Editor's note: As we continue to practice social distancing, we encourage our readers to check the Center for Disease Control website for up-to-date information on how to safely travel. For now, bookmark this Instagram travel guide for inspo—you're going to love it.
Barcelona is one of Spain’s most iconic cities, known for Gaudí's breathtaking architecture, a booming nightlife scene, and a picturesque beach boardwalk. Whether you fancy fine dining or low-key sangria and tapas, you’ll be able to taste your way through Barcelona’s rich culinary scene served late into the night. Culture lovers could spend weeks exploring museums and architectural marvels by day, and hitting up some of Europe’s hippest nightclubs by night. Surrender yourself to the laidback lifestyle of the Catalonia capital by wandering the gorgeous Barcelona neighborhoods. Not sure where to start? How about these can’t-miss activities, below.
Explore Gaudí Architecture
Barcelona’s most famous landmark is La Sagrada Familia, a yet-to-be-completed masterpiece by Antoni Gaudí. Be wowed by the intricacy of the architecture and the impressive height, supported by double twist columns. If you prefer to appreciate Gaudí's work with fewer crowds, visit the Palau Güell, less well-known, but still impressive. The palace (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) is a fascinating example of Gaudí's brilliance, combining functional innovation with his trademark spectacular design.
Take Time for Tapas
Although tapas originated in the south of Spain, it’s a cuisine that fits in well with the easygoing lifestyle of Barcelona. Down the historical passageway Pasaje de la Paz, you’ll find tapas bar Paz19 by Sensi—a cozy place to enjoy music, cocktails, and share small plates. Order up bites like patatas bravas, saffron mussels, and truffle ravioli for a delicious meal.
Gallery Hop in El Born
The funky neighborhood of El Born is an escape from tourists—and a great place to go gallery hopping, shopping for vintage finds, or just grab a casual dinner. Peruse the Santa Caterina market and eclectic shops as you stroll down the Gothic Quarter's tree-lined Passeig del Born. Historically, this avenue is where jousting matches were held in the Middle Ages. Now, El Born is a relaxed neighborhood that is home to the Picasso Museum and numerous modern art galleries.
Experience Michelin Star Dining
Barcelona boasts incredible chefs who turn food into art, like Artur Martínez, who runs the pristine kitchen at Aürt, which picked up its first Michelin star this year. Martínez and his team cook tableside, serving a maximum of 15 people. Watch the chefs carefully prepare each dish, using tweezers to place microgreens on top of smoked duck. Opt for the wine pairings. (Who knew dry white port went so well with onion royale? Aürt did!) Spend the evening working your way through 16 (!) courses, each meticulously crafted to take you on a culinary journey that you’ll never forget.
Stroll Through Park Güell
Grab a picnic lunch then head to Park Güell and proceed to relax on the grassy lawns and take in the incredible views overlooking the city. While some attractions at the park require a paid ticket, most of the areas at Park Güell are free. Walk up to the main terrace and sit on the sea serpent bench, which creates small enclaves in its curves. Mesmerizing rock pillars hold up multiple levels of walkways to get lost in after your lunch.
Play & Stay in Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is a series of streets lined with trees and filled with lively characters. The pedestrian walkway is bustling with street performers, flower stalls, and streetside cafes. Since the promenade is at the heart of the city, it's a great place to stay while you’re visiting Barcelona. Steps from La Boqueria—the popular open-air market filled with Catalan delicacies—you’ll find Le Meridién Barcelona, a modern hotel with flair. Stay in one of its rooms overlooking Las Ramblas to enjoy the chaos of the promenade while sipping café con leche in your slippers.
People Watch at the Beach
Barcelona's beaches are filled with eateries, sunbathers, and an often-crowded boardwalk set against the deep blue Mediterranean. Grab a spot at one of the many "chiringuitos," which offer seats, music, food, and drinks, and take in the action.
Enjoy Nonstop Nightlife
Barcelona's nightlife is notorious. Make sure to get in a siesta, so you can stay up until the wee hours of the night. Clubs and discos don’t open until about midnight, so start with a late dinner at a hip restaurant like Mr. Porter. In addition to serving mouth-watering steaks and woodfired sides, the restaurant has an extensive seasonal cocktail menu and a DJ who spins house music. The music gets louder as the evening goes on, offering a perfect transition to a nightclub. Not sure where to end the night? La Terrrazza, an open-air club that overlooks the city, is a long-standing favorite.
If you've fallen in love with Barcelona, book a trip here.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.