On a random day in November, during my weekly dreaming session on Kayak I stumbled upon something quite insane: $400 ROUNDTRIPS from New Orleans to lots of cities in Europe. And yes, $400 including taxes and all those BS fees!
So on a whim, my boo & I bought tickets for a romantic getaway to Barcelona.
We then purchased a ticket for a 2 day trip to Rome (depending on the season, a European airline can get you anywhere for less than 100 euros roundtrip!)
#BabesTip – Pack lightly, bring only a carry on and a weekender (or backpack). Trust us.
Barcelona (Barna for short), is my favorite city in the whole wide world (sorry, New Orleans). From the beach, to the Gothic Quarter and everything in between there’s just nothing quite like Barna. The people you meet will fascinate you, the buildings you see will leave you breathless, and of course, Barcelona knows how to party.
#BabesTip – Barcelona’s official language is Catalan, so even if you’re a pro in Spanish you might not understand all the street signs or menus.
Where to Stay
Hotel Colón – Av. de la Catedral, 7, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
On our first 2 days in Barcelona, we stayed in the cutest hotel in the Gothic Quarter. We got a room with a balcony that overlooks the Barcelona Cathedral. It was magical.
The room was surprisingly spacious, the staff was so helpful and polite, plus we were walking distance from all of our favorite spots and neighborhoods. Hotel Colón is not cheap, but also not super unaffordable, especially if you go off-season. But trust us, it’ll be worth every penny once you open that balcony and hear street musicians playing classical music. We felt like we were in a Disney movie 😍
H10 Port Vell – Pas de Sota Muralla, 9, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
We spent our last night in Barcelona in a different area, we both love the beach so we wanted to be closer to Barceloneta for at least one night. H10 Port Vell has a more modern vibe, the rooms are minimalistic and hip. If you’re not going on a romantic getaway and just with the Babes, I’d definitely recommend you stay here for your whole trip!
PS – when you check in they greet you with champagne. #YAS
What to See
Antoni Gaudí was a Catalan architect who became internationally recognized as one of the top exponents of modernism. His best work can be seen all throughout Barcelona (La Sagrada Família, Park Güell, Casa Batlló, La Pedrera, Cascada Fountain at Park de la Ciutadella, etc).
If you wan’t to get a true feel of what Barcelona is, you have to go see at least a couple of these breathtaking buildings. #BabesTip – most of these require you to purchase a ticket and have a reservation at a certain time, skip the lines and pay a cheaper ticket price by buying them online.
Passeig De Gracia
Not only will you find some of Gaudí’s masterpieces on this street, you’ll also find some of the best restaurants and shopping here as well.
Take a stroll down Passeig De Gracia, stop at a few places for tapas and cañas (word for beer in Spain), or shop till you drop. February is a great time for sales in Barcelona, I bought about 10 shirts at Mango and Zara for less than $120.
Aside from being a fabulous city, Barcelona is also a beach town. You’ll find people sunbathing even in the winter! Walk down Passeig Joan De Borbó, sip on some vino and mojitos until you make it down to the beach.
If you’re feeling fancy, go to “El Vela” (that’s what they call the W hotel) for some drinks and fantastic views.
This is my favorite neighborhood in Barcelona. It’s just so damn cute and SO Barcelona. This picturesque neighborhood is home to some of my favorite restaurants and bars, as well as my favorite Basílica. Even if you’re not Catholic, please do yourself a favor and step inside Basïlica Santa María Del Mar.
El Born is a great place to grab dinner and get the party started before you head to one of Barcelona’s many clubs. I’ve listed a few of my favorite spots in the What To Eat section.
The Gothic Quarter is the center of the old city of Barcelona. It stretches from La Rambla to Via Laietana. Check out the Cathedral of Barcelona, one of the most beautiful gothic buildings in the city, head over to La Rambla (more on this below) for sight seeing, and eat some delicious jamón ibérico while you’re at it!
La Rambla is a pedestrian mall that stretches for 1.2 kms and connects Plaça de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. La Rambla is a must-see while in Barcelona, but I wouldn’t recommend you eat there (hello tourist traps!). Do, however go to Mercat La Boquería for some fantastic treats.
Montjuic is a hill in Barcelona that is home to tons of cool attractions. From the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya inside Palau Nacional, to the Magic Fountain and the Olympic Ring built in 1992. There’s tons to see, and it’s also very close to Las Arenas, a mall in Barcelona. You’ll get some fantastic views (and snaps) of the city from Montjuic.
Catch A Soccer Game At Camp Nou
Maybe soccer is not your thing, but in Barcelona you’ll get a chance to see one of the best teams in the whole world (and some of the hottest players ever). Go see a FC Barcelona game while you’re in town, they are always a blast and depending on the game you can snag some pretty good seats for cheap.
Where to Eat
Now let’s get to the good part, where to eat the best noms in this amazing city,
La Boquería – La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
La Boquería is located on La Rambla, it is a large public market in Barcelona and sells some of the freshest fruits, vegetables, fish and foods that you’ll ever see in your life! The colors inside this market are amazing and you’ll want to drink and eat everything you possibly can.
#BabesTip – get a bag of the locally made chocolates and candy. They are to die for. Oh, and bring cash.
El Nacional – Passeig de Gràcia, 24 Bis, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
This is the only restaurant in Barcelona with different areas for you to sample different traditional cuisines around the Iberian Peninsula. The waits might be long at El Nacional, but sip on a few cañas and get ready to eat all of the tapas.
PS – Fun but weird fact, the restrooms at El Nacional are REALLY cool.
Farggi – Plaça de Catalunya, 19, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
Three words: Churros and chocolate.
La Luna – Carrer Abaixadors, 10, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
We stumbled upon La Luna after a 3 hour nap from the jet lag. It was an AMAZING find. La Luna is located inside El Born district. La Luna is a chic and cozy spot to get your drink on and eat fantastic tapas. #BabesTip – Bottles of wine are really cheap here.
La Xampanyería – Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 7, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
La Xampanyería is a Barcelona institution and a MUST do for anyone that visits Barna. This Cava bar is unlike any other, you’ll have to come armed with patience, an empty stomach and cash. La Xampanyería is home to Can Paixano, a locally made Cava – they have some of the cheapest Cava in the city but you have to keep ordering food to be able to keep ordering bottles of Cava.
This place does not have tables and gets crowded very quickly, so try to arrive early. This place is meant for socializing, so don’t be weirded out if people eating next to you start up conversation.
Bonus: Cervecería Catalana – Carrer de Mallorca, 236, 08008 Barcelona, Spain
If you have time, check out Cervecería Catalana. It was one of my favorite spots when I lived in BCN, but there’s always a long wait. This time around it was about 2 hours, so we had to go elsewhere. It’s definitely worth the wait for some of their beer and patatas bravas.
Where to Drink
Like I said before, Barcelona knows how to drink and party. Here’s a few spots to get your drink on.
Lupita – Calle Cremat Gran I Xic 11, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Lupita is a cute spot in El Born with great food and fantastic cocktails. They have live music almost every night and it’s a great spot to start off your night.
PS – If you meet the owner, Guille, tell him Alessandra M sent you!
Mamainé Mojitos – Rec 59 | Born, Passeig de El Born, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Mojitos, dim lighting and loud music. Hit up this spot before heading to the club (no one goes clubbing before 1-2am in Barcelona!).
Foc Barceloneta – Passeig Joan Borbó Comte Barceló, 66, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Foc is a latin food restaurant with fabulous cocktails. It’s the perfect spot to day drink or pregame at night. We tried quite a few of the mojito flavors and they were all fantastic. You also MUST try their nachos.
Carpe Diem Lounge Club – Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, 32, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Ok, it’s 1:30AM and it’s time to partyyyyy. Head over to Villa Olimpica and hit up some of Barcelona’s best clubs. #BabesTip – a lot of these clubs have a dress code so make sure you dress to impress. You might also want to get on a promoter’s list to skip the lines and/or not pay cover. Email me if you want more deets on that.
CDLC is one of my favorite clubs, it has a main dance floor area with tables, and an outside courtyard that faces the beach. Plus their decorations make it really easy to get a good insta 😉
I could go on and on about Barcelona, there’s so much to do here and no matter where you go you’ll have an awesome time. Barcelona was only one part of my European getaway, stay tuned for Part II: Rome.