Like every seafood lover, I had always kept Barcelona on my travel bucket list.
Last November, I finally arranged a one-week trip to Barcelona. I also had the chance to catch up with a friend, who is studying at UAB. So, this post includes recommendations from a local, too.
Let’s move to the highlights from my week in Barcelona and Costa Brava!
View From Park Güell
Designed by Antoni Gaudi, Park Güell deserves its nickname among visitors: the architectural gem of Barcelona. The park was completed in 1914, and it has been in the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1984. Opening times vary according to the season, and the capacity is limited to 400 visitors each 30 minutes. If the weather is nice, it will be particularly hard to get in. But it will be worth your time.
There are many options for transportation from downtown, including bus lines and subway. I preferred the green metro line (L3), and took the escalator on Baixada de la Glòria. You can find detailed information on transportation and tours on Park Güell Website.
The district is definitely one of the best parts of non-touristy Barcelona. It offers a perfect combination of the traditional and the modern urban culture. In El Born, you can find beautiful art galleries and museums including Museu Picasso. Another great gallery located in the district is Fundació Gaspar, which puts emphasis on the exhibitions of contemporary artists. The gallery also has a cafe in the backyard of Palau Cervelló (the building that hosts Fundació Gaspar of Contemporary Art).
When it comes to dining, you have lots of fancy alternatives in El Born. Among them, Casa Delfin is my favourite. I can recommend their seafood paella, and, for drinks, make sure to try the sangria.
Ate My Way Into the Ocean
Restaurants and tapas bars have spreaded all over the city, so I will recommend eating at as many restaurants as you can, until you find the perfect seafood for you.
However, if you are short of time, Tapa Tapa in Maremagnum is good for a casual lunch or dinner, and it has a view of Barcelona Port.
La Rambla lies at the heart of the urban culture of Barcelona, between Placa de Catalunya and Mirador de Colon, the tower monument of Christophe Colomb.
Cinco Jotas (above) is one of the chic restaurants on La Rambla. Their specialty is Jerky (dried meat). The menu is filled with special dishes and original desserts.
Tossa de Mar
Tossa de Mar is an old municipality that lies on Costa Brava, a region on the Catalan coast. It has been hosting plantations since the Neolithic period.
It is a 1,5-hour drive from Barcelona. During my visit, it was off-season, therefore the coastal region was pretty quiet.
The major attraction in the region — The Villa Vella enceinte is a medieval town in Tossa de Mar. Current structure and appearance of the town (below) date back to the 14th century.
La Boqueria Food Market
As one of the best and oldest food markets in Europe, this historic marketplace is a must-see for foodies.
An Essential: Sagrada Familia
The Roman Catholic church, designed by Gaudi, has been in construction since 1882, and it is anticipated to be completed in 2026. The church has three facades: Nativity, Passion, and Glory. Each facade was dedicated to different stages of the prophethood of Jesus; Nativity to the birth, Passion to the suffering, and Glory to the final judgement.
Monjüic castle was brought in its current form in 1770s. The castle has played important role in Catalan history, since it had been used as a prison and ground base during the civil war.
Today, the old military fortress belongs to Barcelona City Council, and it can be accessed by bus and Muntjüic funicular.
If you are heading to Barcelona in summer, don’t forget to take your swimsuits with you. Even if it’s not the beach season, La Barceloneta is a great place for a bike tour. There are several bike rental shops on the streets that lead to the beach.