Trips: November 2014 and December 2016
Below is our Top 5 Things To Do in Barcelona, part of the Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series. These lists are our favorite activities, eats, and drinks from our travels around the world.
1. Morro Fi
I had never been to a Vermuteria before and to be honest, didn’t even know they existed. This bar can hold no more than 10 people so the patrons are spilling out onto the street, small glasses filled with vermouth, ice, an orange slice and an olive in hand. The vermouth is delicious—it tasted like wintery sangria with a hint of spice—cold, refreshing and sweet without being cloying. For just a few euros, the house vermouth is yours.
2. Parc de Montjuic
We climbed the steps on a crisp December morning up to the Parc. We explored the Botanical Gardens and learned about the Mediterranean climate unique to Barcelona and a few other parts of the world (think California, Chile, Australia) then came out of the park to meander down the streets with vistas of the city. It was a beautiful bird’s eye view of the city with less hustle and bustle than the heart of Barcelona—which we also loved.
3. Mercado de La Boqueria
The market overwhelms the senses in the best of ways. The rows were lined with everything I dream of—fresh fruits and fruit juices, overflowing with leafy green vegetables stacked high, legs of jamón hanging from the ceiling, large wheels of cheese snuggled up next to each other. There are classy tapas bars with beautiful seafood selections you can pay a pretty penny for, or you can follow our lead and buy the two euro empañada with the one euro fruit juice and find complete satisfaction.
4. Basilica of the Sagrada Familia
Everyone says La Sagrada Familia is amazing because La Sagrada Familia is amazing (says someone who generally believes if you’ve seen one church you’ve seen many of them). The light streaming through the stained glass is stunning, the design itself distinguishes it from all those other churches, and the story of it’s construction really put my impatient self in check. Don’t leave Barcelona without seeing it.
5. Quimet & Quimet
Amidst the dozens of tapas bars, many of which seem to be trying too hard, is Quimet & Quimet. The walls are lined with wine and booze, some acquiring dust, in this family operated tapas bar. Yes it has tourist clientele, but our tapas were delicious, not fried, and served with laughter and good humor. It was clear they didn’t take themselves too seriously as we asked if they also sold bitters and our server (and we presumed the owner) responded, “Yes you can buy. Everything is for sale. You can even buy my husband”. If it hadn’t been our last night we would have returned again and again.
We have stayed in both the El Born and El Poble Sec neighborhoods and definitely preferred El Poble Sec. It was less touristy, well situated to other attractions in the city, and we could walk out of our place into an abundance of delicious options for imbibing. If you have extra time, take the train an hour north from 10€ to the charming city of Girona. We were here over the Christmas holiday so most things were closed. However, we loved walking around the stone streets and wall that encloses part of the old city. There are also some fantastic coffee shops, bars, and restaurants to enjoy along the small river that runs through town.
Top 5 Things To Do in Barcelona is part of the Just Carrying On – Top 5 Things To Do series, which offers our travel recommendations from around the world.