zenbabytravel

Travelling with a baby

3 days in Barcelona and 17 things to see and do

3 days in Barcelona for us on this occassion was packed with fun, cultural gems, chill out by best rooftop pools, gorgeous architecture, great cuisine, fantastic clubs and nightlife. About my 10th time over the last 20 years – this is a city that I got to know and love through great Spanish and Catalan friends.  So after so many years, trips and local knowledge, I wrap up in here my top 17 things to see and do in Barcelona.

Fun things to do in Barcelona - Ohla rooftop pool

1. Get in the mood for Barcelona: Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona movie – it’s brilliant, puzzling and features an all star distribution including Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz and Scarlet Johnson. In case you’re younger or simply nostalgic of Uni days – L’auberge espagnole is fun and features gorgeous Barcelona landmarks. If you’d rather read – my favourite is the witty and completely unreliable Secret life of Salvador Dali – this is afterall one of my favourite artists, mad, visionary and completely controversial even for Catalans after he left most of his art to the Spanish ! Alternatively Carlos Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind sets you also in a wonderful mood. Download it on ipad for the flight in and eventually finish it by rooftop pool Barcelona overlooking Barrio Gotico.

Fun things to do in Barcelona - Ohla rooftop pool

2. Embrace the Mediteranean lifestyle. From rooftop pools to lounge bars by the beach, very late dinners and cava flowing from breakfast to the wee hours of the morning, Barcelona is one vibrant happy place. Make sure you soak in those healthy vibes and you do not overdo the touristy spots.

Rooftop pool Barcelona : Ohla via Laietana

3. Get lost in Barrio Gotico, immerse into superb arhitecture, stand by Cathedrals and listen into live street music. Things to see and do in Barcelona: get lost in Barrio gotico

4. Eat your way around tapas bars – pintxos, Catalan gorgeous cuisine and Spanish dishes. Condessa has been historically a favourite, on this occassion we also tested Oriol by the market and Can Pintxos on the busy sea front. Our must order include croquetas (jamon, mushroom, squid or prawn), olives, pan con tomate, alioli, gambas al allio (garlic prawns). Things to see and do in Barcelona: Tapas bars hopping

5. Gaudi is Barcelona’s iconic and visonary architect. Sagrada Familia is his master piece and we have seen it built over the years. Casa Batllo and Park Guell are amidst many others state of art landmarks with Park Guell ideal for a relaxing stroll .

Things to see and do in Barcelona: Sagrada Familia6.Shop your way around the small boutiques and cobbled streets – Dessigual is Barcelona’s iconic colourful happy brand but there’s so much more! Artisan jewelry and hand made shoes, funky dresses and swimwear.

7.Pick a rooftop pool Barcelona and chill. We chose Ohla hotel on this recent occassion, in the past we super indulged at Grand Central – same via Laietana, just few hundred meters away.

8.Picasso museum or if you’re happy to venture further to Figueres – Dali museum– about an hour and a half drive. Trust they need little introduction 😉

IMGP07779. Indulge in good cava and gorgeous Spanish wines, with jamon iberico/ pata negra and manchego. This is the city that taught us to have cava at breakfast years ago – Grand Hotel bar set the standard very high and since then there has been no going back. Of course Ohla hotel on Via Laietana had also very good cava in the morning. I’d usually wrap up a very late breakfast chilling by the rooftop pool with a glass or two to start the day.

Fun things to do in Barcelona - Ohla rooftop pool10.Explore the chaos and colourful Ramblas – just be mindful of your bag/ purse. Take a moment to reflect on the explorers in the old days – Christopher Columbus marks where the Ramblas meet the seafront. Nothing like wanderings and the adventures on the sea disvovering new lands!

Things to see and do in Barcelona: Christopher Columbus at the end of Ramblas11. Engage with the locals. I have great Spanish and Catalan friends for over 20 years – they are warm, curious and lovely. As a teen I got to spend weekends at their holiday homes in the Catalan countryside – a beautiful old farm renovated as a gorgeous villa with swimming pool, horses and animals. And then over the years I visited regularly and got to spend time with lovely Barcelona people.

Things to see and do in Barcelona: engage with locals

On this occassion – a 7 girls getaway week-end and hen party, as one might suspect, we had plenty of attention and friendly chats. From Ohla hotel lovely personnel, to talkative taxi drivers, staff in restaurants and felow clubbers. Catalans get very excited about London and London peeps – so we got to hear so many complimentary remarks and got to talk about restaurants, clubs and even latest Catalan – Spanish developments.

Things to see and do in Barcelona:

12.Learn about Catalan history through architecture and museums. Palacio de Musica Catalana is a fine example – few meters away from Ohla hotel and an architectural jewel of Catalan Art Nouveau, the only concert venue in this style to be listed as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.  By the seafront after Las Ramblas there’s also the Museum of Catalan History.

3 days in Barcelona

13. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife and get advice from locals on the latest non-touristy places to hang out. Over the years we partied at Omm hotel, went for dinner and clubbing at Shoko by the beach front, and had drinks at Pulitzer hotel and Cdlc. 2018 best clubbing voted the best on this occassion was Bling Bling, Gatsby and Sutton. Get a table and share champagne to skip the entrance fee and get a bit more space to dance, a comfy couch to seat and observe ocassionally, strawberries in chocolate and complimentary water. The parties were brilliant – we struggled to leave around 4am both mornings and the crowd was still going strong!

3 days in Barcelona

14.Tibidado for wonderful views from up high and in the summer for more clubbing.

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15.Beach bars by the sea. Historically Sunday brunch was always on CDLC or Opium. They are chilled and very refreshing especially after a big night out. Alternatively, W hotel pool overlooks the Mediteranean and Barcelona from the 26th floor.

 

16. Indulge sophisticated fusion cuisine. We spoilt ourselves at Ohla – both Plassohla and rooftop with salmon tartar, croquetas, foie mid cuit. The chef in residence – Martin Rodriguez – also has a 1 star Michelin restaurant – Caelis – just abova La Plassohla.

Things to see and do in Barcelona: sophisticated cuisine

17. More food for thought after visiting this gorgeous vibrant city? Watch Biautiful movie with Javier Bardem – drugs, nightlife, modern slavery. It’s fast paced, crazy, fun at occassions and merciless for the vulnerable.

 

Please bear in mind this is not 3 days in Barcelona itinerary, but rather highlights over the years as well as my favourite fun things to do in Barcelona.

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Barcelona weather April is typically a great combination of blue sunny skies and mild temperatures – an average 20-22 degrees mid to end of April. We tested Barcelona weather April on few occassion and always reached the same conclusion: perfect time to visit, sightsee, club, enjoy the pool and gorgeous rooftops without summer opressive temperatures mid 30s or even more.

rooftop pool Barcelona

Have you been and what are your favourite things to see and do in Barcelona?

CulturedKids

36 comments on “3 days in Barcelona and 17 things to see and do

  1. I love Barcelona so much I decided to live here! Great tips, I definitely back up your points. I haven’t seen the movies you mentioned, so I’ll have to add it to my list! Thanks for sharing. #FarawayFiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      April 26, 2018

      Haha Jess, that’s the best! All 3 movies are great – oldies but goldies I’d add – let me know your impressions. And thanks for the back-up, nothing like a resident pat on the back for picking the best out of this wonderful city !

  2. So many great suggestions! I’d love to lounge by that rooftop pool, and try out some of the must-order items that you recommended at at tapas bar!

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Indeed Bryna, my preferred way to soak in the vibes of the city 😉

  3. Cathy S.
    April 27, 2018

    I love your suggestions of what to do in Barcelona. Especially about watch the movies to get excited beforehand!

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Great to hear Cathy!

  4. Clare Thomson
    April 27, 2018

    I really need to check out some of those rooftop pools next time I’m in Barcelona! It’s such a wonderful, varied city. Love the Vicky Cristina Barcelona film and I really enjoyed The Shadow of the Wind – that would make a great film too, wouldn’t it? Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Indeed wonderful and varied Clare! Put Ohla on via Laietana on our list – you don’t even have to be a guest of the hotel, you can just have cava, a bite and a splash – perfect spot to chill out!

  5. Love this city! #FarawayFiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      It’s so easy to love it indeed!

  6. Hilary
    April 29, 2018

    Barcelona is one of our favorite places on the planet! We love the food, which my US auto correct is making it difficult to type about, and the amazing lifestyle. I’m definitely going to look into one of those roof top pools next time I’m there! Hopefully soon… #farawayfiles

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Hoping you get to go back soon Hilary, put Ohla and Grand Central hotels on your list for the rooftop pools! Also at Ohla via Laietana you don’t have to be a guest of the hotel, you can just have cava, a bite and a splash – perfect spot to chill out!

      • Hilary
        May 2, 2018

        Ooh! Thank you! Will save these for when we get back!

  7. I love Barcelona and it’s the city I’ve visited most often. How gorgeous does that rooftop pool look!

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      That’s both lucky and wise Sam 😉

  8. Tanja
    May 1, 2018

    I’ve visited Barcelona but now that I have a baby another visit is due:) #citytripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Hehe Tanja sounds good to me, enjoy!

  9. Allison
    May 1, 2018

    Barcelona sounds like such a fun city! #citytripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Absolutely Allison, one of the most fun European cities!

  10. Milly Youngman
    May 1, 2018

    I loved Barcelona! I definitely want to go back though, as there were so many things I missed out on last time round #citytripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      I know Milly, it’s a city impossible to exhaust even in 2 weeks – which was the lenght of my first stay about 18 years ago!

  11. Nicky @GoLiveYoung
    May 1, 2018

    I loved Barcelona when i visited for the weekend with friends. Would love to go back with my boys. There’s so much to see and do #CityTripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Likewise Nicky, have to go with my boys but I reckon they will enjoy more just a but older!

  12. MummyTravels
    May 1, 2018

    I do love wandering around Barcelona- my last trip was without my daughter so there were a few glasses of cava and loads of tapas! I can never get enough Gaudi either, it was amazing to see how the Sagrada Familia had changed between my last two visits. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Pleasure as always Cathy;)

  13. Thoroughly Modern Grandma
    May 2, 2018

    I love Barcelona and it’s a great place to wander around in as there’s so much to see and do and they have great seafood 🙂 #citytripping

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 2, 2018

      Oh yes the seafood! Ceviche fried sashimi tapas – all bliss and going so nicely with the cava!

  14. Cultural Wednesday
    May 4, 2018

    Those rooftop pools look wonderful #CulturedKids

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 14, 2018

      It is indeed Catherine! trust you are enjoying your current Spanish travels!

  15. Scarlett Roitman
    May 5, 2018

    It was fun touring Barcelona with you. I must remember to watch the Woody Allen film! #CulturedKids

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 14, 2018

      Great to hear Scarlett!

  16. ushasita
    May 5, 2018

    I loved Barcelona, the food , people and Gaudi s Architecture. I watched Vicki Christina Barcelona after I cam back, but must say I read the book Shadow of Winds , which made me want to to visit Barcelona. I would so love to visit again and especially the roof top pools. # culturekids

    • Zen Babytravel
      May 14, 2018

      I know, what’s not to love in Barcelona, right?

  17. ushasita
    May 15, 2018

    Absolutely 😄

  18. pigeonpairandme
    May 16, 2018

    It’s years since I’ve been to Barcelona, but OH, the Ramblas! And those rooftop bars. It’s such a gorgeous city – I really must go back soon. #CulturedKids

  19. Pingback: Barcelona with baby -first holiday abroad with baby - zenbabytravel

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