Barcelona Travel Guide – Five Day Itinerary
My first trip to Barcelona in 2006 resulted in my discovery of fried goat cheese and cava – both have become staples in my life! This time Barcelona again stole my heart and my stomach with jamón ibérico, xerel-lo and more goat cheese and cava. Barcelona has so much to offer from castles and vineyard tours to Gaudi and Picasso. I’m already looking forward to my next trip back!
- Barcelona is an approachable city, and perfect for Airbnb! We stayed in an adorable one bedroom apartment at the intersection of Poble-Sec and Sant Antoni, two young, vibrant, neighborhoods full of restaurants, bars and cafes. I enjoyed the ‘local’ experience.
Day 1 | Walking around Barcelona (and stopping at a few top sites)
- Sant Antoni – the airbnb we stayed in was perfectly located for a low key morning of shopping, wandering and a first Spanish meal (at Cafe Cometa). Sant Antoni was recently on Mashable’s list of Global Destinations where Yuccies can be Together so I knew I’d be able to find cute places for coffee, lunch and wine.
- La Boqueria Market – a huge public food market off of Las Rambles in central Barcelona. La Boqueria, officially Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, is quite historic as a market has been operating in this location since the fifteenth century. Today you can find local and international fruit and vegetables, spices and candies as well as countless varieties of seafood, meat, charcuterie, and more.
- Las Rambles – the main touristy street in Barcelona, always teeming with energetic restaurant touts, independent beer vendors, street performers and tourists. Definitely worth walking down, if only to get from place to place.
- The Sagrada Familia – one of Barcelona’s major attractions is the Sagrada Familia, a still under construction Roman Catholic basilica designed by Gaudi. The Sagrada Familia is stunning in every way. Visiting in the late afternoon meant light was shining through the orange stained glass windows on the west, filling the basilica with a warm, glow-y light.
- Book tickets in advance to skip the line!
Day 2 | Cooking & Castles
- Cooking Barcelona offers half day classes featuring Catalan and Spanish cuisine. I recommend the Spanish Cooking & La Boqueria class. Over 4 hours you visit La Boqueria market, talk to vendors, sample Iberian ham and purchase ingredients, then return to the studio to cook a 4 course Spanish lunch!
- Montjuïc Castle – a 40 minute walk from the Cooking Barcelona studio on Las Rambles, the Montjuïc Castle is a fortress high above the city with sweeping views of Barcelona. If you are too tired to walk all the way up the hill, the gondola is a nice alternative form of transportation.
Day 3 | Escaping to the countryside
- Spanish Trails Montserrat & Wine Country Day Trip – a full day tour (ours was 8:30 am until after 6 pm) to Montserrat and Penedes wine country. I can’t imagine a better organized day trip tour from Barcelona!
- Read about my 10 Reasons to Visit Montserrat
- The Albet i Noya Winery was perfectly picturesque!
- I loved learning about their organic techniques and heirloom grape experiments.
- We walked through the cava making process – something you don’t hear on a typical vineyard tour!
- I’m now a fan of xarel-lo a chardonnay like grape from Spain!
Day 4 | Gaudi Everywhere
- Park Guell – a trippy Gaudi designed park in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona. Definitely a top destination to visit in Barcelona!
- Gaudi Walking Tour – a tour hosted by Hostel World which brings you by many of Gaudi’s famous houses, the Sagrada Familia, etc. A nice way to learn about Barcelona and the spirit of the city during Gaudi’s dominance at the turn of the century.
- El Borne and El Gotic – two very quaint, very European central Barcelona neighborhoods. Great for wandering through the alleys, checking out little wine bars, restaurants, shops, etc.
Day 5 | Picasso & Parks
- Labyrinth Park – a large, historic park outside of central Barcelona. Its quite interesting because you feel like you’ve been transported to Rome! I’ve always wanted to get lost in a maze, so it was fun to have the opportunity to do so.
- Picasso Museum – after seeing so much Gaudi, Picasso is a nice change! The Picasso Museum is one of the top tourist attractions in Barcelona, and houses one of the larges collections of Picasso in the world. You can see a progression from early pencil sketches, and details, technical studies to iconic modern works.
- Mirilla – a cozy two floor maybe 12 table restaurant on a side street in El Borne. The food was amazing, especially the goat cheese with tomato chutney, and the service and ambiance couldn’t be beat!
- Palo Cortao – I think this was my favorite restaurant in Barcelona! Everything about the food and the restaurant was bright and fresh!
- Obsessions – upscale, creative tapas – the menu is only in Spanish and Catalan, so the staff had to help us out on deciding what to order!
- This is a short walk from the Font Màgica de Montjuïc for a little post dinner sight seeing!
- Pintxos – one night in Barcelona (probably a Thursday or weekend) should be dedicated to bar hopping and eating pinchos, €1 tapas. Blai Street in Pobel Sec is a top destination. It is a very local scene, a lot of young professional types catching up and getting post work drinks and snacks. Most of the places on Blai Street seemed pretty similar and its really easy to pop into a bunch of places for a drink and a couple pinchos in a row. I liked Blai 9 best!
A few restaurant resources