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Things do to in Barcelona – Heart and Groove

City of Broken Dreams

Attractions. The church of Cocktails. Meet Messi. Markets and secret Squares. Beaches. Nightlife and prostitution. Then the food.

BARCELONA: You could never accuse Barcelona of trading on past glories. The Catalan capital is very much self-reinventive. With a dash of Florida, a new chef in town, modern fashion and another design hotel. Or opening a rotating restaurant – or whatever pop up like mushrooms. That said, this city is still one of the most laid-back, leisurely, modest seafront cities in the Mediterranean. We have carefully chosen things to do in Barcelona.

Every day is a beach day - on Malagueta in Barcelona
Every day is a beach day – on Malagueta in Barcelona

Apart from many attractions and sights, it is the lifestyle and quality of life that most people appreciate. Living in Barcelona is inexpensive, friendly people, amazing weather wonderful food. A visitor can add breath-taking architecture, superb cultural attractions, strolling down La Rambla and the sandy beach of La Barceloneta.

Go there – Do that

Barcelona is full of cultures – of rambling Roman walls and medieval grandeur, promenades below palms and quite squares. It´s the place to sit back and appreciate what´s old. Remember, you´re on holiday, so to hell with it – any time is wine time and you need a seat outside. Take a break at La Vinya del Senyor, with wine list as thick as a novel. Order a Rioja and pretend to read your holiday novel. Address: Plaça de Santa Maria.

Cable-car run

There is no better way to catch a bird´s eye view of the city and mountains. The cable-car depart from the Eiffel-like tower of Sant Sebastiá in the old port. The flight swings its way high across the harbour before landing on the heights of Miramar.

La Barceloneta

This is one of the most authentic area, located in the Port Vell district. An old fishing quarter full of magic and history, packed with narrow alleyways, lively bars, stores and seafood restaurants. And then four beaches.

Street restaurants at Placa Reial in summer night. Barcelona, Spain
Street restaurants at Placa Reial in summer night. Barcelona, Spain

Secret squares with cafes

Far from traffic and tourists, you will find the secret squares, with cafes for a quick drink. And some museums with cafes, such as Museu Textil and Picasso Museum.
Sant Iu Square, one of the historic surroundings, is a reminder of the city’s multicultural history. A miniature square with shady orange trees and a fountain. It´s a place for halt on a hot day.

Santa Caterina Market

Almost every Barcelona barrio has its own covered market, and Santa Caterina is one of the best. The original design of the building, as well as its stalls, won’t disappoint. Cuines is the market restaurant with high ceilings. Address: Av. de Francesc Cambó, 16. Mercat de Santa Caterina

La Boqueria is the best-known market thanks to its location on the bustling La Rambla. Hosting a wide range of fresh food, it’s the perfect stop to have a bite to eat while taking in the sites of central Barcelona. Address: Rambla, 91.

Church of classic Cocktails

Javier de las Muelas is the undisputed king of Barcelona´s cocktail bars. Everything is as it should be – from the leather-plush interior and white-coated barmen to the cocktails. This is the church of the classic cocktails, where bar counter is the altar, the barman is the priest, the liturgy is gentle, cocktail the offering and customer the real star. In Javier, the devil is truly in the detail – and the Dry Martini is stirred, not shaken.
Address: Carrer de Santaló, 46.

Javier de las Muelas is the king of Barcelona´s cocktail bars.
Javier de las Muelas is the king of Barcelona´s cocktail bars.

Basílica Sagrada Família

Sagrada Familia stands in the northern part of the city, dominating its surroundings with its 18 spindly towers soaring high above all the other buildings. This amazing monument was designated by Antoni Gaudi in 1883. This Barcelona landmark is still not completed.

La Rambla: Thousands of people walk daily by this popular pedestrian area 1.2 kilometer-long
La Rambla: Thousands of people walk daily by this popular pedestrian area 1.2 kilometer-long

La Rambla hangout

The heart of Barcelona’s social life is found on La Rambla, a wide tree-shaded avenue that divides the Old Town into two parts. La Rambla stretches from the Plaça de Catalunya all the way down to the port. This street features pedestrian sidewalks, lined with shops, restaurants, and outdoor cafés, making it one of the most popular hangouts in the city.

Palau Music Hall in Barcelona
Palau Music Hall in Barcelona

A Music Palace

See it to believe it! Palau Musica is a wonderful music hall designed in 1905. Stunning with its seamless fusion of diverse styles, the beauty of its stained glass and mosaics, and the wealth of details. A highlight of the tour has to be the massive 3000 pipe organ looming high above you. Don’t despair, they’ll do a little performance just to show you how good the acoustics are.

Gigantic Camp Nou stadium in perspective - can seat up to 90,000 Barca-fans
Gigantic Camp Nou stadium in perspective – can seat up to 90,000 Barca-fans

Barca and Messi

This stadium is a must-see for followers of football and attraction for architecture fans. The cathedral of FC Barcelona, with the ever so famous Leonel Messi, has a capacity of 98,787.  Camp Nou is the religion of football and home of Barca Museum, with photos, and multimedia and trophies. Visit the dressing rooms on a guided tour. Address: C. d’Aristides Maillol 12.

Barca Girls: The Spanish Women League match between FC Barcelona Feminine and Rayo Vallecano at the Johan Cruyff Stadium.
Barca Girls: The Spanish Women League match between FC Barcelona Feminine and Rayo Vallecano at the Johan Cruyff Stadium.

On the beach

Pack your beach-bag and say hello to the circus on Barceloneta. The beach is not Bounty-Bar beautiful, but on a warm day it´s fascinating crowded with city life. Expect tattooed men in Speedos, bikini babes, and vendors with beer in cool-bags screaming like sound of a siren.

The people on the Malagueta beach playing volleyball!
The people on the Malagueta beach playing volleyball!

The Day of Love

You should consider to visit Barcelona 23rd April – the Sant Jordi day – or Saint George day. Sant Jordi is the patron saint of Catalonia to celebrate Love and Culture. You will visit a city where all citizens walk around with a smile on their face. This is a day for flowers, books and good vibes.The day men give a deep-red rose to their beloved. The day Barcelonians are totally in love with love, and perfect to get another book.Make sure you are in Barcelona next April, and you´re in luck!

Be there on Sant Jordi Day: The day men give a deep-red rose to their beloved.
Be there on Sant Jordi Day: The day men give a deep-red rose to their beloved.

The magical power

When in La Rambla, make sure you drink from the fountain known to have magical power. According to the legend, drink from Font de Canaletes and you will always love Barcelona and return to the city.

Stay updated – Visit Barcelona Turisme
Spanish Wine; From windy North to Rioja all over

Make it Happen!

Touch Down: The Airport – known as El Prat - has two passenger terminals: Terminal 1: It is the main terminal and is in charge of both domestic and international services of major airlines. Terminal 2 handles low cost carriers flights. Travel to the city centre by bus, metro, train, or 20 minutes by taxi. Tourist information at Terminal 1.

Stay: A hotel with views, a tent in a campsite in the countryside, a city-centre apartment. Barcelona offers a wide range of accommodation. Here are some ideas.

Eat: Typical Catalan dishes are aioli, romesco tomato-based sauce with garlic and Pan tumaca, slice of bread with fresh tomato and olive oil. Butifarra is sausage made of pork. Fuet is dry cured pork sausage with garlic. Samfaina is fried eggplant and zucchini with garlic, onion and tomato. Escudella; stew with spiced mince ball, chick-peas, potatoes, cabbage and other varieties of meat. Calcots; a typical vegetable from Catalonia.

Play: Barcelona is a late-night city and most areas are safe. The best bars are found in the Gothic Quarter, and Port Olimpic best place for clubbing. Try El Born for a more sophisticated slice of nightlife. Especially in the Passeig del Born district. Check out Miramelindo (Passeig del Born 15) where locals descend to make merry with homemade cocktails. Get grooving! Learn Salsa: Barcelona is the city of salsa, the place to learn dancing salsa. Yes, salsa is a partner dance, but you can practice salsa without a partner.

Mini Guide: Park for fun: Tibidabo is an amusement park a short train ride from the centre of Barcelona. Once at the top of the mountain you will have great views, a park for kids, and a big wheel for all. Bad reputation: Barcelona have a bad reputation of thieves and pickpockets. Be careful when walking La Rambla, around tour busses and in the Metro trains. Whatever, Barcelona is safe. In Spain, prostitution is big business and the country has become known as the brothel of Europe. Barcelona has plenty of prostitution – and known as the city of broken dreams. Good reputation: The Gothic Quarter is one reason people visit Barcelona. If you want to explore how locals live their daily life, where they hang out and where they eat, you need to go out of the city center. To visit neighbourhoods such as Sarrià, Poble Sec, Sants and El Clot. Top attractions in Barcelona: Panoramic views from Park Güell. Masterpiece at the Museo Picasso. The Magic Fountain of Montjuic, one of the rare free things, attracts people every evening.

Gudmund Lindbaek
Gudmund Lindbaek
Journalist founded King Goya a few years back. Meeting people, local food and engaging stories are my passion. I plan for ambitious once-in-a-lifetime trips. My delight is the prospect of Future Travels: Longer, Slower, Farther! I just want a tiny slice of adventure to be alive, and then excited to return home.

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