We can’t be impartial, we live in Barcelona and for us it’s the best city in the world! That’s why so many tourists and travelers visit Barcelona. In fact, many keep coming back and others decide to stay and make it their home. Sometimes the number of tourists may seem too much. The best known sites are extremely popular because they are incredible, so we guarantee you that you won’t regret waiting a bit while chatting with people from all over the world. Of course there are great lesser known places too. And guess what? Places beyond the massive radar are our specialty!
In just one day in Barcelona you can visit architectural jewels dating 20 centuries, dip in the sea, go for a swim in the Mediterranean, climb a hill, check out a museum and drink coffee while watching the sunset. Be sure to save some energy for later, when the night begins! In addition, Barcelona has first class infrastructure making it very easy to get around and go everywhere. Indeed, our amazing city is sophisticated, entertaining and varied! What else could you ask for? The Mediterranean Sea and mountains at your footstep!
We are pleased to share with you our favorite places and activities. We have divided them into different categories. Take note that we like to do a bit of everything, in particular to spend time in public spaces, enjoying all the city has to offer. As you can tell, architecture has a very special place in our heart. Buildings are Happy Frog’s passion and Barcelona has tones of masterpieces. At the same time, with the best climate in Europe and hundreds of bike paths, Barcelona is made for cyclists. No, we are not forgetting about the night: Barcelona’s famous scene is real!
Barcelona’s architectural heritage is huge. Modernist, classical, medieval and cool crazy buildings pack its streets. In addition to the most popular ones, you will be surprised by the number of truly amazing buildings by Gaudí and other architects that are seldom visited even in high season (these are our specialty!). Though most places are alive, full of people and activities to enjoy, you will always find an empty corner to chill, relax and intake the beauty. Happy Frog is a passionate architect who is happy to show you every corner in town!
Barcelona’s beaches are world famous. We agree, beaches can get too crowded during high season, but what do you expect? It is the Mediterranean! Summer is hot and there are beautiful people everywhere: who wouldn’t want to go to the beach? The good news is that you can go from very early until late, and even at night. And if you like beaches with fewer people, you will find them nearby, even by metro. In fact, Barcelona proper has over 4km of Beaches plus many more just a short train ride away. We go to Marbella, a beach with great vibes and far less crowded than Barceloneta.
Barcelona has three major green areas: Ciutadella Park, Park Güell and Montjuic Hill. Located at the end of the Borne, Ciutadella Park houses loads of trees and plants, a lagoon, a museum, and the majestic Monumental Fountain. Arguably, the city’s most famous park, Güell is one of Gaudi’s peak creations and easily accessible by metro and even mechanic escalators. Finally, Montjuic Hill is in front of our house and we simply love it. It’s huge, with iconic buildings such as the National Museum, the Miró Museum and the National Stadium, a Botanical Garden, a very old cemetery and of top of it all, a Castle. You can move around the hill by bus, cable car, biking or walking.
There are tones of squares of different sizes all around the city. The biggest ones are Plaça Catalunya (named after the region) and Plaça Espanya (after the country). Both are major transport hubs too. Another gorgeous square not to be missed is Plaça Reial, in the middle of the Gótic Quarter. Lesser known squares and thus a bit more authentic are Plaça del Sol in Gràcia (for people watching), Plaça d’Osca in Sants (we go there all the time for beer) and Plaça de la Concòrdia in les Corts (great for coffee and a book).
Few people know that over one and a half centuries ago, a group of cities came together to form what we call today Barcelona. Each of these former cities retains a different character and charm and except for the Old Town and Gràcia, are mostly ignored by massive tourism. In the middle of the 19th Century, the famous architect Cerdà was commissioned to consolidate greater Barcelona. The result was the birth of the largest and most unique neighborhood in Barcelona: Eixample, an architect’s paradise. It’s difficult to choose favorite neighborhood, since we love to spend time in all of them. Perhaps our favorite is our beloved Poble Sec.
Most Barcelonans are pretty active; they enjoy the healthy lifestyle provided by the Mediterranean. With fantastic weather all year round, the city is perfect for all kinds of sports, on the beach, the sea, the city or the mountains. It is especially pleasant for walkers and cyclists. The bike is our daily mode of transport in Barcelona. The city is safe, has an incredible bike lane system, and privileged weather. It’s impossible to get bored, since you’re always surrounded by beauty. Our friends at AjoBike have great bikes, and offer great tips to biking safely.
Though there are over 50 museums in Barcelona worth visiting, you mustn’t skip the Picasso, Miró and Contemporary Art Museums (MACBA). Picasso lived quite some time in Barcelona and as he himself acknowledged the city influenced his art deeply. The museum is located in El Borne and showcases the artist’s formative years. Miró on the other hand was born in Barcelona. His art can be seen all around town and especially in his museum, which holds over 14000 pieces! Finally, the MACBA has a great permanent collection and houses fantastic events all year round. Located a few steps away in El Raval, the Contemporary Cultural Center – CCCB works together with the MACBA and hosts all sorts of cultural events.
Though street art is just about everywhere, some places are true public canvases. Stroll about El Raval and you’ll see art in every corner. Look for tin pieces, cans fixed to walls with inspiring and political messages. The Three Chimneys square in Poble Sec is graffiti central. We are always swinging by in search for the latest masterpiece. Gràcia is another place that’s worth checking. The neighborhood is favored by artists and thus its streets are like open air galleries. Poble Nou is another neighborhood packed with graffiti.
Perhaps we shouldn’t have a special LGBT section. In Barcelona you’re not special if you’re LGBT. But don’t you worry! There are a plethora of special bars and places that cater to the LGBT+ community, mostly located in the Gayxample, around Muntaner and Casanova streets. Nevertheless, the entire city has a sexy atmosphere that defies definitions. Maybe that’s the coolest way, everyone can go everywhere without worries. Here the LGBT+ are everywhere, free to see and be seen! Our disco is Apolo, a state of the art club that caters to everyone with cool music, and a fabulous open-minded crowd.
From any of the 23 restaurants with Michelin stars, to the food stalls in La Boqueria market, Barcelona is truly a foodie’s paradise. Our favorite spot to go for a bite is Carrer Blai, in the centre of Poble Sec. This pedestrian street is lined with tapas bars and there are great Indian restaurants nearby too. For a fancier experience go to El Nacional on Passeig de Gràcia, the place is gorgeous. Be sure to avoid the overpriced and touristy restaurants on La Rambla. Better go to Enric Granados in L’Eixample, a pedestrian street lined with art nouveau buildings, and restaurants and bars that cater to all tastes.
Where is the best nightlife in the world? In Spain! And within Spain? Barcelona. (Fine, Madrid has great parties too!) Note that by party we mean all kinds of night fun: from a violin and piano concert in a small terrace to mega-clubs with electronic music. In addition to the fantastic local artists, all international stars visit Barcelona, which already hosts two of the largest international music festivals in the world: Sonar and Primavera Sound. We are more into alternative bars and clubs, though. The small independent bars and clubs around El Raval are our favorites. A typical night begins over drinks and tapas in Carrer Joaquin Costa. Then we walk about, from bar to bar, with an open agenda. No need for a plan! Whatever you like, you will for sure find it here.
Do not hesitate to ask about what’s happening in the city during your stay. The agenda is so full and varied that there is always something interesting going on. However, several events are the backbone of Barcelona’s life. These are absolutely not to be missed! The Mercé Festival is dedicated to the local patron and is the biggest party in town. On the other hand, each neighborhood has its own local celebration, with Fiestas de Gràcia being the most fun. Other events you should not miss are the Carnival, Festa de Sant Joan and Sant Jordi.
Barcelona’s markets come in all sizes and sell just about everything. Almost every neighborhood has one. Some are true architectural gems, still alive today offering outstanding produce and a glimpse into the city’s everyday life. Granted, la Boquería on La Rambla is mega touristy, but who can resist eating delish food in such a gorgeous building? Three other ones not to be missed are the newly revamped Sant Antoni market, Santa Caterina market in Borne and Els Encants, a modern building in Poble Nou that specializes in used furniture.
As you can tell from our texts we are obsessed with views. Barcelona has plenty of them. First and foremost, go up to Montjuic Hill: the views to the entire city, the port, and the sea are stunning. Another favorite of ours, the civil war bunkers in Carmel, up in Turó Hill. For a closer look to the city, go up the bull ring turned into a shopping mall in Plaça Espanya and to the coffee shop on top of El Corte Inglés in Plaça Catalunya. No, we haven’t forgotten Tibidabo, the mountain that towers over Barcelona.
Did you know that within an hour from Barcelona on a super comfortable train you can visit empty beaches, ancient monasteries, Roman amphitheater and hills? Exactly, Catalonia is beautiful and worth visiting. Additionally, the local transport network is extensive and modern. Hence, it is very easy to bike to the station, board a train, hop off, bike for a couple of hours around amazing places, try delicious food and be back in Barcelona, all in one day. The most famous cities are Girona and Tarragona, the first one up in the hills and the second one by the sea.