This is a beautiful city that got a nice make-over when they hosted the Olympics. There’s the ocean, the historic city, and plenty of vineyards in the nearby countryside. It’s the center of Modernist architecture and is particularly known for Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces. As with any major city, keep an eye out for scams and, after dark, salty drunks that have been drinking since 5pm. The bars don’t close until 3am and the clubs stay open to 5am, so for the truly motivated partier, Barcelona is “casa sweet casa.”
Best Places to Visit:
- Segura Viudas Winery — Located in the Penende’s Wine Region about 40km west of Barcelona, they are well known for their Cava, or sparkling wine. Aged in caves and using the champagne method where the second fermentation takes place in the bottle, Cava must be used with grapes native to Spain. Those include macabeo, parellada, chardonnay, pinot noir, xarel-lo and subirat. Try the Brut Reserva Cava which falls in the middle of sweetness scale, their driest Cava, Brut Nature or the Rosado Cava that gets its color from the prolonged contact between the grape juice and skins.
- La Rambla — Stroll along this iconic Barcelona street and check out the vendors, cafes and performers.
- Beach Club Goa — Head down to the beach before siesta to grab some local drinks like Aguadienta (Fire Water) which is similar to Grappa, nearly flavorless and usually around 80 proof. You can also try and herbal-infused or coffee-infused version of this potent potable. For a little something different, ask them to add some Rum to your Horchata or stick to the basics like their Sangria, a mix of sugar, lemon juice, brandy, cointreau, and copious amounts of cheap red wine, plus lemon and orange slices, and ice.
- Mikel Etxea – For a different, more high octane version of Sangria, stop in here and try their house specialty. They serve it with sugar, cointreau, gin, vermouth, Cuarenta y Tres Brandy, orange and lemon Fanta, ice and Cava.
- El Vaso de Oro – Translating to “The Golden Glass” this bar/restaurants serves their own beer. You can pick from three different brews: a Pilsner, a Stout of a mix of the two (called a 50/50). The beer goes well with some of their traditional tapas.
- Gothic Quarter — A trip to Spain is not complete without trying their most widely consumed national beer, Estrella Damm. Find a table in this outdoor plaza and sip on some of these refreshing lagers that only pack about 4% ABV.
- The Palace Bar — Drop in here for an Estrella Galicia Beer. Unrelated to Estrella Damm, it’s actually made by a brewery in Northern Spain with Gaelic roots. This crisp lager comes in at about 5.5% ABV.
- Spaniards are accustomed to late dinners and in Barcelona, dinner isn’t a thought until 9 p.m.
- Barcelona is the center of Modernist architecture and is particularly known for Antoni Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces.
- In Barcelona, St. George’s Day occurs on April 23rd and is traditionally celebrated by giving gifts of roses and books to loved ones.
- Best take a Siesta around lunchtime, because everyone else is.
- Although Spanish is the official language in Spain, in the Catalonian region (which contains Barcelona), Catalan is also recognized as the co-official language.
- Cava reaches its prime earlier in the process than Champagne. Therefore it is not aged for more than 2 years and it tends to be drier than Champagne.
- Horchata is made from tigernuts, water and sugar.
How to Toast in Spain
Shave your mustache.
Please Sir, I Want Some More
Learn more about traveling to Barcelona, Spain here!