There’s something about Barcelona.
As most great love stories go, we met quite unexpectedly and rather unintentionally.
When my big sis turned 18, she went backpacking through India with her boyfriend, so my high school best friend & I started dreaming of our first backpack adventure too. Latin America. That would be our first destination. Little did we know that our parents would still have a say in it and that they wouldn’t let us leave. In hindsight – considering our teenage adventures – it might have been justified. Perhaps. However, being young & wild & semi-free, we ended up spending our summers dancing the night away and napping on beaches closer to home.
One year, we decided to go for some cheap party fun: Lloret de Mar (don’t judge – I know). Although most of our days were no different from on our other vacations: napping on the beach, an occasional swim, sipping cocktails (also on the beach off course) and exploring the local nightlife, we somehow decided on trading our busy beach life for a day to pay a visit to the nearby town Barcelona. That’s when it happened. I fell head over heels. Spending no more than 12 hours with this Beauty, I knew she was the one, my great love. The one who had it all.
I had the fortune to go back and spend 6 months in the city, thanks to Erasmus, and if I didn’t had to come home to graduate, I’m not sure if I had ever been able to leave her behind. So I went back to visit her, every few months, and every single time it felt like coming home again. Even after graduating, I was lucky to find a job in fashion and to even get paid to go back twice a year for the seasonal sales meetings and fashion fairs. Now, so many years later, I still try to visit as much as possible. We went back with a befriended couple last spring to celebrate my Birthday, and we’re squeezing it into our journey to Ibiza later this summer. Only for 24 hours, but I’ll take it.
So what is it about Barcelona? Her magic needs to be felt, but I’ll try to explain. It has a beach, but it isn’t a lay-down-and-do-nothing-destination. It has the culture and you don’t even need to enter a museum to enjoy it. It has the food. It has the nightlife. It has that big city aura, but still that small-village-feel in every little quarter. It has the hills, the bars, the clubs, the shops, … It has the climate and it’s close to the mountains should you like to ski.
Every time I visit, I discover something new. Yet most of the places I’ve loved from when we first met are still there and I can’t help it to revisit them again and again.
I’ve stayed in different hotels and apartments, in different parts of town. It’s hard to suggest just one and besides, apart from sleeping, you’ll probably be out anyway.
Although all of me loves all of Barcelona, I do have some favourite spots:
- Favourite shopping area: El Born with her nice little boutiques
- Favourite museums: MACBA (El Raval) and Fundació Joan Miró (Parc de Montjuïc)
- Favourite landmark: Sagrada Familia
- Favourite beach: Bogatell
- Favourite cocktail bars: Eclipse (enjoy the amazing view from the 26th floor of the W Hotel & make sure to try the Watermelon Martini!) and Nosé (El Borne)
- Favourite quick bites: Rita Blue (especially the fajitas de solomillo y foie), Foc (Barceloneta) and Salero (El Born) (and of course the many tapas bars)
- Favourite restaurant: Bestial
- Favourite beach lunch spots: Aqua and the places underneath the W Hotel, such as Gallito.
- Favourite people watching: Bar Zurich at Placa Catalunya.
- Favourite squares: Placa Reial and Placa de Pi
- Favourite picknick places: Park Guëll, overlooking the city & Parc de la Ciutadella
- Best nightlife memories: Jamboree, CDLC, Danzatoria (which used to be on the Tibidabo), Otto Zutz, Pacha and many many more
Barcelona also has my favourite hop-on-hop-off tour anywhere. I must have taken those buses a dozen times and my guts tell me I’ll probably be hopping on & off again next September.