Barcelona: Spain’s Hippest City
Our Recommendations on What You Shouldn't Miss When Visiting
You cannot travel to Spain without hitting this city. Considered one of the most dynamic metropolitan areas in the Mediterranean, Barcelona showcases astounding art, architecture and coastal views. Only in this beautiful city can you discover the masterful works of Antoni Gaudi, Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso, while indulging in luxurious hotels and world-class gourmet dining.
Where to Get Your Eat On
Trust us…Barcelona’s diverse and delicious dining scene is sure to satisfy even the most finicky eater. Although the local Catalans traditionally eat three-course meals, the southern Spain custom of small plates, or tapas, is still the hottest trend for dining. For the tastiest tapas, you can line up at the long counter of Cal Pep. Sample the salty but savory Iberian Ham and mouth-watering fresh crushed tomatoes and herbs with olive oil over bread. Calamari, clams with ham, cod with spinach and alioli are a few small plate options to try here.
For a high-end culinary experience, you can dine at Basque chef Martín Berasategui’s Lasarte, a Michelin 3-star restaurant that serves up gastronomic creations, including wagyu carpaccio with extract of tarragon, citric risotto with cockles and sea urchins, and lamb shoulder with wild mushrooms and agliata sauce. For fresh succulent seafood, try pricey (but worth it) Rias de Galicia. And Cinc Sentits offers original, delicious, and imaginative tasting menus by Chef Jordi Artal, with premium wine pairings. Looking for traditional Catalan food with a twist? Head to Twin brothers Javier and Sergio Torres’ Dos Cielos located on the 24th floor of the Meliá Barclona Sky for great food and spectacular views of the Mediterranean Sea and the Barcelona skyline.
Crash at These Perfect Pads
Located in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, the exclusive and chic Hotel Neri Relais & Châteaux is set in two historical aristocratic houses; one a medieval palace dating back to the 12th century. Its historic charm has been preserved, which also creates a truly refined ambience for guests. This is prime spot for sightseeing, too. La Boqueria market and the Museu Picasso are just a few blocks away.
For a hotel that’s both modern and luxurious, book a few nights at the W Barcelona, designed by world-renowned architect Ricardo Bofill. The rooms boast the best panoramic views of the Mediterranean. Visit the glamorous Eclipse rooftop bar, rent a private poolside cabana or escape to the Sun Deck, with endless sea and beach views. Located directly on Barcelona’s boardwalk, within walking distance to the most popular attractions, this hotel is the perfect for travelers who crave modern upscale luxury.
Start in Europe’s best preserved Gothic Quarter, Barri Gotic, then head north to the Museu Picasso, showcasing Pablo Picasso’s creations in five grand mansions. Be sure to see the city’s most popular attraction, architect Antoni Gaudi’s forever unfinished La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. For Gaudi’s more playful designs, stop at Parc Guell to rest and enjoy the colorful mosaic benches and gardens. Head north to Costa Brava to the Salvador Dali Museum to get an eyeful of the Surrealist genius’ work, including everything from his earliest pieces to his final paintings. If modern art is more your style, visit the Museum of Contemporary Art.
If art museums really aren’t your thing, then you can spend a few hours in La Boqueria, Europe’s oldest mid-city market, where you can explore dozens of stalls that sell fruits, vegetables, seafood, herbs, spices and more. Burn off those calories from eating at one of the restaurants in the market by taking a stroll down La Rambla – a mile-long promenade chock full of trendy cafes and pulsating bars. This pedestrian walkway stretches from Placa de Catalunya to Port Vell, now known also as Port Olympic since its renovation for the 1992 Olympics. Walk to the other side of the pier to enjoy restaurants that serve same-day catch and shops that supply refreshing ice cream as you gaze out at the magnificent Mediterranean Sea.