What a weekend! Barcelona is quickly becoming one of my favorite cities. I am lucky enough that one of my best friends has recently moved to this incredible place and this weekend I went with two friends to visit her.
This was the perfect girls weekend, mainly floating between bars and restaurants… the ideal itinerary for a winter get away.
Due to last minute flights and expense we started early and drove to Manchester at 5am on the Friday, touching down to meet our friend flying from London late morning.
Arriving in Born, central Barcelona we met our friend Millie and made ourselves at home in her beautiful apartment before setting off for lunch.
SANTA CATERINA MARKET Lunching in a little street side restaurant outside the markets we enjoyed our first tapas and of course our first beer, Estrella (like a local).
After a walk around the markets we were en-route back to the apartment when happy hour happened…or should I say hours.
LA BONA SORT This place was so cute, copper barrells above the bar and plants lining the wall we were sat against. A few mojitos and caipiroskas later we giggled our way back to the apartment.
As Millie arrived back from work, we greeted her merrily with a feast of manchego cheese, fresh bread, serrano ham and cava. Unfortunately the cheese was rather plasticy and the ham (which we bought as scraps) was rather disgusting! At least the thought was there.
That evening we settled down to a table outside Santa Maria dal Mar and enjoyed a feast of tapas as our overly flirtatious waiter poured our wine in a sensual manner.
EL PARADISO was our next stop that evening. Popular with locals and tourists alike this is a Spanish speak-easy with entry accessed through a fridge. The other side is a den of extravagant cocktails, with a buzzing atmosphere and old school charm.
It gets busy so be prepared to queue.
PICNIC What is a girly weekend without a delicious brunch? Picnic is rated as one of the best bunch venues in town, and luckily for us it was just around the corner.
We were tactfully positioned alongside the kitchen and everything looked so delicious. Even the classic eggs Benedict was a fusion of English and Spanish with traditional English muffins and giant cous cous. My recommendation which you cannot go to picnic and not try is the quinoa hashbrown… absolutely delicious and unlike anything you would experience with an English breakfast.
Following on from brunch we headed to the touristy area near Gothic to explore the Cathedral and les Rambles on our way to la Boqueria.
LA BOQUERIA MERKET is one of my favorite places to visit in Barcelona. With origins as early as 1200, similar to London’s Borough market, but which I consider far superior, la Boqueria is a must visit for any tourist. The range of food on offer is unbeatable. Stores displaying the most incredible produce from fresh fruit and veg, juices and smoothies, to meat and cheese stores, tapas eateries and fishmongers lined with oysters.
From the Mercat we made our way up past Plaza Catalunya, past Casa Batllo and to Sagrada Familia. I visited Barcelona in summer but waited to go inside until now and it was certainly worth the wait. If churches were built to display the Glory of God, I think this is as close as they come. The scale of the build and the mesmerising light is breathtaking. I defy anyone to not be impressed.
Naturally, following a little culture our next stop was another bar.
BOCA GRANDE Next to the Boca Grande restaurant, up some stairs is Boca Chica. I love this bar. A gem in the heart of Barcelona, it reminds me of Raffles Long Bar in Singapore (home of the Singapore Sling), but if anything, even more extravagant.
Be warned prices are dear to say the least, we nearly played card roulette for a laugh but thankfully decided against it. The cheeseboard although delicious was hilariously small and only dampened our appetites a little before dinner.
CAN CISA was our final stop that evening, a little wine bar and restaurant in El Born specialising in organic wines. The waiters were fantastic and keen to recommend wine pairings for food or anything to suit your table.
We were seated at a long wooden table and enjoyed dish after dish of the most delicious tapas; whiling our night away the Spanish way, enjoying good food, good wine and good company. Following a lovely sweet desert wine which could not have been more beautifully matched with the lemon tart (credit to the sommelier for an excellent choice) we made our way home through the bustling Catalan streets.
ORIGINAL’S BAKERY was our choice of breakfast on Sunday. We picked up some delicious fresh croissants and headed to Ciutadella Parc for a picnic style breakfast. Stopping en-route to pick up coffee and churros.
We settled down on a bench near the fountain, perfect for people (and dog) watching…… I think we’re all a little obsessed with dogs. The bandstand opposite had some live music playing and the locals dancing along; the perfect lazy Sunday morning.
Later in the day we sat at a table in Placa Reial for an afternoon beer before a tapas crawl home. This involved stopping in multiple places on our way back for a tapas dish and drinks… what could be better?
Sadly Sunday evening came too quickly and we made our way to the airport and back home. Only just making it back on an empty petrol tank.