Do you have a few days or only a few hours to spend in the capital of Catalonia? We are lifting the veil on ten highly recommended sites that match our tastes: gardens, bars, museums, hotels, boutiques... here is a little black book for truly enjoying the city.
1. Take part in a Gaudí orgy
Visit Casa Milà, Parc Guëll, and above all Casa Batlló, which is without a doubt the most successful work of the brilliant Catalan architect Antonio Gaudí. It is an aquatic anthem with its staircase lined with blue mosaics, its undulating bay windows, and its water droplet arcades. Dalí adored it. And so do we!
2. Enjoy a drink under the shade of a fig tree
Antic Teatre is a place as unimaginable as it is hidden. It is a large beaten earth courtyard wedged between four buildings in the center of the city. Amid rose bushes and fig trees, this is a perfect stop for sipping on a St. Miguel Fresca, the local beer, in a bohemian setting. There are concerts in the evenings.
3. Offer yourself an electric T-shirt
Barcelona is without a doubt the only city in Europe that has a boutique dedicated to the lighted t-shirt. Miguel, originally from Argentina, opened Led the Way two years ago. Now he has 20 models (around 37 €) that work with batteries and that react to sound. It is time to wake up your disco soul!
4. Wander the aisles of la boqueria
This market on La Rambla is an institution in the city. There are stands filled with juices and fresh, multi-colored fruit salads, exceptional hams, and cargolí (snails). Micaela, for whom it is her speciality, recommends cooking them in the Catalonian style. With chicken or rabbit...
5. Make a stop in the city's most kitsch bar
At Sor Rita you will think that you are in a film by the young Almodovar. The ceiling is covered with high heels, the walls are adorned with photos of girls in bikinis and religious chromos, and the stools are covered in leopard print. Run by Jose and Cecilia, Barcelonans can't get enough of its craziness. Cocktails are 6,50€ (and we recommend the strawberry daiquiri!).
6. Go back in time in a herbarium
Incredibly romantic, this herbarium-candy shop has not changed since 1860. Within its pistachio cupcake walls several scenes from the film Perfume (with Dustin Hoffman) were filmed, but more importantly it is where Trinidad continues to sell chamomile, mint, and lavender.
7. Find your sweet tooth
Having first opened in Barcelona in 2004, the young artisan candy shop Papabubble is now in 15 countries! At 28 de la Carrer Ample, the making of confectionaries in front of the public is a true show. Mixing, cutting, flavoring, it is a feast for the eyes that you may enjoy before attacking the real heart of the matter. A jar of 190 g is 6.90 €.
8. Stroll in a green labyrinth
It is without a doubt the least famous garden in Barcelona. And yet! Hidden behind the city's velodrome, Parc del Laberint d'Horta, which was created in the 18th century, is a gem of diverse settings. Over nine hectares, there is a Moorish palace, Asian garden, and of course the green labyrinth that gives its name to the park. Free entry Wednesdays and Sundays, otherwise it is 2.30 €.
9. Get in some fashion and design therapy
Barcelona's Museu del Disseny was inaugurated in 2014. Within its avant-garde architecture, there are 6,000 m2 of exhibitions covering four floors. Our favorites? The first floor is a must with its dedication to Catalonian design from the 1930s to today. And we especially love the third floor that follows five centuries of fashion and notably has an incredible collection of corsets.
10. Sleep in the gothic quarter
Under the shade of the cathedral, two palaces were joined to form the hotel Néri, a member of Relais & Châteaux. Between its walls, some of which date back to the 12th century, the 22 rooms are in contrast to the setting with their contemporary design and muted luxury. Some of them even have mini-terraces equipped with bathtubs!
The Néri has two bars, one on the rooftop where evening jazz concerts are sometimes held and the other on the ground floor that has a terrace that opens out onto the very intimate and delicious Plaça Sant Felip Neri. You can also eat lunch in this incredible setting. Menus range from 24 to 60 €. The staff is young and friendly.