1. Tapas: Known for its variety of options and the social benefits it brings when consumers gather to eat it, tapas is a quintessential part of Spanish culture, so of course a tourist destination like Barcelona is going to have some great tapas locations. Three of the best I either tried, researched or both are as follows:
- La Bodega d’en Rafel [https://maps.app.goo.gl/X3vmaHQkzuP2RrEE9?g_st=ic]: On the more affordable side of tapas, they make their own vermouth(how cool is that) and the food is so good, but it gets filled up quickly so that’s good to know ahead of time.
- Mosquito [https://maps.app.goo.gl/sMuyAJrqBEePpi3z5?g_st=ic]: Small recognizable name in Barcelona, they’re known to serve Asian-inspired tapas. They have mixed reviews, and while the menu doesn’t seem to have anything out of this world, I encourage you to visit and make your own conclusions.
2. Churros con chocolate: I knew of churros prior to coming to Spain, in fact, I didn’t know they were such a big deal here but I had some of the best churros ever here in Barcelona. They’re typically served with a thick cup of chocolate, or cafe for a lighter alternative, and then there’re porras, lesser-known cousins of the churro, but just as good! I have another three recommendations, this time for churros and chocolate.
- Xurreria Laietana [https://maps.app.goo.gl/1Qf3C2zgToTPDzso9?g_st=ic]: My personal favorite, there’s literally almost always a line because the quality is great and the prices are super affordable. Churros are from fryer to table, so expect maximum freshness after the wait!
- Xurreria Manchega [https://maps.app.goo.gl/fXGZDQGgR3V7mchE6?g_st=ic]: This place has apparently been open since the 1800s, so they definitely are churro veterans. The chocolate here is even thicker than the last and has the option of coming with cream, so if Laietana’s too watery, try Manchega!
- La Pallaresa Xocolateria Xurreria [https://maps.app.goo.gl/ZqG3PYapGEMsou8w8?g_st=ic]: One of the first churreriasI found, they’re a snug shop in a nice location, so you can eat then go off exploring in the neighborhood to discover some hidden gems in Barcelona. The menu is larger than the other two as far as I know, and many say while the churros are good, they aren’t as fresh as Laietana’s.
3. Souvenirs: Apart from the frequent souvenir shops seen in places like the Barri Gotic or along Barceloneta, I came across some other stores that carry pretty nice stuff to honor a visitor’s time in Barcelona.
- Mercilona[https://maps.app.goo.gl/bu3ghL8h8mciMRPfA?g_st=ic]: The prints, notebooks, tote bags, basically everything in this city is so pretty and would make for a great gift. If you’re lucky, you can catch them at flea markets for cheaper prices, but even at their regular store price, I wouldn’t say they’re on the pricier side.
- Caganer[https://maps.app.goo.gl/PFZWC6c8ZhewKeQW7?g_st=ic]: The first time I saw a Caganer, I was shocked by how crude it was, I mean, a pooping figurine had to be a joke of some sort right? Wrong. Caganers are an OG part of Catalan Christmases which have been included in nativity scenes for years, and while I don’t think there’s a 100% agreed-on reason for the pooping nature of the figurine, one of the popular theories says it’s a source of fertilization of the ground for a fruitful next year. The location I linked is just one of the many locations you can find the physical Caganer stores, and what makes them even better is that you can find a figurine of just about anybody who is anybody bent over and pooping.
4. Parks: Barcelona has some of the most exquisite parks I’ve seen, and I think I’ve seen quite a number. I may have mentioned Parc de la Ciutadella in another post, but some parks that I think don’t get enough screen time and attention, and would be a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona that literally never ends. Here are two of my favorites:
- Joan Margell Gardens[https://maps.app.goo.gl/rDAUeFSZVDb8Z5me7?g_st=ic]: A friend told me about this close to the end of my trip, so I didn’t end up visiting myself, but apparently this is a literal definition of a hidden gem. It has short and unconventional opening hours, but it’s worth fitting it into a weekend visit. Apparently, there aren’t many people in the park at any time cause such few people know of it, but my gosh, it looks so pretty so don’t be like me, now you know of it, try to visit it!
- Parc de Torreblanca[https://maps.app.goo.gl/UwH4rv1aY971F6ms9?g_st=ic]: Okay, some buildings don’t look great, but I think it’s supposed to have that kind of dilapidated, rundown, aged, overgrown vibe going for it. There’s a waterfall, maze, ducks, and on Sundays, apparently a farmer’s market as well. It definitely helps that it’s massive, so you can definitely find a part to make your own!
5. Sweet Spots:
- Hoffman[https://maps.app.goo.gl/4dEW9vrqsVUqE86k8?g_st=ic]: A small family business that’s known for their croissants, specifically the mascarpone-filled ones. They come well recommended, in fact, this was one of the stops in a tour of Barcelona I took. I tried it out, and while I wasn’t blown away, so many people are, so try it out and come to your own conclusion.
- La Colmena[https://maps.app.goo.gl/JqpXkCCTo771NQXw7?g_st=ic]: There’s so much variety in this store, that it overwhelmed me out of purchasing stuff the four times I visited. They’re an old local store, specializing in Spanish and Catalan bakery items and have some of the best-looking deserts I’ve seen!
- Crumbles[https://maps.app.goo.gl/paFZ9PuxakWMbFr58?g_st=ic]: So I found this by mistake, it’s quite hidden but there’s such variety here! There’s quite a variety of cookies and cinnamon rolls(the Bailey’s one is so good!), and I definitely prefer their cinnamon rolls to Demasié’s.