At the end of February, my Mum, Sister and I boarded a flight and jetted off in easyJet luxury to Barcelona. As usual I took a million and one snaps (and also nicked a few of my sister’s too) and have put together a little tour to share with you.
We stayed at the Splendom Suites in a fabulous one bed apartment. The apartment was very well equipped with all you need for a short trip, including a stash of Molton Brown goodies, a snazzy coffee machine and a set of my favourite Philippe Starck Ghost Chairs. It was only a short walk (probably less than 10 minutes) to Las Ramblas, and the area around the apartment (Eixample) had some really great bars, restaurants and boutiques. At only £40 per person, per night during low season we felt it was really great value for money even if it could benefit from a quick coat of paint.
We started off on day one heading down Las Ramblas (#3) though with less street performers and pavement cafes than my previous trip, stopping off at Plaça Reial (#1). This is a great square to visit at night as it’s bustling with restaurants. After a brief stroll along the Marina, we walked back into the Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic) to take in the stunning Gothic Catherdral (#2) and meander round a gorgeous (yet very expensive) vintage market selling everything from printing blocks to old typewriters and soda syphons. We stopped off at the rather fabulous La Central del MuhBa Bookshop (Baixada de la Llibreteria, 7/08002) and came home with Circus Laundry Pegs, striped pencils, notebooks, postcards, oh and a book.
Heading out of the Gothic Quarter, across the Via Laietana and into El Born, the tiny narrow streets envelope you and reveal stunning shop windows including this beautiful macaroon display (#4).
There’s no escaping the architect Gaudi when you’re in Barcelona. We caught the number 24 bus from Plaça de Catalunya for 2 euros each and journeyed off to Park Guell. Here we found an array of stone structures, Hansel and Gretal style houses, millions of mosaics and the famous Salamander (#7) all designed by Antoni Gaudi. I imagine Park Guell to be incredible on a gorgeous Summer’s day but if you head there in winter, make sure you wrap up as it can be a bit chilly up on the hillside!
If you only have a short time in Barcelona, I would suggest you definitely make Sagrada Famila top of your must-see list – it will literally take your breath away! (#5 & #6). The unfinished masterpiece is set for completion around 2026 and the cathedral’s construction is funded by the tourist entrance fee.
After all the sightseeing, we definitely worked up an appetite.
#9 - Caelum (Carrer Palla, 8 08002) – In the depths of the Gothic Quarter we stumbled across this little gem of a cafe. An incredible selection of cakes, jazzy music and great service made a mid morning snack extra enjoyable.
#10 (if it was numbered!) - Lexington (Muntaner 108 08036) – In the L’eixample district, this bar was a stone’s throw away from our hotel. Despite the big screens on the back wall, the bar was atmospheric kitted out with dark walls, tolix stools and Eames chairs (I seem to be obsessed with chairs!). Our waiter was very accomodating and we spent a great Friday night over a bottle of wine and tapas.
#11 – L’Antic Bocoi del Gòtic (Baixada Viladecols, 3 08002) – This place is a bit of a pain to find but well worth the trouble as you weave your way through the secret passageways of the Gothic Quarter. The industrial style is very popular in Barcelona, and the stunning Roman wall running through the restaurant is a little more impressive than you average exposed brick wall! We all opted for coques de recapte (a Catalan style pizza) with some really lovely toppings.
#12 – Cafe Kafka (Carrer de la Fusina, 7 08003) – Anything but a cafe, this stunning bar and restaurant is a visual delight. We particularly liked the offer of ‘some Cava to start’ straight after we sat down. It’s not your standard menu with some more unique offerings, however we dined on the set lunch menu with three courses and wine for less than 15 euros.
We were pleasantly surprised by the cost of drinks on this trip, maybe it was because we travelled out of season or due to the economy – one night we managed to get three glasses of white rioja for under five euros!We enjoyed cocktails and nibbles in the fairy light laden Schilling (#13 & 14) (Carrer Ferran, 23, 08002) and Prosecco in the stunning Vermut Mercerino (#15) (Calle dels Lledó 7 08002). The interior of this place was truly stunning (take a look at their website) with salvage industrial style pendants and a the best way to display a menu I have ever seen!
Also on our list but we didn’t get round to visiting was the Dry Martini Speakeasy (Carrer d’Aribau, 162, 08036) – very Madmen style apparently, and the Xixibar (Carrer Rocafort, 19 08015) famed for serving over 131 types of gin!
This was my second visit to Barcelona, the first was during the heat of the summer and the second in the depths of winter. Obviously winter in the city is a lot less chaotic and bustling than in the Summer, but the charm of Catalonia remains and I wouldn’t hesitate to return at the same time of year. Although it would have been nice if we could have had the usual February temperatures of 16 degrees, rather than four!
I hope you’ve enjoyed the tour. A somewhat epic post and a nice departure from the usual interior stuff. I haven’t got any more trips planned for a while so normal service shall resume shortly!
P.S All snaps edited using Instagram (I’m FairlyLight)