Barcelona Visitors Guide

Hey friends, here are some of the things we think will make your visit more fun!


Barcelona has lots of great and really diverse neighborhoods. Here is a brief overview so you know where to wander.

Barcelona Neighborhoods
The star is considered the center and is the division of the old/ancient city and many of the newer areas. Rather than north and south, the city maps are typically oriented from the point of view of the Mediterranean, with up being West. So typically, it is referred to as left and right, up and down. 

Sidebar: Coffee

We created a Google List of our favorite coffee & book spots (we think they go well together). We have some listed on this page, but the Goolge list will be the most up to date. DOWNLOAD IT HERE

Sidebar: Food & Drinks

We will put down just a few of our favorite places in each neighborhood. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Download the Michelin app – the great places are countless
  • Read Google reviews – they are pretty good
  • Make reservations – The Fork app is a great place to make reservations for many of this places-otherwise just click on their website from Google Maps
  • Old Bodegas – they are all over the place – they look old and cool and usually are – wander in for a vermut or copa de vino
  • Las Ramblas – don’t eat there… all tourist places, but the Boqueria market is worth a wander through to grab a walking lunch
  • You’re going to want to try some good Jamon Iberico. As they say here, Serrano & Prosciutto is what you feed your little kids. Here is a good guide: Read about it here


“The Expansion” We have lived in both Right and Left Eixample. Both great. The division between left and right is Passeig de Gracia–literally the passage to Gracia, Eixample is where you will find the heart of Modernismo (modernisim) arcitecture, with never-ending, amazing shops and restaurants.


  • Walk up and down Caller Enric d’ Granados (one block South) in-between Diputacio and Diagonal – this is the happening street for restaurants – lots of good ones, but check Google ratings
  • Albe Barcelona – Lebanese Tapas – ask for seats in the window
  • Billy Brunch & Garden – Breakfast – too busy on weekends, no wait on weekdays – sit out back
  • Mont Bar – Fancier tapas
  • Rooq – Fried chicken sandwiches – owner graduated from ECU
  • Parking – several restaurants, all good
    • Pizza
    • Pita
    • Sotano (tasty, tasty steaks)
  • Robata – Japanese/Sushi
  • Curtis Audiophile Cafe – Vermut & a DJ – need a reservation
  • Cervecería Catalana / Vinitus / Flauta – all the same – good, solid tapas
  • Disfrutar – Two-star Michelin molecular gastronomy is the place – need reservations far in advance – expect a 4+ hour experience and dropping a lot. Update—just named 5th best restaurant in the world!
  • Compartir Barcelona – Disfrutar’s other restaurant – more traditional, but still great!
  • Asado Hamburguesas – Argentinian Burgers
  • Pepa Bar a Vins – Wine-focused, old library vibe
  • Oma Bistro – Sandwiches – just if you’re here for a while and want a sandwich–they’re pretty good
  • DelaCrem – gelato (three locations)


  • Reserva Ibérica – Get your fresh Iberica cut while you wait–try the differences in the shop (maybe with some wine) and take home your favorites
  • La Castafiore – Italian fresh pasta
  • Mercat del Ninot – Local, traditional stands with meats, fruits/veggies, cheese, seafood
  • Fruteca – you guessed it… fruit
  • Colmado Quilez – Huge liquor store on one street
  • Colmado Quilez – Same place, different street – great deli and gourmet foods around the corner


Download guide


  • Garage Beer Co. – Favorite brewery in town
  • El Nacional – Worth popping in for one drink just to see the surprising place
  • El Tros – Lovely little wine bar that also serves a few tapas (on our new street)



  • Llibreria Finestres – my favorite bookstore in the world! And directly below our first apartment in BCN – all languages are mixed together and highly curated with lots of micro topics
  • Llibreria la Central – around the corner (also one in Raval) has a good English section


An old suburb that is now part of Barcelona, it is a super cool area with good restaurants, narrow streets, & squares to grab a drink and some tapas. They take siesta seriously, so best after about 5pm or so.


  • Berbena – Small and amazing – our current favorite – make reservations – ask for chef’s table
  • Parallelo – One of the two best gelato spots in town. Also, on Glovo!
  • Formatgeria –  Not a restaurant, but our favorite cheese shop
  • Fonda Pepa – The menu is handwritten in Catalan.  Ask them to translate.  Cannot miss with any of their options.

Coffee & Bakeries


  • Old Fashioned – Get your high-priced Pappy here
  • Bodega Marin – OLD, gritty, vermut and wine from barrels 

El Gotic

The old city–tons of history and great shops & restaurants. Calle Laietana separates El Gotic from La Ribera & Las Ramblas separates it from Raval. This area is worth wandering around and getting lost, grabbing a drink, then getting lost again.


  • Lots of great restaurants—just need to add; Wander the narrow streets past the cathedral to find some good ones

Coffee & Bakeries

  • Dumas

Sant Pere, Santa Caterina i la Ribera

(including El Born)

Maybe our favorite–old windy streets. You will get lost here for sure, but that’s okay. So many cool places to wander into.


  • Cal Pep – Popular, make reservations
  • Bar del Pla – Casual
  • El Set – lovely charcuterie trays, wine, and other simple tapas; takes reservations

Coffee & Bakeries

  • Nomad – You will find their coffee in tons of places around town
  • Hidden cafe – Also a great place to work


  • El Xampanyet – Order a bottle or two of their famous, bottled in-house sparkling Xampanyet! – No reservations here, but worth going
    • Pro tip: If you can’t get into El Xampanyet, sit in the bar or outside at Bodega La Puntal next door (and only the bar or outside) – same owners, and you can order it there
  • Paradiso – Deli up front, a speakeasy in the back
  • Collage  – Craft cocktails
  • Dr. Stravinsky – Craft cocktails

EL Raval

Dirty, grungy, awesome. But know where you are and keep your wallet tucked away! There is no vibe like a weekend night Raval vibe.


Coffee & Bakeries


St. Antoni

Some of the most amazing restaurants in the city, including those from El Barri (The group from the creative director of El Bulli — worth googling)



  • Meresme – Another really good brewery

La Barceloneta

The beach! Also, a very cool old neighborhood with great old bodegas. The further north you go, the more chill the beach.


  • La Cala – Good place to grab a coffee on the way to the beach

El Poblenou

The start-up part of the town–also on the Mediterranean. Not necessary to visit unless you’re here for a while.


Here are some links to a bit more information about the various parts of town. Visit all of them if you can.

Places to visit

  • La Sagrada Familia – worth getting a tour guide from Context Travel or at least through the church when booking
  • Tibidabo – you can walk from town, but it is a long walk, so we suggest you take a cab to the base and hike from there – there are amazing views of the city
  • Camp Nou – FC Barcelona! Vamos Barça!
  • Maritime Museum – great exhibits and history of Barcelona waterfront
  • Montjuïc – you want to walk here or cab it and walk back
  • Fountains
  • Castell de Montjuïc – lots of torture and prison stuff here

Day trips


Yup, it isn’t Spanish. But Spanish (Castelleno) works everywhere. And English works almost everywhere too. But if you want to endear yourself to the locals, here are a couple of Catalan phrases:

  • Good Morning – Bon dia.
  • Good Afternoon – Bon Tarda.
  • Good Night – Bona nit.
  • Please – Si us plau.
  • Thanks – Gracies or Merci.
  • Cheers – Salut.
  • Do you speak English? – Parla angles?


We love to read books that take place in the place we’re visiting. Here are a couple to consider…

  • Shadow of the Wind – takes place in our neighborhood & Barcelona over several years and books. It is a series–but you can read just the first or all of them.
  • Cathedral by the Sea – Very Pillars of the Earth about building Santa Maria del Mar in El Born – plenty of middle ages Barcelona history



You can walk anywhere in the city. If you’re feeling like you want to take a taxi, they are easy to grab on the street. You can also use the app Free Now which will call a taxi if you are out and can’t find one. 


Pretty easy to navigate. There are several within a couple of blocks of the apartment–can be a good way to move around.


Trains go to Montserrat, Sitges, and all kinds of other great places. But there are a few stations, so make sure to check for the right ones