Good morning! Nate and I are back in Austin after a wonderful 2.5 weeks in Spain. I’m looking forward to sharing some photos with you….but what I really want is for the next couple blog posts to be helpful for those of you who mentioned that you’re going to spain in the near future! If you have any specific questions about what we did, where we ate, etc. please feel free to reach out! Leave a comment below, or email me at ke[email protected] and I’d love to give you more details.
Nate and I picked Spain because it had been on our bucket list for a while! (Italy was also a contender, but I was lucky to be able to go there in March, so we settled on Spain for the honeymoon.) Neither of us had been, and we were both eager to explore the Spanish culture and wine.
Another reason we picked spain was for the food! One of our favorite things to do together is research a restaurant and share new food together, so this trip was very food-heavy! Thus, this blog post is going to be centered around food.
We left Austin, drove to Dallas, and flew out of DFW -> Barcelona. (Have you ever been to cheapdfw.com? AMAZING DEALS! hence flying from there instead of Austin.) We stayed in Barcelona for the first 4 nights of the trip.
Where to Stay: EL BORN
It doesn’t take much time googling “where to stay in Barcelona” to get one resounding answer: El Born district! While it probably is the most crowded and touristy, it’s also the prettiest and most concentrated with great bars and restaurants. We mostly walked everywhere for 5 days because everything we needed was right there.
Our apartment was walking distance to the beach, which was handy when we felt like jumping in the water to cool off. We were also right around the corner from the Picasso Museum and the Gothic Quarter.
This Airbnb in Barcelona was my least favorite of the entire trip. Don’t get me wrong – the location was incredible! But the pictures looked a lot more upscale, and in reality the furniture was very college dorm room-y (think: futon bed with a cheap eggshell mattress, teeny couch with a sheet draped over it, musty pillows.) The bathroom wasn’t pictured on the Airbnb listing, and it was literally the size of an airplane bathroom, plus a shower…haha!
Truth be told, we didn’t spend much time there, since we were so excited about getting out and exploring. And I’m glad we stayed in that location. I just wouldn’t recommend that exact listing if you’re looking to splurge for a nice trip.
Food in Barcelona
Woohoo, the fun part! We ate lots of good food. Thanks to everyone who gave recommendations – we went to a lot of the places you mentioned! We also did our fair share of research on the
World Wide Web, and we asked our airbnb host for suggestions. Here were some of our favorites:
Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Such a cute little bar! Named after the drink it serves (champagne), the bubbles were flowing!! We could hardly finish a little glass before the bartender would reach over the bar and fill ‘er up again. He’d hardly glance down at his hand, somehow knowing exactly when to flick his wrist up and stop the pour.
We went here twice….the tapas were great! Each time, we’d wriggle our way to the bar, grab a couple bites and a few drinks, chow down, pay, and leave.
Carrer de la Mercè, 28, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
This was our first stop after we dropped our suitcases at the Airbnb. It’s tiny (like most of the bars in Barcelona), and they only serve a few snacks. For wine, you get the option of “tinto” or “blanco”, red or white, and the wine is remarkably good for only being about $1.50 a glass. Then we ordered a little plate of “pescaditos,” teeny little fried fish. They’re salty and oily, and you have to pick and suck the meat from around the bones.. Remarkably tasty and satisfying as a pre-dinner snack.
Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
So many of y’all told me to try this place! We got there about 10 minutes after it opened, and it was already packed. I mean, that’s not saying much, because it’s only big enough to hold about 20 people with standing room only, haha!
We eventually worked our way up to the bar and ordered two glasses of wine and some snacks. Friends, I LOVED this place! They have about 30 “sandwiches” on their menu, which are all made open face on crusty little circular rolls of bread.
The bartender right in front of us was making our food at her station, which was about 18 inches wide! In front of here were dozens tiny dishes full of all the ingredients she needed: sea urchin, baked red pepper, truffle honey, yogurt, pate, prawns, caviar…. I ordered a bunch of snacks, but the salmon, yogurt, and truffle honey sandwich was THE BEST. Try to get there before it opens if you want to avoid the long wait!
Carrer de la Princesa, 14, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
We wandered in here late one night (well, late for us….11:00 pm dinner is apparently normal in Spain!). We loved it and ended up going back! The wine list had some good Spanish options on it (as well as wines from other parts of the world), and we ate a delicious seared tuna belly dish that I’m still thinking about!
Carrer de Ginebra, 13, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
We grabbed two seats at the bar, ordered from their unpretentious wine list (you ask for tinto or blanco, and that’s what you get), and had a few tapas “a la plancha.” This was my first time trying razor clams, and for the rest of the trip I was asking Nate, “want to order the razor clams??” at every restaurant.
Passeig d’Isabel II, 14, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Another place that a bunch of you recommended, 7 Portes is a historic restaurant known for their paella. We had to make lunch reservations for this one, and it was definitely one of the more expensive meals we had in Barcelona. (Note: it wasn’t all that expensive, but compared to the cheap tapas we ate everywhere else (around $2-6), this was the priciest.)
I’m glad we went, because neither Nate nor I know enough about paella to be able to pick out the good ones in a city without recommendations, so it was nice to know that a bunch of people have dubbed this an excellent paella place!
The waiter told us the paella is enough for one, so we ordered also ordered fideos. Ummm, both were HUGE! Ha! We finished about half of each and left feeling stuffed!
Psst: if you go here, read about the history of the restaurant on the website! It’s kind of cool!
Carrer de les Caputxes, 10, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Winner of “The Best Chocolate Cake in the World” in 2005, we had to stop in to taste! They sell individual sized mini cakes, so we shared one. HOLY YUM.
Passatge Sert, 12, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
If you’re picky about your coffee and need a decent pour over, Nomad Coffee was easily the best one we had in Barcelona. It’s a tiny shop with just a couple bar stools and standing room…adorable!
Carrer de la Ciutat, 5, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
This is another good option if you care about the quality of your coffee. They had some good breakfast options, air conditioning, wifi, and tables, so we hunkered down for a bit for a lazy morning of eating, reading, journaling, and researching our next step.
Carrer dels Flassaders, 44, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
They make the best croissants I’ve tried in my life… #sorryParis. We stopped in for a morning pastry three different times! The almond filling was Nate’s favorite, and the raspberry was mine. They make their own jam, and it tastes delicious fresh and fruity. Some jam is too sugary and syrupy, but this one was a perfect representation of the actual berry. Ooh, I’m still having dreams about these croissants!
Besides EATING….here’s what we did:
I don’t have anything crazy unique to share with you… Everything we did can be found from a quick search on trip advisor…. But here’s the list:
- Park Guell: The views of the city are breathtaking! We also bought tickets to see the Guadi House Museum, which was well worth the few dollars and 45 minutes it took.
- La Sagrada Familia: I’m not always a fan of visiting churches and cathedrals, but this one was well worth the visit! It’s unlike anything I’ve seen….and knowing that it’s been under construction for 150 years only added to the awe! I wish I had either gotten the audio guide or researched more about it before I visited…Nate and I had so many questions while we were in there!
- The Picasso Museum: I had never seen Picasso’s work before he got to his abstract “Picasso-y” stage the most of us recognize as being Picasso. He has some beautiful pieces of art from his early years (REALLY early – around 12 years old!). I learned a lot about his life in Spain and wish we could have had just a little bit longer here. But when the museum says they’re closing at 7, they really mean it! Haha…at 10 minutes til 7, the security guards shooed everyone out of the museum and wouldn’t budge when we asked to just see one more room in our final 10 minutes!
4 nights was more than enough time for us in Barcelona… In the future, I think we’d just spend 2-3 nights there. Although we both loved our time here, Nate and I agree that Barcelona was our least favorite among the four cities we visited in Spain.
On Wednesday I’ll share our very favorite city from the whole trip… 😉 For now, let me know: is there anything I can expand on that would be helpful for your trip to Spain? I asked plenty of questions to others while planning this trip, and I’m happy to pass along the knowledge, if I can!