Food, Fitness & Vermouth...
I am lucky enough to be currently based in Barcelona for a whole 10 weeks while my boyfriend, Jason works from a boat here. Thanks to the wonderful likes of Zoom I am also able to continue my Pilates and Personal Training online from here too (I do love my job!).
This means that I am able to get a real insight in to living here. In between all my teaching I am on a mission to try out lots of new places and do lots of cool things and then pass all my recommendations on to you!
This is a work in progress so please do let me know if you have anything else that I must do or try whilst here.
No Ubers but there are plenty of taxis everywhere you go.
Vermouth is a real thing. My latest obsession and it is there readily available at any time of day and on every street! See below for my fave spots.
Tap water – it is drinkable but not the nicest (in my opinion). It seems fine when you get it at restaurants though.
No cash needed – everything is card payment.
QR codes - make sure phone has the ability to do QR codes as this is where you will find the menu in most places.
Foodie heaven – eat out as much as you possibly can – so much good stuff here, and not just Spanish cuisine.
Fitness fitness fitness – it’s a great place to be when you love fitness as much as I do. Plenty of outside classes, great studios, gyms and not forgetting the beach for all your swimming and running needs!
Watch out for!
Be careful of traffic! It is taking me a long time to get used to the roads here, they don’t always make sense in terms of what way the traffic is coming/ going so just be extra cautious. There are also lots of cobbled side streets that you may think are just pavements until a car comes whooshing past!
Bike lanes on pavements everywhere- watch out! Similar to above but perhaps a little less expected is bikes/ scooters/ roller-bladders going very fast down the lanes that are in the middle of the pavement (definitely not obvious at first!).
Watch your valuables - this is a tip that everyone gives me every time I go to Barcelona, yet I haven't thankfully experienced for myself (touch wood!). It's just worth being aware of this in the more busy and touristy areas.
My favourite area by far. Full to the brim of super cool restaurants, bars, independent shops, terraces and all the cobbled lanes that you expect and want to experience when coming to Barcelona. Plenty of hidden gems here and the best place to potter around.
El Gotico (Gothic Quarter)
The old town of Barcelona, next door to El born and fairly similar feel with lots of lovely winding laneways and narrow streets. It's also home to tourist hotspot Las Ramblas (pickpocket zone!) and Barcelona cathedral.
I'm a big fan of this area, this has a lot to do with the fact it is right by the beach! It is also less busy and has some great spots to have a drink (vermouth of course!) with a more local/ Spanish feel to it.
The beach has been cleared up in recent years and in my opinion is what makes Barcelona a better city and weekend away than anywhere else. The water always has that inviting look about it, even in the midst of winter! It makes for an excellent run or walk and there is always plenty of fitness going on around, including their version of muscle beach! This is where you will find the W Hotel (definitely worth the splurge if you fancy a treat!). On the downside you will struggle to find good coffee or bars here though, all quite touristy
Gracia has a very local, laidback vibe with lots of quaint shops, cafes and markets. Quieter pace of life. Home to Park Guell.
CODE: (v) – vegetarian | * - I liked | ** I really liked | *** I LOVE! | x Not worth they hype
Red Ant ** @redantnoodles
Honest Greens (v) *** @honestgreens
Green Spot (v) *** @thespotbarcelona
BarCeloneta Sangria Bar (v) * @barceloneta_sangriabar
Zirab Fusion Tapas Bar ** @zirabbcn
NAP Pizza ** @napofficial
Koku Kitchen Ramen & Gyoza ** @kokukitchen
Elsa Y Fred *** @elsayfred
Roots & Rolls * @rootsandrolls
Lady Dumpling ** @lady.dumpling
Rasaterra (v) * @rasaterrabcn
Tapas (all on my list to try):
Milk * @milk_bar_bistro
Flax & Kale *** @flaxandkale
Federal Café *** @federalcafebar
Oakberry *** @oakberryacai
Espai Joliu * @espaijoliu
Caravelle *** @caravelle31
Eat My Trip * @eatmytrip
Lulu & Flyn ** @luluandflyn
CODE: (V) – Great Vermouth | * - I liked | ** I really liked | *** I LOVE!
Mr Robinson *** @mrrobinsonbarcelona
Carlos & Matilda *** @carlosandmatilda
Clubhaus ** @iamclubhaus
1881 per Sagardi ** @1881persagardi
Dr Stravinsky ***
Bodega El Born (V) *** @bodgeaelborn
Perikete (V) *** @periketetapas
Rubi Gin Bar * @rubiginbar
Paradiso *** @paridiso_barcelona
Bar Story (V) *
Creps Al Born (V) ** @crepsalbornbcn
Bormuth (V) **
Bar Farola ** @farolabcn
La Vinya del Senyor ***
Please bear in mind that I am very much a decaf coffee person so I am unable to comment on the strong stuff. However I have used Jasons judgement for the non decaf variety and with him being Australian he does seem to know his stuff!
There is a lot of goof coffee in Barcelona, sadly not a lot of places to do decaf though, much to my dismay (any with a 'D' below do good decaf though):
Flax & Kale (D) ** @flaxandkale
Federal Café (D)*** @federalcafebar
Honest Greens (D) ** @honestgreens
Caravelle *** @caravelle31
I am a little sea obsessed and so whenever I have the opportunity to run alongside the ocean I will take it! Barcelona is so perfect for it too, plenty of pavement space to run along and you can always go for a little dip after. My favourite time to go is at sunrise - nothing beats seeing the sun come up over the sea!
Another area a little further out is Montjuïc - an area with lots of parks and gardens and with pretty impressive views too! Be prepared for a few hills though!
The sea is often so still, so blue and so inviting that you just have to jump in! Plenty of people do long swims in the sea and it looks utter bliss!
If you are after a pool then Club Natacio Atletic is the next best thing, right next to the beach and heated (perfect for winter!). It's 12EUR entrance.
G-ILATES On Demand
There is plenty of outdoor space ready for some G-ILATES On Demand- all you need is your phone and a mat (or towel). My favourite spot is by the beach and past the W Hotel. Here there is a large open space to set yourself up with a view overlooking the ocean. Click here to rent a Pilates class.
There are many bike hire stores in the centre of Barcelona. Their version of Boris bikes unfortunately are only for locals. There are great bike lanes everywhere (if a little annoying for pedestrians!). I recommend cycling along the beach front and stopping off at any beaches that take your fancy.
Urban Gorillas (@urbangorillas.fitness) run a range of fitness classes, including yoga, functional training and TRX. Not all of them are in English so it's worth checking. We did do a yoga class in Spanish though and I did really enjoy listening to the beautiful Spanish language (although I understood none of it!). The best bit about these classes is the location on the W Hotel terrace overlooking the sea - hard to beat!
Simplybe (@simplybepilates) do English speaking mat Pilates classes.
W Barcelona Fitness Centre have a huge gym and spa area - you can pay for day or half day passes which includes the use of the pool too.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog. I really hope you enjoyed it and that my tips are helpful for when you next visit Barcelona (get booking now I say!).
If you have any suggestions of places that I must try whilst here then do let me know as I do love peoples recommendations!
If you are planning a trip to Barca soon and have any questions about anything in this blog please get in touch.