Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia and Spain’s second-largest city, has a rich history, architectural masterpieces, fantastic food, and a beautiful coastline. It would be easy to just wander the streets of the city’s many barrios, from the medieval Gothic Quarter with its narrow, winding lanes to Eixample, with its wide boulevards and stately buildings, but with so many attractions to visit and fantastic restaurants and bars competing for your time, you’ll have to prioritize. Ahead, a guide to the hotels, restaurants, tapas bars, and things to do during a weekend in Barcelona.
Where to Stay
The place to stay is the Majestic Hotel & Spa, a grand dame opened in 1918. Ideally located on the elegant Passeig de Gracia, it’s just a stone’s throw from attractions like Gaudí’s Casa Batlló and Casa Milà, though it might be hard to tear yourself away from the rooftop pool with views of the Sagrada Família.
Where to Eat and Drink
From bustling markets and tapas bars to cutting-edge gourmet restaurants, Barcelona has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to dining and drinking. For a gastronomic tour de force, book a table at Disfrutar, created by three alums of El Bulli. The chefs flirt with molecular gastronomy but keep things down-to-earth and fun. It’s no wonder this place has earned two Michelin stars.
When you just want a light bite, El Chigre 1769 is a great little tapas bar in the Gothic Quarter that adheres to slow food principles. Grab a stool at the bar or one of the high-tops and order classic tapas like gildas and ham or cheese croquettes to go with a glass of Spanish wine or cider.
For full immersion into Catalan cuisine, a private food tour is the way to go. On this three-hour tour led by a Barcelona local, you’ll taste churros dipped in hot chocolate at a historic café; visit a market where only locals go to sample jamón iberico, cheese, and cava; and try tapas like pan con tomate, patatas bravas, bombas, tiny fried squid, eggplant with cheese and honey, tortilla española, and house vermouth at an old school tapas bar in La Barceloneta.
What to Do
Barcelona has more than enough attractions to keep you busy for weeks, so if you only have a weekend there, you’ll need to be strategic. If you happen to be there on the first Saturday of the month, start the day with the new exclusive before-hours tour of Gaudí’s Casa Milà, a GetYourGuide Original. The two-hour tour lets you experience this popular attraction without the crowds, access off-limits areas, and end with breakfast in the museum’s elegant café.
Of course, it’s certainly not the visionary architect’s only masterpiece. Aside from the still unfinished Sagrada Família, Park Guëll, with its colorful mosaic tiles, and Casa Batlló, with its distinctively decorated façade, you might want to pop into Casa Vincens, which Gaudí built before the other two homes.
Pablo Picasso—arguably the most famous Spanish artist to ever live—spent the formative years of his education in Barcelona, where he studied at the Escola de Llotja. The Museu Picasso displays paintings and sketches from the early part of his career as well as some of his later cubist works. Meanwhile, the Fundació Joan Miró, created by the artist himself in collaboration with architect Josep Lluís Sert, displays Miró’s paintings, sculptures, and textiles. Thanks to its location high up in Montjuïc, the terrace has sweeping views of the city.