As mentioned in my first Barcelona post, I have decided to pass on my Barcelona tips in three parts: my pre-this trip tips; pre-trip tips from others; and then finally a post about what I actually did. This is Barcelona Part 2!
As I have been to Barcelona several times before, I have seen most of the top tourist attractions. For this trip, I was recommended the following, both of which I had already seen:
- The Montjuïc Fountains – the water of the fountains flows, shoots, spurts and changes colour to music. The shows are free and are on Fridays and Saturday nights in winter (Oct-April) and every night Thursday to Sunday in summer. It’s a pleasant way to spend an hour or so on a warm evening.
- Poble Espanyol – a kind of Spanish cultural theme park which recreates Spanish small town life and showcases Spanish architecture. I found it a bit cheesey, but you can easily while away half a day or more and there are restaurants and shops inside. There are also shows (eg flamenco) in the evening in summer.
- Mirablau – panoramic restaurant and cocktail bar in the Tibidabo area.
- Taller de Tapas – on the lower key, leafier Rambla Catalunya (as opposed to Las Ramblas), this was recommended as a great tapas restaurant and particularly good for lunch. For dinner, it was easily able to accommodate our group of 9, but I found the staff a little complacent and the atmosphere a little tourist-y.
- Cerveceria Catalana – also on the Rambla Catalunya is a very famous tapas restaurant which consistently gets good Trip Advisor reviews, despite the queues.
- Arenal – we were recommended this restaurant on the Paseo Marítimo de la Barceloneta – a fantastic location right down on the beach (under the promenade), which is wonderful in good weather. We didn’t get in to Arenal, but tried out one of its neighbours, Agua – check out the review in Part III!
- La Gavina – hitting the lists of celiac-friendly Barcelona restaurants, La Gavina is in a lovely setting overlooking the marina. It is a bit touristy and you pay for the location, but the food is good and the service is slick, catering easily with a large group.
- El Botafumeiro – a traditional seafood restaurant. Our insider local called it ‘pretty posh and generally pretty quiet’ but claimed the locals rave about the food. We didn’t make it there to find out
- Cuines Santa Caterina– apparently it’s often necessary to wait but it doesn’t take very long to get a seat and there is a great selection of wines at the bar.
- Libeliña 2– an authentic Galician restaurant in the Eixample which is not glamourous but is popular with locals at Calle Equador 89.
Drinking and dancing
We were recommended an “aperitivo-crawl” on a weekend night taking in try the following bars in the Barceloneta: Jaica (where one is advised to ask for the home-made vermut), Electric (for Brazilian smoothies & cocktails), Casa Ricardo and El Vaso de Oro. Already late by British standards, the best times to go to these places is around 12.30 – 1am – after that they get very busy.
- Boadas Cocktail bar, 1 Tallers on Las Ramblas is tiny. It was opened when the original owner returned from Havana in 1933.
Tel: 93 318 8826
- Les Enfants Club, 3 Carrer Guardia. Barca’s oldest club plying pop, funk, disco, indie, Spanish hits and no techno. The dress code is laid back dress and the dancers are mainly students and hedonists.
- El Bosc de les Fades - a fairy forest themed bar near the wax museum off the Ramblas. It sounds bizarre and I’m really sorry we didn’t make it there!
I was particularly interested in finding some Latino culture in Barcelona and looked up opportunities for salsa dancing in the city. I found this very helpful blog post. A Barcelona resident friend-of-a-friend supplemented it with the following two venues:
- AGUA DE LUNA – 211 C/Viladomat, metro Hospital Clinic. From 11pm till late
- LA BODEGUITA DE MARISOL - 7 C/Vic, metro Diagonal. Nice Cuban place to have dinner and some mojitos before going dancing in Mojito Club.
These are largely the tips I didn’t manage to test on my recent trip to Barcelona. Have you been to any of these sights, bars, restaurants and clubs? What did you think? Or were you – like us – busy discovering new places to go? What are your Barcelona top tips?
© Lynn Sheppard