Top 5 of cool things to do in Barcelona
Here my top 5 of cool things to do in Barcelona.
Barcelona is my favorite city in Europe. The list of things I like about this place is extensive. First of all, there’s the climate! The weather is beautiful for most of the year, with mild winters and moderate rainfall. For someone like me, who hates cold and grey weather, this is perfect. Then there’s the architecture: Barcelona is a beautiful historic city. Spend one afternoon getting lost in the Born or Gothic neighborhoods and you will know what I’m talking about. Furthermore, Barcelona is not expensive. The food is great. There’s a wide range of cultural activities for all age groups. The city is always alive, during the day as well as the night, with a true party spirit. Here you will also find Europe’s largest park for those who like it green, and the beach for those who prefer sunbathing. The center of the city is car-free, which is enjoyable.
I could keep adding more and more things to this list, but I love Barcelona. I have had the opportunity to spend some time there and explore the city a bit, although I’m sure there are still plenty of things I haven’t discovered yet. So, here is a list of my Top 5 things to do in Barcelona.
1 – La Xampanyeria – Can Paixano
To start with this Top 5 in Barcelona, I have to mention La Xampanyeria. When you think Spain, you think “Tapas”. Surely everyone visiting the country does so with the intention of eating them. The problem with Barcelona is that there are tons and tons of tapas bars to choose from. This makes it difficult to make the right choice and not end up at a tourist trap. I was lucky enough to experience La Xampanyeria (pronounced Champaneria), which is at 7 Carre de la Reina Cristina in Barceloneta. Situated between the beach and the city center, this place is ideal for having an aperitif after leaving the beach.
Expect the place to be full and even to see a queue outside, but don’t worry, you never have to wait long to get inside. Once inside, tightly packed against each other, you will witness a truly authentic Spanish atmosphere. Despite the dense crowd, there is very little shoving. Instead, everyone is eager to have a drink with you. Once you make it to the bar, be sure to order a glass of the pink champagne for only €0.90. For those with a smaller appetite, there are plenty of little snacks to choose from, from cooked meats to delicious croquetas and other tapas. I’m not a big fan of their sandwiches, but I love everything else. You pay once you are ready to leave. I am still blown away at how the little man behind the bar is able to remember exactly who ordered what amongst the dozens of customers.
And so, what did you think about that pink champagne? Why not have a 2nd, or maybe a 3rd!
2 – Eclipse at the W Hotel
It’s impossible to miss the W Hotel in Barcelona, because it is the only building found on the beach, and most likely featured in all of your friends’ holiday pictures. What is particular about this Hotel is that it has a bar/club on the 26th floor, called Eclipse. It offers a breathtaking view of Barcelona. You can access the club via an elevator from the hotel lobby.
I would suggest not going there on a Friday or a Saturday, as the club is likely to be full, and doesn’t exactly feature the most sympathetic clientele. It’s mainly guys in suits and luxury prostitutes, and the bouncers will want to make sure you fit the profile. It would be a shame to waste your Saturday evening in this place when Barcelona has so many other cool clubs to offer. Go there any other evening to enjoy the delicious cocktails and the incredible view of the city. The cocktails are of a very high standard, they are still relatively cheap compared to Paris. While a cocktail made with real fruits will cost you about €14, on the Champs-Elysées you would pay at least €26 for a tetra pack.
So, enjoy your drink, enjoy the view, hang around for a while. Then enjoy you walk home as you stroll along the beach and the harbor.
3 – The Piknic Electronik
When the days are sunny, Barcelona goes into festival mode. From June to September, every Sunday afternoon, there is a “Piknic Elektronik” organized on the Montjuic, close to the gardens of Joan Brossa, not far from the funicular. In fact it is not really a picnic in the literal sense, but rather a cool open-air party. One can come here with friends and even with family. As there are a wide range of animations for children, a kind of “mini” picnic separated from the big picnic, so don’t worry if you are not especially fond of children. Of course, as the name suggests, you can bring your own lunch or buy snacks on-site, and you can even bring your own drinks.
The highlight is the music! The “Piknic Elektronik” features some of the best DJs in the world. So your ears will thank you for it. Rather than spending your Sunday afternoon in a park where nothing happens, why not listen to some great music while enjoying the sunset.
This is a concept that originates from Montreal, and having already danced there as well, I recommend this without any hesitation. The Barcelona Piknic started in 2012 and has since been exported into other cities around the World, like Lisbon and Melbourne. For some practical information, the entrance is €13 for before 4pm, €15 after, or €10 ticket in advance. If you’re going to spend your summer in Barcelona, you can also buy a season ticket with 10 entries for €100.
4 – Harlem Jazz Club
If you prefer melodic music to the boom-boom of the electro, then you have to spend at least one evening at the Barcelona Harlem Jazz Club. Located in the Gothic quarter at 8 carrer de la Comtessa de Sobradiel, this is an old institution that doesn’t need to defend its reputation. Sure, there are plenty of other jazz clubs in the city, but there’s a good chance that your hotel will be close to this place.
The program changes every evening. They don’t only play jazz, but also blues, funk, flamenco and other Latin music. Tuesday nights are exclusively dedicated to jazz. It often ends with a jam session with the musicians in the audience who brought along their instruments. Fridays and Saturdays are more dedicated to Latin music. The atmosphere is very welcoming. The crowd usually ends up dancing through the night, so it’s a safe bet for a fun night, although the place does tend to get crowded. The entrance fee depends on the program, but is always between €5 – €12. The club is closed on Mondays.
Hope you will have fun there !
5 – Cafés El Magnifico
I end my Top 5 with my favorite place in Barcelona, the café El Magnifico. This place most certainly deserves its name! For me, drinking a coffee is a moment of pleasure. I like to enjoy a good coffee, especially a good cappuccino. So every time I travel, finding the best coffee shop in the city is a must. Unfortunately this is not a luxury I can indulge every day in Paris, because here a simple cappuccino costs a fortune and is rarely good. If you love coffee too, then do yourselves a favor and stop by El Magnifico.
It’s an authentic coffee roasting company which opened in 1919 and is run by a very passionate family. Everything here is dedicated to coffee. You can buy all kinds of coffee machines, but also coffee beans from the best plantations in the world. It is said that the family that runs the shop personally tests the quality of all the coffee they sell. There aren’t really any tables to sit at in the café, merely two benches inside and two more outside. The coffee shop is located at 64 carre de Argenteria, just 30 meters from the Basilique de Santa Maria Del Mar, in front of which you can sit down to enjoy your coffee in a lovely setting.
Taste-wise, this is one of the best cappuccino I have ever had. Price-wise, it is also one of the cheapest, at only €1.70.
Voilà, you know my Top 5 in Barcelona. If ever you have the opportunity to go to one of those places, let me know if you enjoyed it.
And you, what is your Top 5 in Barcelona ?