Gimme Some Barcelona Travel Guide!

Hey friends!  Ever since we moved to Barcelona, we have been getting tons of questions from you all about our favorite travel recommendations around the city, since it sounds like so many of you (and friends you know) are planning trips this way.  So today, I’m happy to finally present to you our official Gimme Some Oven Travel Guide!

Granted, I feel the need to note up front that Barclay and I are totally not professional tour guides.  We’re just two expats who have completely fallen in love with this city, and love trying new places, and of course, totally love to eat.  In our time here, we have already compiled a surprisingly long list of travel recommendations.  So we are excited to finally share those with you today!

There’s tons of information here, including a running list of all of our favorite places to eat, visit and stay in Barcelona.  Plus, we’ve also created a list of Barcelona-specific pro travel tips for how to navigate the city like a local.  And I’ve created a snazzy Google Map that you can download to keep track of it all (and avoid getting lost while you’re busy grammin’ all of the charming alleyways here).

We promise to keep updating this guide weekly as we continue to discover more places that we love around the city, so stay tuned for more to come.  And please, if you have your own Barcelona travel recommendations to share, we’d love for you to leave them in the comment section below too!  We personally would just love to hear ’em (especially since so many of our best recommendations have come from you).  But more importantly, we would love for this travel guide to be a helpful collective resource for anyone traveling here.

For more travel guides and general travel tips, you can always check out the archives in our Travel section on the blog, and follow along on my personal Instagram.  Alright, without any further ado, here are our favorite Barcelona travel recommendations including:

  • Our Barcelona Travel Tips
  • Barcelona Travel Map
  • Where To Eat
  • What To Do
  • Where To Stay

Barcelona Restaurant Recommendations

We would really encourage you to download our (free!) Gimme Some Barcelona Google Map, which includes all of the recommended places listed below.  It’s a great way to navigate around the city and also be able to pop in somewhere close by when you’re feeling like an impromptu coffee or glass of vermut.

Best Paella In Barcelona | Gimme Some Barcelona Travel Guide

Our favorite paella in Barcelona — the “bomba” paella at Barraca.

Naturally, my favorite subject. ♡  And also the #1 question we’ve received from friends, family and all of you readers coming to Barcelona — where on earth to eat!

There are literally thousands upon thousands of places to eat here in Barcelona, with new great spots popping up literally every week now.  And as someone who tends to plan my vacations — and, let’s be real, everyday life — around food, I really want your mealtimes here in Barcelona to be home runs!  (And since everyone here eats five meals a day here in Barcelona, hey, you have every excuse to squeeze in a few extras.)

So here’s our current list of favorites.  And as you’ll see, they truly are our (Ali and Barclay’s) faves.  We’ve only listed the restaurants and dishes that we have personally tried and recommend, so accordingly, the list is a bit limited…but very personal…and growing by the week.  ;)  That said, if you come to Barcelona, we would LOVE for you to share your specific recommendations in the comments below so that this can be an even broader resource.  We promise to keep updating our recs, and look forward to checking out many of yours as well!

Breakfast / Brunch

As we mentioned in our post about the 5 Meals A Day In Barcelona, most people here in Spain eat the American equivalent of “breakfast” in their homes.  But that said, breakfast and brunch culture is on the rise here (especially thanks to tourism), with more new options popping up each month.  Here are a few of our faves for grabbing an early bite to eat:

Cheap / Portable Lunches

Another thing that’s new here in Barcelona?  Restaurants serving inexpensive lunch food “to-go”.  Locals here are big believers in taking the time to sit down and enjoy a proper lunch (and also, pretty appalled at this idea of takeout).  But if you have a busy travel day on the go, here are some options that even the locals will admit are pretty awesome.  (Some also include a few tables, if you’d like to dine in.)  Bonus? You can also easily eat at each place for about €5.

Mediodía Menus

Mediodía menus (a.k.a. “menus del día”) are one of our favorite tips for eating in Barcelona!  You can read all about them in our post here.  They’re often advertised on signs outside of restaurants.  But feel free to also ask your server at a restaurant if they offer a mediodía menu, and you might be in luck.  They’re a fantastic way to sample some of the best dishes at restaurants around town for a fraction of the price.

Dinner / Tapas

There are literally hundreds of dinner restaurants that we have on our list to try here in Barcelona.  But here are some of our favorites so far (most of which are also open for lunch).  Also, to narrow things down, if you’re craving paella, Barraca is our fave.  Traditional tapasBar Del Pla, Centric or Bormuth.  A break from Spanish food?  San Pedrito or Grasshopper.  👌

Desserts / Sweets

There’s no shortage of dessert options available at every place you might stop in Barcelona for lunch or dinner.  But if you are looking for some extra ways to satisfy that sweet tooth (and also maybe purchase a few sweet souvenirs to bring home), here are a few places that all of our guests have loved!


If you’re a coffee lover, I highly recommend taking a minute to read our post on How To Order Coffee In Barcelona.  Coffee shop culture — plus the actual coffee drinks themselves — is fairly different here than in the States.  And similar to wine and cocktails, we more often end up ordering coffee at restaurants than going to actual coffee shops themselves here.  But that said, we’ve always been huge fans of coffee shops, and more and more of them are popping up here in Barcelona.  So nix Starbucks, and try one of these local faves!

Cocktails / Beer / Wine

Honestly, the drink scene here at tapas restaurants is so strong that we rarely find ourselves going to actual bars.  But that said, when you’re craving a memorable drink, these spots are a few of our faves!

Sagrada Familia | Gimme Some Barcelona Travel Guide

In a city that offers so many great things to do, choosing places to visit isn’t always an easy decision!  But whether you like to see a place through its sights, sounds or flavors, we’ve put together a list of our favorite ways to experience Barcelona.  The two things that we would say that you can’t miss here — visiting La Sagrada Familia (trust us, it’s not like any cathedral you’ve ever seen!) and taking a food tour (always our favorite way to get to know a new city).

Museums / Cathedrals / Top Sights

Our Favorite Parks

Live Music Venues

More Fun Stuff To Do

Day Trips

Recommended Guides / Tours

A Few Of Ali’s Favorite Places To Shop

  • Be (fun gift shop, multiple locations)
  • Biscuit (favorite boutique)
  • Charly Therapy (cute and fun sunglasses)
  • Hema (gifts, home goods)
  • La Nostra Ciutat (art, apparel, gifts, all made in Barcelona)
  • Natura (apparel, home goods, gifts)
  • Oysho (yoga apparel, leisureware and more)
  • Boutique-ing around El Born or Gràcia.  There are so many great local shops in these neighborhoods!

Alma Hotel Barcelona Spain

We still have yet to do much research on where to stay in Barcelona, but we promise to report back with some updates on great places to stay soon!  A few great places we have stayed and loved so far include:

Also, for more boutique/luxury hotels, we recommend looking here.  For discount hotels, check out this list.  For hostels, we recommend looking here.

Best Cocktails In Barcelona | Gimme Some Barcelona Travel Guide

Questions?  Requests?  Recommendations to share?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!  

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56 comments on “Gimme Some Barcelona Travel Guide!”

  1. Yay! We’re coming to Barcelona this July, and I was hoping you would post some recommendations sometime soon. Thank you for this comprehensive list!

    Have you visited any vineyards yet near Barcelona?

    • My daughter and I took this day wine tour . The 3 vineyards on the tour were fantastic.

  2. What an amazing list! Thanks for putting this together for us.

  3. This guide is AMAZING! I visited Barcelona back in college (15 yrs ago) and have been itching to go back ever since. These recs may have just bumped the city back to the top of our list. Everything looks so delicious. I bet you guys are having the time of your lives!

  4. SO excited about this guide! Going to be in Barcelona staying in Barceloneta for 2 months w my fiance (we’ve been traveling around the world for the last 6 yrs) and normally I do alllll of our travel research and planning and I’m so happy to see it’s all been done for me by you guys! YAY! : ))) So many amazing spots I cannot wait to check out!

  5. This makes me want to come back! We were in Barcelona last year and loved this little tapas place in El Born – El Xampanyet. It’s noisy and chaotic in a good way, the house cava is delicious and the tapas were the best we had!

  6. If you are craving a good burger, head to OVAL, close to the University of Barcelona. It’s a build-your-own-burger kind of place with high quality ingredients. I also wanted to recommend El Comidista blog, El Pais newspaper food blog. You will find recipes, the history of some famous Spanish dishes and restaurant reviews, mainly from Barcelona, as most of the staff lives there. I hope you enjoy Barcelona and if you come to Madrid, I’d be glad to give you some recs!

  7. Thank you for doing this! My partner and I will be there in late June for a too short two days before we train north to a family wedding in France. We’re going to stay in the El Born neighborhood so I’m basically just going to plan to look at all of your recs for food and drink! Woohoo! If we see you and I say hello, please know I’m a friendly, not creepy, blog fan. LOL.

    And now to make your crockpot beef ragu on a rainy Sunday!

  8. I love seeing so many of the places that we loved on your list! 💕💕💕 Our favorite eats while we were there visiting last fall included Bar Del Pla, El Nacional, Can Paixano, and La Paradeta. We also loved FireBug for brunch!

  9. Too bad you two haven’t had time to go out and have some fun since you got there?! WOW. This was worth the wait. What a comprehensive guide, and so thoughtfully and beautifully prepared. Can’t wait to check it out this summer.

  10. Any recommendations for gyms tourists can use?

  11. We loved Boca Chica and El Nacional!

  12. This guide has been an enormous help planning our trip to Barcelona this coming month. Thank you!!! We can’t wait to try out your recommendations!

  13. We used your guide in Barcelona this past week and loved so many of your recommendations!!! Bar Mendizabal and Tantarantana were two of our favorite meals. Thank you so much, Ali! It’s easy to see why you guys love it there!

  14. Hi! I love reading your blog about Barcelona and all the amazing food. I lived there for a summer a few years ago and it was incredible, I still miss it everyday. I have a couple of my favorite places I wanted to tell you about. My favorite brunch place is Caravelle Cafe, its off the ramblas towards El raval, but the food and the coffee are amazing! Also the Rambla del Raval has some super cute cafes, and a kind of crafts market on the weekend when I used to go visit. My favorite rooftop bar is definitely at Hotel 360, you can go up without being a guest, and the view is amazing. It’s the whole city and you can walk around with a gin tonic in hand and just enjoy the view. My other two favorite bars are little getaways from the cramped city. One is El Jardin, which is off Carrer L-Hospital also towards el raval, its just in this beautiful corner of an old church that has gardens where you can sit and enjoy a summer day. The last bar that I love, a local showed me, called L’antic Theater. It is right by the Palau de Musica Catalana. It is literally an open air bar with a giant tree and lights all around. Such a great place to grab a beer in the city center. Hope you have time to explore some of my favorite spots.


  15. Hola! I’m a fan of the blog and headed to Barcelona in a few weeks (last minute, just now planning) our way to Naples (and then coming back to Madrid). I am looking at your travel guide recommendations and wondering if there is a way for me to print it? I can’t seem to figure it out!

    Also wondering what area you suggest at for staying that is closest to most of the things and transportation we would want to see in a short, 3 day visit? Plan to do Montserrat one day (Whole day? Or combined with a visit to the Winery Ollas?) and possibly some kind of food/wine tour, and a performance at the Palau. So excited to visit!! Thanks!

    • So glad you’re coming! And sorry, we don’t have a great print feature yet for this page, but you’re welcome to highlight the parts you’d like and then print just those.

      As for a good neighborhood to stay, we highly recommend El Born, which would be closest to most things. Or the Gothic, which is also close but considerably louder and more touristy. You probably need to only allot a half day for Montserrat (try to time it when the boys choir is singing!), but it’s a great destination to combine with a food/wine tour. And the Palau is terrific — just book tickets in advance, since the tend to sell out quickly. Enjoy!!

  16. Thank you so much for this! We just spent four days in Barcelona at the end of our European vacation, and planned all of our itinerary around your recommendations and had SUCH an amazing time! The paella at Barraca was our favorite meal. But I have to admit… Aire Barcelona may have been my favorite 90 minutes of the whole trip. 😊 We hope to come back and visit again sometime soon!

  17. We were in Barcelona for 2 days a couple weeks ago (before we left on our Mediterranean cruise). Thanks for your travel tips. My husband and I read them to prepare for our trip.
    We did the Barcelona City Tour (hop on/hop off bus tour) – which we would highly recommend for a great overview of the city.
    Also wanted to tell you that we are from Omaha. I read your review of your Omaha weekend and have not eaten at a lot of the restaurants you reviewed. Can’t wait to try them.

  18. All of your amazing posts have inspired me to take a trip to Barcelona this fall! Just purchased my tickets and can’t wait! 😃

  19. Just got back from a week in Barcelona with my 25 year old daughter! Thanks for the map and tips! We had dinner one night at the San Pedrito bar and Orlando the bartender was great! Makes fantastic mojitos and margaritas. A couple of recommendations we got from tour guides that we really enjoyed were Un’Altra Storia which is a mother/son Italian restaurant. We had the suggested dinner and it was wonderful! Another spot was SportsBar (pizza makers from Naples) which is close to Sagrada Familia. Great lunch spot after visiting the Cathedral. Finally we did a cooking class at La Foodieteca. So fun! Thanks for all the information you provided!

  20. We just got back home to CA from a trip to Paris and Barcelona. Thank you so much for your advice, need to know knowledge and recommendations!! The Aire Barcelona baths are, as you said, 1 million % worth it! We were in an AirBnB apartment right across the street from La Sagrada Familia-so amazing! We purchased a 3 day pass for the metro and were able to find our way around easily. We also did a food tour and a free walking tour-well worth it! Thank you, Ali for your inspiration!!

  21. Loved looking through your list and am excited to visit one day!

    My question is on expat life (and excuse me if this has already been covered somewhere in your blog– I am a first time reader and haven’t looked through other posts yes).

    Do you have any blog posts that dive into your life/experiences as an expat? My partner and I are considering expat life in Portugal and have began the research process. There is a lot to think about, but my main concern at the moment is getting a visa and/or residency. I’m sure Spain has a different process than Portugal and I’m not sure if you came from somewhere in the EU or States or somewhere else. Do you have any advice on expat life– specifically residency?

    Thanks in advance and if this is too much to get into, don’t stress about responding!

    Be Well,

  22. This was unbelievably helpful on our vacation to Barcelona this month. Thanks for all of the work you put into everything! We loved our time there! 💯

  23. Hey Ali,

    Thank you so much for this guide! I went to Barcelona a few weeks ago and hit up so many of the spots on your list! All were delicious and so cute. Definitely my favorite food stop on my three week trip!

  24. Hi Ali,
    Coming to Barcelona at the end of the month; I’m wondering if you know of a good spot for an afternoon snack near Parc Guell on Sunday. It’s hard to find places that are open on Sundays! Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Truly! That’s a good question. We’ve usually done our snacking oustide of that neighborhood, but a well-reviewed option could be Guelly Sandwichpark. It’s short on seating, but it does say that it’s open on Sundays. Plus, it’s a good excuse to carry your snack with you on your way to or from the Park. Have a wonderful time in Barcelona – I hope our guide helps!

  25. Hola! We just returned from 6 months in Barcelona and had the most wonderful time! Going back again next year and hopefully permanently sometime soon. I was surprised that Teoric in the Eixample district was not listed as a restaurant favorite. I know there are over 8000 restaurants but honestly this one is truly a standout. Delish and innovative tapas and super nice folks. Check them out and tell Teo that Patty and Todd said hola!

    • Hello Patty! Ali and I are excited about this one. We’ve never been, but it’s at the top of our list now, thanks to your suggestion! We’ll keep our eye out for Teo :)

  26. Hello, would you recommend renting a car in Spain or is it easier/more cost effective to use public transportation?

    • Hi Neliya! It really depends how much traveling you’d like to do while you’re here. If you’re mainly going to spend time in Barcelona, or a few other big cities, we tend to love going carless. Barcelona and Madrid both have great public transportation and their metro and bus systems are quite affordable. That said, if you want to see some of Spain’s charming smaller towns and places of interest, a car will be nearly essential and would save you a lot of time getting from place to place.

  27. Thank you so much for this travel guide! It’s wonderful and very helpful. Might I ask your favorites among the budget-friendly restaurants that serve dinner? We’ll be in Barcelona with 5 teenagers this December, so we’re trying to find places that won’t drain our budget. We’re definitely not looking for fast food or fluorescent lights — a nice sit-down meal is important to us. I’m just a bit overwhelmed by all the choices!
    Many Thanks!

    • Hello Temple! Thanks for reaching out. You’re right…it’s pretty overwhelming. Generally, tapas are a really fun way to eat, and Bar del Pla in El Born is one of our favorites. It’s a casual, fun environment. Depending on how picky your eaters are, patatas bravas are usually a good bet. Not too expensive, and pretty filling fried potatoes. To keep costs down, you can always order a few and see how everyone’s doing. We often end up needing less food than we thought.
      One quick note: paella is also popular here, but decent paella is sneakily expensive. Usually €15-€20 per person, which can add up quickly.
      I hope this helps!

  28. This is so great, thank you! For an unlocked iPhone, do you recommend picking up a SIM card there or ordering one online (any particular brand/company?) thank you!

    • Hello Janelle! Thanks for reaching out. We’d recommend just picking up a SIM card once you arrive. If you want to make sure you’re connected the whole time, you can pick up a SIM card at the Crystal Media Shop in Terminal 1 of Barcelona’s main airport, El Prat. Otherwise, you can go to nearly any mobile shop in the city. Three of the main mobile companies are Vodafone, Orange and Movistar. It’s really nice to have someone walk you through the process so you know you’re connected when you walk out of the store. Have a wonderful trip!

  29. Thank you for all your recommendations, they were so helpful when visiting Barcelona this week. We ate at a really nice tapas bar called Elisabets (Carrer d’elisabets 2) in El Raval. Delicious food, low prices, not touristy at all, I can only recommend it! Also, I loved all the little alleys in El Born, so pretty!

  30. I would recommend this guide to anyone traveling to Barcelona! We had an unforgettable culinary tour of the city thanks to Ali’s recommendations, and would agree that the patatas bravas at Bar Mendizabal are the best we’ve ever tried. Thank you for this generous resource.

  31. Ali, your recommendations were SPOT ON! We used your guide to plan basically every single meal on our trip and not a single dish let us down. Thank you for sharing all of your favorite spots with all of us!! :-) It’s so easy to see why you guys love this city.

  32. This guide is amazing, thank you for the time you put into this. I am taking every recommendation seriously when my husband and I go to Barcelona this summer.
    We are thinking about staying at a hostel near the Arc de Triomf (La Isla Hostal) but are nervous it may be too touristy. I’d love your thoughts! It seems quite central but I’d hate to be in the Times Square of Barcelona without realizing it. Thank you!!

    • I think you’ll really enjoy the Arc de Triomf area! It’s a bit touristy, but charming. And it borders our favorite neighborhood (El Born), and has nice central access between the city center, the beach, Sagrada Familia and more northern neighborhoods like Gracia.

      Hope that you have a wonderful trip!

  33. Where is the top photo taken? I am leaving tomorrow so am so excited. Thanks for this post!

  34. Heading to Barcelona in September of 2019. Do you know if the Park Guell construction will be done by then? Also loved all your restaurant recommendations, but we are not very adventureus eaters. Can you recommend a good middle of the road place?

    • I’m not sure whether the construction will be wrapped up by then, but I’d recommend just emailing them closer to your date to ask. And I would recommend ordering chicken paella, bravas, or pan con tomate at any of the recommended restaurants if you want more familiar flavors. :) Bormuth would be a great restaurant for classic tapas.

  35. This guide is great!

    My fiance is moving to Barcelona for 6 months for work and i will be travelling back and forth the UK. so will be sure to check out all your recommendations (or as many as we can!)

    Just a questions in regards to you’d recommend to get an apartment for the 6mos- currently scouring websites, any you would recommend ?


    • Sure thing — we used SHBarcelona for our short-term rental. But we also searched on Engel&Voelkers and Idealista. :) Best wishes!

  36. Everyone, this guide is 💯 spot-on!!!! We followed all of your recommendations and had the best trip. Move over TripAdvisor…this is the best place to get Barcelona recs. Thanks, Ali and Barclay!

  37. This guide is amazing! I’ll be there in 2 weeks and am SO excited! Can’t wait to see everything and more importantly, eat everything!
    Any recommendations for the best souvenirs to take home?

  38. Ali, your recommendations were amazing!!! We had the best time in Barcelona thanks to all of the great places on your list. Thank you so much for sharing the best of your city with us!

  39. La Central Burger there is beyond yummy!

  40. Hi Ali and Barclay! My husband and I are headed to Barcelona in June. We work in the Napa/Sonoma wine industry and are interested in heading to Penedes for Cava. Any tips or recommendations? We are torn between and organized tour or just setting up appointments on our own and taking the train. Any insight or ideas? Gracias!

  41. Super helpful post. I’ve been living in Barcelona for 3 years and I have to say this is very well written and informed. Have you ever had a chance to participate in Fiesta de la Merce? It is so much fun and I definitely recommend if you are around. The true Catalan spirit is absolutely amazing!

  42. We’re planning to go back to Spain in the summer, and this is THE BEST travel guide for Barcelona. We haven’t been in years, and I’m hoping to really dig in to some of those tapas spots! If you haven’t been to Girona yet, plan a day trip. We LOVED it. But, I’ve heard it’s gotten a bit crazier since Game of Thrones filmed there.

  43. My wife and I are actually been researching to relocate to Barcelona area and now that I have seen this site I am hoping you can either recommend moving there or not ? And are you still living there ? Any information will be greatly appreciated by us.

  44. I just spent the last 4 hours combing through all this information (not nearly finished), I feel as if thank- you does not even cut it!! Do you have any recommendations for unique clothing boutiques?

  45. Best Cheap Lunches: I crave and miss their sandwiches, so good!
    Al Atlas
    Rambla del Raval, 30, 08001 Barcelona, Spain