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Barcelona is a magical city which we love (shocker, I know) but there are a few things that we consider quintessential Barcelona experiences but we didn’t want you to just take our word for it. So, we reached out to some of our favorite Barcelona bloggers, foodies, and businesses to have them tell you the one quintessential Barcelona thing you have to do in the city!
Welcome to our Barcelona Series! Here in this series you will learn everything you need to have a perfect time in Barcelona. We are all about eating, drinking and living local and there is no place we like to do all of that better than Barcelona!
Here is what you can expect from this series:
Quintessential Barcelona – What You Can’t Miss in the Catalan Capital – You’re Here!
What is the one Quintessential Barcelona Thing You Have to Do?
Jessica at Barcelona Blonde
This is definitely not a secret, off the beaten path local secret at all! Though there are plenty of those, the one thing you really have to do in Barcelona is see some of Gaudí’s works.
You could admire the Sagrada Familia, enjoy the city views from Parc Güell, or stroll down Passeig de Gràcia to see the homes he designed for wealthy families of days gone by. There’s lots to choose from!
Even if you don’t like his style – and if you don’t, you’re in good company; George Orwell called the Sagrada Familia “one of the most hideous buildings in the world” – it’s truly like nothing you’ll see anywhere else in the world.
Jessica is a travel writer and translator from England who grew up in California and now lives in Barcelona. Come read all about her aventuras in Spain and beyond on Barcelona Blonde!
Lauren at Devour Tours and Spanish Sabores
Go to a traditional Catalan bodega and drink vermouth! This is called “fer el vermut” in Catalan and refers to the area’s strong aperitif tradition— especially before lunch! Vermouth is a local fortified white wine, that’s infused with each producer’s special blend of herbs, spices, flowers, and fruits. And the local bar sometimes even continues to doctor it, adding their own unique touch! This is also the moment for true Catalan style tapas: local cured meats, cheeses, and olives. There’s no better combination, and after opening your appetite you’ll be ready for a leisurely Catalan lunch!
Devour Barcelona like a local. Explore the sights, learn the history and culture, and taste the best food in town on our walking foodie tours!
And check out Lauren’s personal blog, Spanish Sabores!
The Crew at Food Lover Tour
To wander around the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) is definitely a must-do in Barcelona. With some remaining original buildings from medieval times and even a Roman wall built between the first century BC and the 4th century AD, Barcino (as it was called during the Roman period) has an undeniable historical background that can’t be missed!
Then take a walk down Paseo de Gracia to admire the unequaled Catalan Modernist architecture with representative buildings such as Casa Milà (aka La Pedrera) and Casa Batlló. From Diagonal Avenue to Plaza Cataluña, this busy and wide avenue that looks like a Champs-Elysées little sister also harbors touristy bars and cafeterias, hotels and famous fashion brands such as Cartier, Gucci, Chanel or the new H&M flagship store, just to name a few.
Food Lover Tour is a guided food & wine walking tours company for lovers of good food wishing to explore the local cuisine while having fun and avoiding tourist traps.
Fintan at Wine Cuentista
I would suggest visiting one of the cities fantastic bodegas, grab a barrel, order some cheese, ham, and olives and drink a glass (or a bottle!) of excellent Spanish wine. It is the best way to spend an evening 🙂
Wine: Our beloved, fermented grape juice
Cuentista: Spanish for ‘story-teller’
Wine Cuentista: A website dedicated to exploring and sharing the wonderful world of wine
Ben at Driftwood Journals
For me, the absolute best thing to do in Barcelona is simply to jump on a bike and cruise down to the beach. There are about 200 km of dedicated cycle lanes across the city and it’s very safe and easy to get around. A sandy boardwalk hugs the beach for almost 10 km and offers glorious views over the Mediterranean.
Barceloneta is the most famous city beach and belongs to the Barceloneta neighbourhood, which is famous for being the old fisherman’s quarter. Here you can stop off at historic tapas bars to refuel. Don’t miss La Cova Fumada, Cal Papi, La Bombeta and Jai-Ca Bar for classic Spanish cooking and fresh fish tapas. There are countless places to rent bikes in Barcelona, but for excellent service and great prices, I always recommend the guys at El Ciclo, who also run fun bike tours. Pedal power all the way!
As for Us, We Suggest…
The quintessential Barcelona experience you have to have is to dive head first into Barcelona’s food culture!
Stand outside a tapas bar, with a plate of peixet fregit (little fried fish) in one hand, a glass of cava in the other, and the bottle of cava at your feet. This nightly balancing act outside crowded tapas bars are invigorating and the only way to eat.
Try your luck, drinking out of a traditional porrón while enjoying a plate of esqueixada (salt cod salad). Enjoy “la hora del vermut” while snacking on olives and beautiful white sardines.
The bustling and vibrant food culture of Barcelona heals the soul and gives one hope in humanity. Truly a spiritual experience. Eat and drink or drink and eat, never do these activities separately.
Ashley and Alex are the Authors of “Eat Local in Barcelona: A Guide to Catalan Cuisine” (just in case you didn’t know 😉 )
So now you know the top quintessential Barcelona things you have to do when you visit the city according to the experts! Have you been to Barcelona before? What is the one quintessential Barcelona thing you have to do when you arrive in the city? Let us know in the comments below!
Read On to Read the Rest of the Series!
Quintessential Barcelona – What You Can’t Miss in Barcelona – You’re Here!
Heading to Barcelona soon? Don’t forget to buy travel insurance! Sure you may not use it but its always good to have. We recommend World Nomads which we have been using for years and have always made us feel secure as we travel around the world!
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