Barcelona for the Artsy or Architectural Human
After months and months of researching (and hoping that Covid wouldn't get worse), my mother and I were fortunate enough to make our way to Barcelona. This was my first time in Spain and I can't imagine how the trip could have been any better. Here's my list of things you must hit, might want to consider, and places to shop and eat in between.
What to know before you go:
Research Gaudi before you go!
Everyone is very stylish. Don't look frumpy, you will regret it. And don’t look beachy after you go to the beach (if you do that); you will regret it.
Don’t get fast food or fast coffee; there are plenty of cheap spots with amazing local food and drink. And their cappuccinos are amazing - I got one with oat milk every day.
Watch your bag and pockets at La Rambla and other tourist spots, and act like you know where you’re going.
1. Casa Battlo:
The marine inspiration here is amazing and the details are super intense. The subtle waves of both the exterior and interior, covered with broken glass, tiles, and plates made you feel at peace with the ornate columns. My mom also surprised me this day by getting us tickets to a rooftop show at sunset to watch a jazz band and sit and drink champagne. Best way to end the afternoon.
2. Sagrada Familia:
This should be a no-brainer. Hopefully I’ll be able to go again when it is completed. The whole scale of it and artistry is just breath taking.
Other Fun Options:
1. Casa Mila:
The guardians on the rooftop made this house worth it.
2. Citadel Park:
This was a lovely park to walk around with a huge Guadi fountain/structure.
3. Park Guell:
This park is portrayed way differently in movies and photos, but the bench itself was worth the visit. The surrounding neighborhood is very cute too.
4. Contemporary Arts Museum:
Definitely not my favorite museum I’ve ever visited but it was worth it to see Basquat and the Guerrilla Girls works. Definitely check their exhibits online before going. Otherwise it’s also a famous skateboarding spot which is fun to see!
This was the best meal we had the entire two weeks we spent here, possibly the best meal I had in 2021, and it was also the cheapest food we had. After a full day of visiting Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, we walked a few minutes here and the paellas were to die for. I might fly back to BCN someday just for this food.
2. Flax & Kale:
This place had great juices and great options for different diets. I personally am gluten free and my mother is vegan, and we were both super happy there. We even went twice!
3. Jansana Gluten Free Bakery:
I am of course I’m biased since I am gluten free but this place was amazing. I got a soft pretzel and a piece of cake and I still think about that pretzel to this day.
4. El Cafe del Teatre:
We came across this place by accident and it was wonderful. The potatoes with homemade aioli and ketchup were particularly good and the staff were all so kind.
5. La Basneta:
This is the sweetest little vegan bakery and half of their stuff is gluten free too. I can’t stop thinking about the lemon cake I got. And they donate all their tips to a cat sanctuary! How cute is that?!
6. Gelaaati de Marco:
This ice cream takes first or second place for best ice cream ever in my opinion (can’t forget CPH ice cream). But I got hazelnut ice cream that I went back for three more times throughout the trip.
This deserves the first spot for me. Deep in the Gothic Quarter, this antique shop is so sweet and the owner is equally so. It can be a bit pricey but it’s worth it, and the owner knows everything about every single thing he has in his shop, and wants them to find good homes.
2. OMG BCN:
This is probably an acquired taste, but I adored this shop. If you are a young, artsy person like myself, you will be happy to find fun prints, scarves, shirts, and other home-made gifts to take home. All items are made by local artists too!
3. Gothic Quarter in general:
Lots of shoe stores, vintage clothing, local clothing makers, home goods, antiques, and more. Have fun exploring and taking in the beauty of the Quarter!
4. Vila de Gracia:
There are really sweet shops in this area, especially for clothing.
I was looking for local art shops the whole trip but they were all pretty basic until I found this one. It is pricey but has such sweet leather bound sketch books and really cool drawing tools.
6. Gaudi Gift Shops:
Trust me, these were actually so fun. Great books, great gifts, great times.
7. ZARA and the surrounding shops:
Surprisingly enough, these stores carry a lot of stuff that the locals would typically wear, and for prices that won’t break the bank.
The art is everywhere here, from the architecture to the parks to the graffiti, and it’s all very beautiful and inspiring. Enjoy the never-ending beauty of this city!