The Catalan capital has it all: beaches, culture, amazing weather, food, and great architecture. I have been lucky enough to call this city home for the past year (most of it anyway – I travel a lot), and here are the five places I love the most in Barna:
1. Bunkers del Carmel
As far as great panoramas go, the Bunkers del Carmel definitely take the cake. These former anti-aircraft bunkers dating back to the Spanish Civil War offer unrivalled views of Barcelona. Popular with young locals and tourists, but remote enough to deter the masses, this is the best spot in the city to watch the sun set. Bring a beer with you and take in the beauty of the Catalan capital.
GETTING THERE – Buses 24, 92, 114, 119 and V17 stop near here. Closest metro is El Carmel, but you’ll still need a catch a bus from there.
La Caseta del Migdia is one of Barcelona’ best-kept secrets, as far as I am concerned. Hidden from view in a pine grove on the Montjuic hill, this simple bar has a great terrace that is perfect to bask in the sunshine when spring arrives and to enjoy some shade in the hottest months of the year. Grab a Moritz (the local beer) and order some butifarra barbecued for you on the spot, while enjoying the views of Barcelona’s port.
GETTING THERE – This bar is in Montjuic, not far from the Jardí Botànic and the castle. Once on the hill, follow the signs for Mirador del Migdia and “Zona d’oci I esbarjo”
Walk along the beach and Barcelona will give you one amazing view after another. A great spot I recently discovered is the Escullera de Poblenou – I always knew this pier, but I had never bothered to go. Big mistake. It’s a quiet spot, which is great for sunbathing, watching the waves crash on the rocks, and enjoy a different view of the Port Olympic and its two skyscrapers.
GETTING THERE – The pier juts out from the Moll del Gregal (where all the restaurants are). Closest Metro station is Ciutadella – Vila Olimpica on the yellow line. You technically can’t bike here (though everybody does it), so you will need to walk down.
The neighborhood of Poblenou is undergoing a transformation. Even though it doesn’t always make the locals happy, gentrification is attracting startups and young professionals galore, attracted by the proximity to the beach and authentic feel of the area. A great place to enjoy street art and graffiti, Poblenou features interesting architecture (a lot of it formerly industrial) – one of my favorite buildings is the triangular one on Carrer de Pere IV 102. Who knew Barcelona had its own “Flatiron Building”?
GETTING THERE – The building is located where Carrer Pallars, Carrer de Pere IV and Carrer de Badajoz meet. Closest metro station is Llacuna, on the yellow line L4.
The beautiful building that once housed the Hospital de la Santa Creu (one of Europe’s oldest hospital, whose construction started 1401) became home to the Biblioteca Nacional de Catalunya in 1939. Its vaulted ceiling is incredible, but what I love the most about the library is its beautiful courtyard, with a relaxing garden and pretty architecture. Come here to read a book and to escape the hustle and bustle of one of Barcelona’s busiest neighborhoods.
GETTING THERE – The library is located in Carrer de l’Hospital 56, in the heart of El Raval, just a few steps from La Rambla. Closest Metro station is Liceu, on the green line L3.