Fortify yourself for the day ahead with breakfast at Caravelle in the El Raval district, west of La Rambla boulevard. It has a roomy and hip warehouse feel but is still cosy and welcoming. The owners take an artisanal approach to everything – the milk comes from a local farm, the tea is organic, the coffee is fair trade and sustainably sourced from Barcelona-based roasters Nomad, and the beer is made on site in Caravelle’s Nano Brewery. In their own words, “We smoke cure bottle brew pickle ferment.”
Carrer Pintor Fortuny, 31, 08001
Just a short walk away, the National Museum of Art of Catalonia could swallow up days of your time, so choose what to see before you arrive at this stunning Vatican-influenced building set on the hill of Montjuïc. There are nearly 300 works of Renaissance and Baroque art, as well as a huge modern art exhibition that comprises sculpture, paintings, drawings, prints, photography and architecture – all with attention paid to social, historic and artistic context. Plus, you can admire sweeping views over the city.
Closed Mondays. Palau Nacional, Parc de Montjuïc, 08038
Barcelona’s many neighbourhoods or “barrios” offer their own distinct charms, and the labyrinthine back alleys of the Gothic Quarter are not to be missed. Switch off roaming and allow yourself to get lost for a while in this beguiling warren of old streets. Wander around long enough and you’ll come across the historic shoe store La Manual Alpargatera. Opened in 1941, this landmark shop still makes and sells high-quality espadrilles, or “alpargatas” in Spanish. These rustic, rope-soled shoes have been around for centuries and make for a great, and useful, souvenir.
Carrer d’Avinyó, 7, 08002
The multi-lingual and warm-natured bartender in the dickie bow and braces can offer you something delectable at the bluntly named “very good bar”, from a selection of classic Catalan dishes and a broad range of regional wines and spirits. The lavish interior – all Art Nouveau carved wood and marble – matches the sartorial leanings of the proprietor. Order the bread with chocolate, olive oil and salt… dangerously good.
Carrer del Carme, 63, 08001
It would be remiss to be in the capital of Catalonia and not visit the fantastical Sagrada Família cathedral, designed by Antoni Gaudí. Located in the Eixample district, work began on this emblematic landmark of Barcelona back in 1882 and it is famously still under construction (due for completion in 2026). The greatly differing exterior façades are worth the visit alone, but the interior is well worth the ticket price and there are options to gain views over the city via stairs or two lifts. Given its World Heritage status, it’s wise to book advance tickets online in order to avoid the lengthy queue.
Open daily. Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013
In the shadow of the iconic Camp Nou football stadium on the corner of a typically quaint Spanish neighbourhood plaza is El Maravillas, a football-themed bar with vintage photos of the beautiful game decorating the walls and even a shrine in the bathroom dedicated to legendary Brazilian player Romário. Why him? “Because he’s a bon vivant… because he’s the guy who did the most with the least effort,” says co-founder Enric Rebordosa.
Plaça de la Concòrdia, 15, 08014
The founders of Bar Muy Buenas and El Maravillas have something of a Midas touch. Enric Rebordosa and Lito Baldovinos are two young entrepreneurs with a gift for finding authentic old haunts in the city and breathing new life into them, reincarnating them as meticulously styled hot spots. As the sun starts to dip, enjoy a masterfully blended aperitif in one of the bars in their growing portfolio – Dr Stravinski is a retro-cool cocktail bar, or head for Paradiso speakeasy, concealed behind Pastrami Bar, the only pastrami sandwich shop in the city. Request entry through the old wooden fridge doors, and a clandestine haven awaits.
To cap off the day, head to the new Edition hotel on the edge of El Born District. The Barcelona chapter of this global chain of lifestyle hotels was developed in collaboration with the former creative director of the Adrià Group and founder of global movement Cooking in Motion, Sebastián Mazzola. As partner chef, Mazzola oversees a culinary operation that is as imaginative as it is impressive. In the depths of the hotel basement enter the Cabaret supper club, where dazzling performers orbit the room while a six-course monochromatic tasting menu is served.The former masterminds of Ibiza’s Manumission have worked with Mazzola to create a Lynchian evening to beguile the senses. Enjoy mushrooms and toffee (sounds strange, tastes amazing) while performers keep you compelled. Cabaret here is an experience like no other in the city.
Avinguda de Francesc Cambó, 14, 08003