Now there’s a reason Barcelona is called the city of dreams.
You can’t go 5 metres without seeing beautiful buildings, stumbling on street art or some breath-taking views. You could spend days wandering this beautiful city and get lost in the laid back Catalonian way of life. I for one need to know at least something about a city before I visit, places to shop, the coolest places to eat and where to take a break and relax so this is what I’m bringing you for the next couple of posts, where to eat, where to shop and the best places to just soak up the atmosphere of this beautiful city.
Read on for how to stay off the beaten track in Barcelona
Let’s start with where to get lost, or lose yourself. This city is full of the most breathtaking architecture, take a wander through Raval & El Barri Gotic for show stopping architecture (just remember to look up!), all the vintage shops you could ask for and perfect little cafe’s and bars…can you tell I’ve fallen in love yet? There are plenty places to shop/eat/explore here, so many in fact that I spent most of my trip in these two areas! If you want amazing food head to Caravelle for the best brunches and salads or if you want mind-blowing lunch head to Federal cafe, they have two locations but the one in Sant Antoni is the best one in my opinion! You will need all the body fuel for all the vintage shopping.
I have never been anywhere (with the exception of maybe LA) with such an amazing vintage shopping scene…and so many kilo stores! The best thing to do for shopping is head to Raval & El Barri Gotic and wander, there are also loads of independent boutiques so you can mix it up if you are not into full on vintage shopping as it is more of a rummage in most stores, some are curated well but I’d say the majority are more of a jumble sale theme…but thats where you usually find the best bargains! Don’t forget to pay attention to the artwork all around you too, the graffiti scene in Barcelona is huge and there is art everywhere!
Now if there is one tourist thing you MUST do it’s Mont Juic! This place has everything, waterfalls, ruins, a castle, the perfect panoramic views of Barcelona and outside escalators! Yup you heard me, outside escalators. I still can’t get over it, I know it’s lazy not to use the stairs but COME ON! Outside escalators!
To do properly take a couple of hours and prepare to be tired, whilst there may be outside escalators (how many times have I said it now?) there are also lots of stairs and lots of hills. Make sure you take water with you as there are no shops up here and it can get mighty hot. There is so much to see here, get all the way to the top and there is an old fortress, people still practice archery in the grounds! If you walk around it you will be rewarded with views of the city, the docks & you can see miles out into the ocean. Other top tourist places to see are Sagrada Familia, Park Guell & The Santa Maria Del Mar.
You can’t go to Barcelona without visiting the beach, ok well you can but it would be a rubbish trip! In the summer it is full of tourists but where else will you find sand from the Sahara in Spain? Yup this man made beach has sand imported and the rocks placed on the shoreline are to try and stop the sand from washing away, pretty cool huh? The spring is a little more relaxed but remember to take a blanket for a picnic as it can still get a little nippy with that sea breeze.
The walk along the beachfront may be full of chain restaurants but while it may lack in decent places to eat it more than makes up for in atmosphere. The whole area feels like you are walking down a tree-lined boulevard in LA instead of Europe, blue skies all the way! Oh and in the photo of the tree-lined street you can see the statue of Colombus in the distance, did you know that he is pointing the wrong way? No one knows if it was a joke by the artist or Columbus himself trying to ensure no one else found America!
Barcelona has definitely stolen my heart…will it steal yours? I hope you enjoyed my tips on how to stay off the beaten track in Barcelona.