My personal insights as a resident and host of Barcelona by Joan Dominguez
I definitely feel immensely lucky to call my home in Barcelona. Spending time in Barcelona is definitely on many people’s bucket lists; the breathtaking architecture, such as La Sagrada Familia or the Barri Gòtic, and the equally heart-stopping and picturesque coastline and scenery of the surrounding lush country are enough to fill anyone’s itinerary. However, I can tell you that there is so much more to see to truly get the full experience – far beyond that of the typical Barcelona traveler.
Thankfully, we love tourists in Barcelona and can’t wait to meet you!
The secret to seeing the best of Barcelona is to see past the touristy attractions and find the spots on the map that only the locals know about – and the quickest way to find out is to ask Barcelona residents. Although Spanish is the native language in Barcelona, English is still widely spoken, especially among touristy areas and the younger generations. You’re less likely to be understood by older residents, taxi drivers, and many small business owners. Luckily, there are apps you can download that will translate for you in real-time and we love to chat!
Living in the heart of Barcelona, there are very few things that aren’t within walking distance. I can step out onto my balcony and take in the beautiful skyline, or step back into my kitchen and make a delicious meal made with local goodies. Take a few steps out my front door and you’ve already said “good morning” to a few neighbors who are out starting their days as well.
The little bakery on the corner has been there for 6 generations and the bread is something you’ll never taste again. Don’t get me started on the rest of the food my city has to offer. None of us know what it means to eat horrible food because we invented the word “delicious”. Be ready to gain a few pounds, so don’t bring too many clothes from home – especially since our fashion is just as amazing. You’ll want to take everything home with you!
Some of my favorite places to go when I’ve got a few hours to spend enjoying my city of Barcelona:
The best coffee and other hidden venues:
It wasn’t until recently that coffee started to taste good in Barcelona (unless you knew where to go). It used to take quite the search to find a decent cup of java, but now there are some little and specialized cafes that have started serving some of the best coffee in Europe. Events such as the Independent Barcelona Coffee Festival and CoLab: Barcelona have brought coffee seekers to Barcelona and we’re happy you’re here. Here’s a couple of my favorite cafes: Cafés El Magnifico in the gothic Born neighborhood and the increasingly popular Nømad Coffee, which is served around the city.
Interested in some nightlife while you’re here? As for the best nightlife and best night clubs in Barcelona, there are quite a few spots you can definitely enjoy your night in my amazing city.
Pacha Barcelona is located on the beaches of Barceloneta and attracts dance and disco lovers and DJs from around the world. If you’re attending on a Friday, be ready to dress smartly and dance like crazy to some of the world’s best electronic music.
Opium night club is the best place (possibly in Europe) to see and hear the best EDM music. With their huge beachfront terrace and frequent internationally acclaimed DJs, this is definitely one of the places you must check out while you’re here!
Wondering how to get around Barcelona? We’ve got lots of trains, buses, trams, and cabs to get you anywhere in the city, however, I highly suggest that you go anywhere and everywhere on foot. Trust me, there are so many tiny yet beautiful details you’ll miss if you get on a bus instead of walking a few blocks. With so much to see, the time will fly by quickly.
Curious about where you should stay while in Barcelona? There are many neighborhoods that are boasting with nightlife, attractions, and nice hotels (or hostels). The Eixample sits between Plaça de Catalunya and Plaça de Tetuan and is one of the more touristy areas – so if that’s what you’re into, then feel free to give their hotels a browse. Other areas include Diagonal, Gràcia, La Ribera, Poble Sec, Bareloneta, and the popular Plaça de Catalunya.
Well, I’ve headed home again for my daily siesta, but I hope to see you soon. Let me know when you get here, I’ll show you the rest of my favorite spots.
Top Tip: Download a traveler’s app to use as a reference or convenient method of finding other adventurous travelers to meet up and explore with. Finding new friends in Barcelona, regardless of your length of trip, is easy when you can partner with an online traveling platform or online app. Take a look at how we can maximize your Barcelona experience here.
I am happy to see you in my city soon and reach out for a conversation today.