Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, is the perfect combination of that laid-back and sip coffee for hours at a café type of attitude with the hustle and bustle of an urban city. This unique gem is located on the north-eastern coast of Spain and is divided into 10 different neighborhoods. Each neighborhood is filled with countless sights, fresh fruit markets, shopping, bustling bars, and quiet streets leading to local treasures not found in your Lonely Planet guidebook. One should not be bored in Barcelona. If one is bored in Barcelona, one is doing something wrong. Here are just 14 of the countless reasons you should visit Barcelona!
1. The Sangria
Should you order a Sangria or a Sangria? Sangria it is. Don’t forget to hydrate with Sangria.
My first brunch experiences and my best brunch experiences goes to you, Barcelona. I’m talking about the most perfect eggs benedict from FireBug and the prettiest food you will ever see from Brunch and Cake By The Sea. Oh and the coolest décor and waffles at Alsur café.
Many shops and restaurants in Barcelona close between the hours of 2:30 and 4:30 for siesta time. AKA a traditional period for down time or naps. AKA genius. Who do we talk to about making siesta time a thing here in the states?
4. Fiesta Time
The night life here is everything you’ve heard and read about, times a million. Expect to get sweaty on jam-packed dance floors with souls from all around the globe. Oh yes, people actually do come from all around the globe to check out the renowned club scene. Take advantage of that siesta time because around the time you are heading home from the clubs in the States, locals and tourist are just beginning the night.
5. The Bars
Take a night off from the clubs and head to El Born where bars are mostly filled with locals. Have yourself an authentic Spanish time surrounded by people who are doing life right. Seriously, bring a notepad to write down a few pointers.
There are no shortage of tapa bars in Barcelona. Good luck finding a street without one. One of my favorites was El Xampayet, a tapas bar in El Born. It’s small, quant, and filled with locals chatting over cava.
7. Patatas Bravas
Potatoes doing what they do best. This popular tapa can be found at most tapa bars and is basically wedge fries with spicy sauce on top. Simple yet life-changing.
No explanation needed.
Futbol (soccer) is a way of life here in Barcelona and FC Barcelona is a religion. Cheer on Messi doing his thing with the locals at the bar or go to Camp Nou-the largest stadium in Europe- and experience an atmosphere so alive and exciting that even if you’re not a fan of the sport, you will still find yourself jumping up from the seat every time they score a goal.
10.The Pastry Shops
The Italians like their gelato and the French like their macaroons and crepes, but you will soon discover the Spanish have a sweet tooth as well. Check out chok for the prettiest and tastiest donuts and cronuts and/or try a Nutella filled cannoli at one of the many cannoli stands.
11.The Art and Architecture
Once again, Barcelona is a very unique mix of Catalan culture, beach life, cosmopolitan city, and modernity. There is so much to appreciate in this city full of Gaudi masterpieces from the Sagrada Familia (the biggest landmark in Barcelona) to Parc Güell, La Pedrera, Casa Batllo and more. Art buffs will be in heaven at the Picasso museum, National Museum of Catalan Art, and the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.
12. The Tradition and Modernism
Before the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona was a completely different city. The Barcelona we know today went through a major redevelopment period that landed this city on the map for tourism, international events, and global marketing. With the urban renaissance came new parks, plazas, promenades, neighborhoods and the port. Despite the modernism, we can still feel the Catalan culture and tradition weaved throughout the city and flying high on every balcony.
13. So Much To Do
The amount of stuff to do in Barcelona is almost overwhelming. From the shopping in Gracia, beaching in Barceloneta, flamingo-ing at the clubs, to hiking at Montjuic and Montserrat. Don’t forget to head to Las Ramblas, the most famous street in Barcelona. Just don’t put your phone in your back pocket! Pickpocketing is at an all-time high here.
14. La Boqueria
It is a crime to go to Barcelona and not go to La Boqueria. This food market is one of the largest, most colorful, and exciting markets in Europe. Walking through the many stalls is an adventure and a challenge. It’s complete mayhem in the best way possible. Grab a freshly squeezed juice from one of the many fruit stalls for a euro. The best euro you will ever spend, might I add. Just remember to be respectful and ask the vendors before you take a photo.
These are just 14 of the reasons why Barcelona is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Many come for the world renowned club scene but it’s important to remember there is so much more to this city. The history, art, acceptance for all, Catalan pride, and the food (ooooh, the food) deserve some recognition too. Tourists have a bad rep here for being disrespectful and obnoxious but don’t let that keep you from coming! Just respect the culture, be considerate, and perhaps even learn a few phrases in Catalan and you will surely fall in love with the city too.