Barcelona is a quintessentially European city, very proud of its architecture and its tapas bars – rightfully so! Around every corner you’ll either find a masterpiece by the famous architect Gaudí or his contemporaries, or a plaza full of excellent restaurants with patrons casually sipping cava and indulging in the city’s great food all day long.
The older folks maintain the city’s laid-back atmosphere, not opening shops until at least 10am and taking generous siesta breaks in the afternoon. The city really lights up in the evenings, though, with restaurants open as late into the night as patrons are willing to stop by.
In the superlative style, here are some of the highlights of my trip:
- Best place to get “one last drink”: Talón Rojo, ask for “Moe” and make sure they give you the Kalashnikov
- Best restaurant known as a Picasso hangout: 4Cats
- Masterpiece decades in the making: Sagrada Família
- Most centrally located Gaudí masterpiece: Casa Batlló, on Passeig de Gràcia
- Best place to take a “Spanish afternoon stroll”: Las Ramblas
- Best neighborhoods to wander for food: El Barri Gòtic and El Born
- Most visually stunning park: Parc Güell
To be honest, I did not have much interest in Spain before I came to Barcelona – but the good food, warm reception, and stunning architectural marvels have really charmed me. Now I understand why it’s such a common desire to wander the streets of a European city for hours on end, and appreciate the laid back lifestyle even more.
Toast some cava (not champagne!) to that.