I’ve been totally charmed by Barcelona ever since I stepped off the plane at El Prat. OK, that’s an exaggeration, but not by much! Back in 2009, I spent a long weekend in the Catalan capital and knew within hours that it had something special. Now I work and live in my favorite city in the world, and it’s still got its special hold over me. To try and explain just what I find so captivating about the place, here are my top five things to do in Barcelona.
5) Soak in the architecture
This might seem like a boring one to start off on, but Barcelona is packed to the brim with incredibly different architecture styles. Within the same square, you can see bits and pieces left over from the Romans’ stay, the medieval years, and Gothic constructions. That’s not even talking about Gaudi’s whimsical buildings that are on practically every postcard shot of the city. Having grown up in southern California, all this architecture is a real treat for me because it’s so different from what I’m used to (if you’ve ever seen the opening credits of the show Weeds, you know what most of southern California looks like!).
4) Cheer on FC Barcelona
I love it when fútbol season starts up again, as it’s a great way to relax with your friends. Even if you’re not a big soccer fan, watching FC Barcelona play is a ton of fun. My recommended way to enjoy the game is to get together a big group of friends for a pica pica, then find somebody to teach you insults in Catalan for the opposing squad. You’ll learn some extra-colorful ones if they’re playing Real Madrid! Going to the stadium to see the blaugranas in person isn’t bad either (perhaps an understatement).
3) Dance the night away
Barcelona is pretty famous for its parties, and in my experience it’s definitely lived up to its wild reputation. Parties regularly go past 5 a.m., which is quite a change from the 2 a.m. curfew I’m used to! Plus, the city has no shortage of cool places to go drinking, from tiny dive bars in the Raval to chic rooftop terraces to just grabbing a cerveza with friends on the beach. Whatever you choose, it’s great to enjoy the whole night and crawling into bed as the sun rises.
2) Relax at the beach
On my blog I talk a lot about how much I love the summer in Barna, and my hands-down favorite thing to do when the weather is warm is bike down to the beach for an afternoon of sol. A nice float in the gentle Mediterranean waves followed up by a drying-out sesh in the warm sun is lovely. Although some people get frustrated by the crowds at the beach in the summer, I almost always find a chill spot to kick back in. HOWEVER, this only gets the #2 place because it’s definitely a seasonal thing. Sure, you can technically go to the beach in February, but it’s not quite the same!
1) Discover the city’s gorgeous hidden places
OK, this might be biased because it’s my first time living in a big city, but I’m pretty sure Barcelona has abnormally large selection of fun stuff to do. I love being able to walk around the corner in Gracia, my new neighborhood, and find a funky vintage shop or a wacky fusion tapas bar. Even though it’s one of the most-visited cities in the world, there are some great finds that are relatively unscathed by the busloads of tours (not that I have anything against tourists, but it’s nice to find less crowded spots). My latest favorite? A tiny bar tucked away in the Gothic quarter with cheap, tasty food and drinks. The combination of huge melting candles for decoration and a free montadito with a glass of wine is a winning one for me! But don’t take my word for it – go have a wander and find your own Barcelona favorites.
Jessica is a 24 years old England born girl that grew up in California. As written on her blog, she decided to take some adventures in Spain and until now, there she is! Hasta la vista, California, y hola Barcelona!