Hey you! What do you know about Barcelona? Do you want to experience Barcelona like a local?
Well, you surely know that is a great city with lots of crazy parties and nice beaches. That was the image I had about it, and I was proved right when I first came here to spend a weekend in 2013. But this city is much more than that. The aim of this article is to inspire every person not necessarily to come visit Barcelona because we have plenty of tourists here already, but to make you be aware of the difference between visiting a city for a few days and living in it for a period of time. And of course, I will share with you my favorite places here! 😉
My nickname is Neska, I’m 26 years-old, and I’m in love with the great things life has to offer: food and traveling. I’ve been living in Barcelona for a year and a half and I must say: this really could be a city where I could spend all my life! Well, only if I didn’t have this traveling addiction; I’m sure most of you know what I’m talking about! I live with my Frenchy flatmate in a calm neighborhood in the city center. We are planning a big trip around the world and, in the meantime, we go abroad every time we can! Yes, this is one of the cool things of Barcelona, you have a big airport with cheap flights everywhere in Europe☺ (last January I visited Roma for 40€ round trip, that cost me less than getting a new haircut!).
Ok, let’s start and explore the 7 Ways to Experience Barcelona Like A Local!
Experience Barcelona Like A Local – Go for Sunday Brunch
I particularly like the Sundays in Barcelona, firstly, because it’s mostly sunny, and secondly, because you have always new things to do! For example, you can go for a brunch on the rooftop of the hotel Ayre – carrer Rossello, 390, where you have an amazing view of the heart of the city: the Sagrada Familia. It’s not cheap but it’s definitely worth the view. You can get a drink, a salad, and a coffee for 20€. It’s a great idea to sunbathe in this kind of place; not very big (so not many tourists), with chilled music but without a swimming pool.
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Experience Barcelona Like A Local – Visit the Exhibition
Then, you can go to see an exhibition about Andy Warhol at the Caixa Forum, a cultural center managed by the Caixa, which is one of the most important Spanish banks, located near one of the famous “Plaza España”.
This is another highlight of the city – you never get bored of cultural activities. There are monuments to visit and new exhibitions every day. For the fans of Game of Thrones, we are hosting an exhibition (the biggest exhibition in the world by the way!!!) from the 28th of October 2017 until the 7th of January 2018 with more than 1000 sqm in the Maritime Museum only dedicated to the series! I can’t wait to visit it!!! I wish I could meet John Snow… (Please, let me dream!).
For the fans of music, I need to mention about the exhibition we had about David Bowie from May 25th to September 25th (yeah sorry it’s over!). This event traced all his life, musically and personally. You had headphones which automatically detected in front of which picture you were and told you the story about it. You could observe his show outfits, vinyls all along the walk… The last room was made of only giant screens around showing his concerts to recreate the feeling you would have when you were at a real show! A good way to end the visit. Of course, at the exit, you had the shop with all the goodies and stuff related to him.
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Experience Barcelona Like A Local – Admire Antoni Gaud’s Art
Staying on the art topic… I cannot write about Barcelona without mentioning the mythical artist who reigns over the city: Antoni Gaudi. The Sagrada Familia is, of course, his biggest artwork. However, his touch and feel are present in many other places such as the Parc Guell, La Pedrera, the Torre Bellesguard and the one below: the Casa Batllo located on the important avenue Passeig de Gracia.
For me, this unique artist participated in building the city’s authentic soul… and if you really want to feel its vibe, the best way to do it is by leaving the city to go on a walk around the perfect spot: the Tibidabo, which is the highest point in Barcelona. It’s very nice to spend a day there. You can find some restaurants, a temple called the “Templo Sagrado Corazon de Jesus” and a fun fair with a lot of fun rides for kids of all ages, like a nice colored ferris wheel!
Experience Barcelona Like A Local – Visit Port of Barcelona
Apart from the city, there’s another place you must visit – the Port of Barcelona. Maybe it’s because I like boats, or maybe just because it’s magical seeing the sunset over there. I will always remember when I took the picture below, on January 15; it was so peaceful and beautiful. These moments make you feel alive.
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Experience Barcelona Like A Local – Savour the Best Restaurants
As I told you at the beginning, I’m in love with traveling and also… with food. So, here are my favorite restaurants in Barcelona. Obviously, it depends on what you want to eat. If you have a hangover (surely you will have at least one if you stay long enough in this city) and all you want is junk food – here are the top two of favorite restaurants.
- The Bacoa, is one of the most famous restaurants in the city. There are several branches but the best one is located in front of the sea. It gives you the best view!
- The TimesBurg, also very good with several spots in the city. Trust me, the fries are so freakkkking goooooood!
Both are very affordable, you can have fries + hamburger + drink for less than 15€. They both have the same system; you must fill in a sheet of paper where you pick your bread, your meat (you have also vegetarian options) and the fillings you want on your burger. You can choose any extra topping by ticking a box and of course, each extra has a cost (between 0.50 and 2€). The advantage is that you can always eat a different combination of flavors. In this way, you can exclude all the things you don’t like. The best thing is that it’s made by you!
If you are like me, Italian food lover, you must go to Luigi – carrer Roger de Llúria, 50. I go there at least once per month. The pasta is delicious (and I really love pasta!) and the pizzas are made in a stone oven. If you like olives, the ones they serve you while you are waiting are a-m-a-z-i-n-g. At the end, they always offer their limoncello “de la casa” (homemade) – or a mango shot without alcohol.
The picture is the Carbonara pasta; plates are between 10€ and 15€ and dessert between 5€ and 10€.
Otherwise, if you are addicted to the new lifestyle of “brunching”, you can go to one of the many places that have opened in Barcelona these few years. Flax and Kale, Brunch and Cake, Alsur Cafe… The pictures below are from Cup & Cake – Carrer Rosselló, 189. They taste as good as they look!
I won’t mention too much about tapas restaurants because there are thousands in Barcelona. I will only recommend you my favorite which is the Bilbao Berria – Plaça Nova, 3. They offer a great choice of tapas. For example, the “Pan con tomate” which is very typical from Cataluña (here they called it the “Pan Tumaca”). It’s toasted bread with mashed tomatoes and a bit of garlic and olive oil. The Bilbao Berria is very well located in the “Gotic barrio”, a very nice neighborhood.
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Experience Barcelona Like A Local – Enjoy Local Beer
Make sure you don’t miss out on the Moritz and Estrella Damm. For the beer lovers, you must know that Barcelona counts several Irish Pubs such as The Georges Payne – Urquinaona Square, 5 – or The Michael Collins – Sagrada Familia Square, 4 – but Barcelona has also its own beers!
If you want to test the Moritz, THE place to go is the Moritz factory. (Location: Ronda de Sant Antoni 39)
You can visit the factory and see how they produce the beer. But if you are not interested, you can just sit down and have a beer and some tortilla (Spanish specialty cooked with eggs, potatoes and onions). Just go downstairs to the toilet and you will see a part of the huge tanks where the beer is refined. Check out here for more information.
The other option is to visit the factory of the Estrella Damm. I haven’t been there yet (it’s on my list!) but I really like their website. You should have a look at their promotional videos. I shall let you discover who is this year’s protagonist (a famous dwarf but none of Snow White…).
Experience Barcelona Like A Local – Remember 18th of August 2017
I cannot finish this article without having a word and a deep thought for what happened on 18th of August 2017. This event deeply touched all the city and we can feel the sadness all around in the streets… But people remain united and despite the sadness, we can also feel the strength against terrorism and fear.
As you might have understood, I don’t like this city. I love it, I love its unique soul which is deeply fascinating. I hope one day you will get the chance to be charmed as I am. And if you are the lucky one, please tell us: What do you think about Barcelona’s soul?
Before you go, check out this awesome Barcelona video by an awesome traveler Reformatt!
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About the Traveler
My name is Esther, my nickname is Neska, I’m 26 years old and I was born in Bayonne, a city in the Bask Country. I’m currently living in Barcelona and I swear, I love this city! I’m working as a sales assistant to save some money in order to make a big trip around the world. It’s a dream I have since I was a child and, trust me, I’m sooooooo determined to make it come true!!
Of course, I also travel as often as I can. Most of my trips were around Europe; I’ve already visited some capitals such as Paris, Madrid, Lisbon, Roma, Dublin, London, Brussels, Amsterdam…
I share all my adventures on my Instagram account: Neskatraveller. I hope to see you there!