A little guide to Barcelona
Living in the UK, we are so fortunate that so many incredible cities are just a short flight away, and recently Charlie and I have been making it more of a priority to make the most of this – and enjoy the wonderful destinations that are so accessible. We booked our trip to Barcelona on a bit of a whim, scooping up cheap flights and an Air B&B that looked pretty decent (and had a huge roof terrace for sunbathing!) and we spent the latter half of last week exploring the Spanish city.
I’d not been to Barcelona in over a decade (yup, saying that makes me feel ancient) but I adore Spain, and I used the trip as an excuse to brush up on my Spanish language skills. Our Air B&B sadly was a little disappointing; we hadn’t done enough research and quickly realised that we were quite far away from everything – so my advice would be to ensure your accommodation is fairly central, close to any of the places I’ll mention further in the post! Nevertheless, we unpacked a little, then made our way (an hour walk!!) to Soho House, which we’d been eager to check out after hearing so many positive things from our friends.
It didn’t disappoint. You’re not supposed to take photos in there, so check out their website for imagery, but we headed straight to the roof terrace to enjoy some delicious tapas, iced coffee and rose, before relaxing on the chairs while we let our food sink in! The pool area isn’t the biggest and you have to arrive pretty early to get one of the sun beds by the pool, but you can add your name to a list and if you’re still in the house when one becomes available, they’ll drop you a text and you can take the bed. We decided to explore the nearby areas instead of hanging around for a sun bed, and soon found ourselves on the infamous street; La Rambla.
La Rambla is a popular and busy, tree lined street in the centre of Barcelona, once filled with flower stalls, it’s popularity now means that tourist kiosks and cafes line the beautiful avenue. There are plenty of lovely places to eat, drink or spend the afternoon near La Rambla, including a traditional Tapas bar called Cañete – which I’d highly recommend if you’re looking for delicious, and traditional tapas – we especially loved their croquettes and garlic gambas (prawns) – and the Rosado (rosé) was rather wonderful too! To find all these places, City Mapper worked especially well throughout the city!
A wonderful place to enjoy the afternoon sunshine and escape the bustle and business of La Rambla is Hotel 1898, located at 109 La Rambla, head straight to the 7th floor for their spectacular roof terrace. The pool is for the use of hotel guests only, but anyone is welcome to enjoy the sun cabanas, and enjoy food or just a drink overlooking the city.
Meandering through the side streets off La Rambla is a lovely experience at around 7pm, when the stores open again after the staff have taken their ‘siestas’ and the heat of the day starts to subside. If you want to shop in the flagships and higher end stores, head to Paseig de Gracia, and be sure to pop into the spectacular H&M store, it’s simply beautiful inside, and there’s a healthy cafe called Flax&Kale on the second floor too!
As I often do, I’d used Instagram to research some of the prettiest places to dine and drink while in the city, and somewhere that came highly recommended was Brunch & Cake. With 3 spots across the city, two of which we visited, they serve a fabulous selection of heathy and very photogenic meals, including Oat Pancakes with beautiful berries, and the best Iced Coffee I tried in Barcelona! Below is our breakfast at their ‘Brunch & Cake by the Sea’ location, and the floral snaps were taken at their city centre location.
On our day visiting Barceloneta, we ate at Surf House, a small restaurant with a very boho-vibes covered seating area on the beach boardwalk. Charlie had a burger while I opted for Hoisin Duck Bao Buns, both dishes were scrumptious!
Stripe Beach Cover Up by Pretty Little Thing
A place I’d recommend eating for dinner is El Nacional – with a fantastic location just off the shopping street of Paseig de Gracia, it is like a wonderful food hall, with a Brasserie, Tapaserie, Seafood Restaurant, Champagne and Caviar bar, Ice Creamery and more inside the grand building. Our only small complaint was that you couldn’t order steak smaller than 1kg (which is ginormous) at over €100 – so steak for one person sadly isn’t an option!
My final foodie recommendation is the main Flax & Kale restaurant, and definitely try to get a seat in their upstairs garden! With beautiful views over the church in the nearby Plaza, and a wild garden surrounded by marble tables, it’s a wonderful escape from the busy streets below. With a vegan menu, there’s lots of healthy options to choose from, and a very tasty selection of house wines too! Oh, and the bathrooms are super photogenic for that all important outfit snap too!!
Do you have any more tips for places to visit during a short trip to Barcelona? Let me know below!