Barcelona has always been a special place for us. In our 6 years together we have embarked on an annual pilgrimage to the City in peak Summer to attend Sonar festival and fallen in love with all it has to offer. In recent years, totally by accident we ended up staying in El Raval and although it’s somewhat grimy and reported to be one of the more dangerous parts of Barcelona, it’s where we feel the most at home. It has a more residential, edgy feel but is home to some of our favourite bars and restaurants. It’s central location is also a winner!
This year we decided we were going to try and save enough money to travel for two years, starting next June and guess where? Yup, Barcelona! That meant skipping our beloved Sonar for a year but due to a cheeky tax rebate I had some pennies to spare for David’s birthday and so we decided to go for a birthday weekend and check out our AirBnB neighbourhood for our adventure.
From the airport you can buy a ticket for €4.90which takes you on a train to Universitat and from there jump on the L3to Para-lel. The metro is really good value and have previously bought T10 tickets which gives you 10 journeys but our tip is definitely to WALK, WALK, WALK. Barcelona is full of beautiful buildings, independent shops, restaurants, bars, history, greenery and a beautiful beach. All the time you’re underground you’re no doubt missing something stunning! Taxi’s are plentiful and the cities black and yellow taxi’s all take card payments and run on meters with set fares. We also saw a plethora of bikes, electric scooters, electric mopeds and tuk tuk drivers so add these options to a great bus networks it really is super easy to explore!
A couple of years ago we changed our diets to a predominantly plant based one so our restaurant favourites have changed a little. Our go-to’s back in the day would have been Buenos Aires Steakhouse that did the most delicious mixed fajitas, Agust, Rossini (Placa Reial) and pretty much all tapas places! These days, luckily there are so many really good vegetarian and vegan restaurants or options so will name a few:
Theresa Carles– really nice place to go for a superb veggie/vegan meal
Flax & Kale– flexitarian restaurant serving up beautiful veggie/vegan dishes
Biocenter– We didn’t make it here but heard good things
Marmalade/Firefly/Milk– One of our favourite brunch and drinking spots. Their Sangria is superb and food is delish!
Vegetalia – Stopped here for a snack and the Beyond sausage with sauerkraut and mustard was a delight
BarCeloneta– Great Sangria bar by the beach also offering the most insane vegan shrimp and calamari. Be prepared to have your minds blown!
Panorama Bar– Came across this place by accident as David was desperate for the toilet. Turns out they offer some awesome vegan food. The scrambled tofu and spinach on toast was one of the tastiest we have had!
LLOP– Not a veggie place but has some awesome veggie/vegan options. The mushroom croquettes and veggie burger were awesome
MakaMaka– Super cool 70’s burger place right by the beach. Caters for all dietary requirements. Falafel sliders were a stand out and black bean burger is gooooood
Monchito– Brand new all vegan taco eatery in El Gotico and let me tell you, they are dishing up some of the best taco’s we’ve ever had!
As you have probably guessed - most of our city visits consist of aimlessly wandering between food and drink spots. It's a decent way to get around and discover things without getting too thirsty! Here are a few of the places we stumbled across whilst in Barca
Chulapio– Cool little bar that serves the most delicious crepes (not sure if they do vegan one’s however)
BarCeloneta – Sangria bar by the beach. Try the Cinnamon one!
Marmelade– Strong but delicious cocktails and the best god damn Sangria we’ve ever had.
LLOP– The best chilli and mango mojito I’ve had in my life. You must go there just for one of them
Zona D’Ombra– Wine bar offering insanely good wines at insanely cheap prices!!
The Box– Stumbled (literally) across this en route for taco’s and will from now on be an absolute must on our list. Super cool bar offering up hundreds of different flavoured rums. Could spend hours in there trying them all and then struggle to walk home
Flaherty’s– Have visited this Irish bar since day dot. Always go for sports events, always a fab atmosphere and always a must visit whenever we are in Barca. Just off the bottom of La Rambla
Belushi’s– Watched the first England World Cup match here last year and was amazing. Great food, great beer, great atmosphere!
The Gaudi buildings are magnificent. Whether you would consider yourself ‘in to’ architecture or not, these are an absolute must see.
Sagrada Familia is potentially our favourite building in the world. We are by no means religious but this cathedral is a sight to behold both from the inside and out
Whether you’re in the mood for fantasising about owning a mega yacht or fancy a few glasses of something overlooking the water, Port Vell is the perfect place to while away an afternoon.
At the other end of the beach from the towering W hotel you’ll find Port Olympic - lined with beach front restaurants and bars, this is another great spot to stop and watch the world go by.
Relatively small but perfectly formed, the beach in Barcelona is busy all year round. Whether you’re a worshiper of the sun topping up your tan or a gym bunny looking to stay fit at one of the 2 beach gyms, one thing is for sure - you’ll want to end up in the beautiful Barcelona bay.
Steeped in history, the cobbled streets of the gothic quarter are home to some of Barcelona’s best architecture, indie shops, bars and restaurants. You’ll want at least an afternoon to explore.
Montuic Fountains - who doesn’t love a fountain light show? Come on…
Sonar festival Is where it all began for us and still totally has our hearts. Diverse line ups in 2 city locations bathed in sun make this the perfect get away festival if you’re fed up of the Glastonbury mud
Primavera Sound - we haven’t actually been but are hoping to get there next year. The line ups are less electronic and more eclectic but the sun is just as present in early June