueixada (cod salad with onion, olives and extra virgin olive oil), and the traditional Bacallà a la Catalana (cod fillets roasted with pine nuts and raisins).
- What’s a meal without a little dessert? Thankfully, Barcelona shines in the sweets department. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a pot of Crema catalana (similar to crème brûlée), Mel i Mató (sweet cheese drizzled with honey), or Coques (a type of sweet flatbread usually with a crème pâtissière filling).
- There’s no better way to spend a lazy afternoon in Barcelona than to enjoy Vermouth hour. La hora de vermut typically takes place on weekends between 12pm to 2 pm and is an essential social activity that involves catching up with friends and family (drinking some vermouth, a glass of wine or an ice-cold beer).
✧ WINES REGIONS AROUND
Although Barcelona is considered to be a massive metropolis, there are plenty of wine regions within a short drive! We’ve complied a handful of the best wine regions near Barcelona:
- DO Alella – Although Alella is one of the smallest DOs in Spain, it still packs a powerful punch in the wine world. This is also one of the oldest wine regions, as winemaking has been going on since the ancient Roman times.
- DO Penedés – Long considered to be one of the country’s best wine-producing regions, DO Penedés owes its success to the variety of landscapes and microclimates that allow many different grapes to flourish. More than 130 wineries, many of which are small, family-owned ventures, can be found along this region.
- DO Cava – Cava, which is second only to Champagne in total sales of sparkling wine, has become the drink of choice across the world over the last 30 years. The “Cava Capital” is situated in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, less than an hour’s drive from Barcelona. Here, specialized Cava bodegas have been producing this sparkling wine following the same méthode traditionnelle as in Champagne since the end of the 19th century.
- DO Plà de Bages – Named in honor of Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, this region is one of the newest Designation of Origins in Spain. Located in the shadows of the Montserrat mountains, Plà de Bages is characterized by a middle mountain Mediterranean climate that lends itself to grapes of excellent quality. One type to note is the Picapoll, a small white grape variety that gives off fruity aromas and a pale yellow color.
- Corpinnat – One of the newest players in the game, Corpinnat began after a group of prominent producers split with DO Cava to create their own E.U.-recognized sparkling wine association. Corpinnat, which fuses Catalan and Latin words, means “from the heart of the Penedès.”and aims to promote a stricter set of guidelines for creating high-quality cava (versus mass-produced bottles).
In any case, we invite you to check the Spanish Wine Regions here more in depth.
WHERE TO STAY IN BARCELONA?
Top and center left: Hotel Alma Barcelona, Executive Suite and garden | Center right and bottom: Casagrand Luxury Suites
The range of hotels in Barcelona is huge and there is a choice for every personality. For globetrotters in search of immersive experiences, we love Hotel Alma Barcelona. Situated around the corner from Passeig de Gràcia and steps away from Casa Milà, as well as dozens of chic boutiques and bistros, Barcelona is easily within your reach. The rooms are carefully decorated with touches of contemporary minimalism, while the outside garden doubles as a bar and restaurant.
If you prefer the spaciousness and privacy of your own apartment, then Casagrand Luxury Suites is the place to be. This apart-hotel is an urban oasis in the middle of Barcelona’s fast-paced atmosphere, where you can relax with complimentary access to the rooftop terrace, pool, and sauna. Casagrand is perfect for larger groups or families, as they offer one-, four-, and five-bedroom apartments. The building was designed by Gaudí’s contemporary, Enric Sagnier, and is located in one of the most exclusive areas of Barcelona. With luxury touches, contemporary art by Spain’s biggest up-and-coming artists, and friendly concierges, Casagrand is “a place that is even better than home.”
To receive a customized proposal and find the accommodation that better suits your personality, don’t hesitate to reach out.