Viva Barcelona!

Barcelona is such a vibrant city that the best way to discover its essence is by taking an active approach, staying as busy as the Barcelonians themselves who never seem to sit still. So, take a deep breath, and explore the amazing architecture of Antoni Gaudí and the modern Catalan cuisine that have created such a stir in the world with their playful ways to defy convention.  

10 favourite destinations for a perfect weekend in Barcelona:

Tip no. 1: El Palauet Living – a Travel Destination for Sophisticates

No other architectural style is as characteristic for Barcelona’s cityscape as “Modernisme” – the Catalan version of Art Nouveau. El Palauet is a “modernismic” bourgeois mansion built in 1906, its name translating into “Little Palace.” Privacy is taken seriously here, and nothing but a discreet plaque tells you that the building is home to a small suite hotel. Furniture by Eames, Citterio and Saarinen, bathrooms designed by Philippe Starck, rare textiles and modern kitchens all lend the suites a contemporary touch.  

Tip no. 2: Hotel Neri – birdsong and silence in the heart of the Barrio Gótico

A charming gem in the Gothic quarter, absolutely quiet and yet right where the action is. Warm hues, rare textiles, large chandeliers, fresh-cut flowers, and chill-out sounds create an urban sanctuary. Inside, modern design blends with historic elements reminiscent of the building’s past, including the ancient walls. The impressive lobby and the hotel’s hallways are decorated with contemporary art. The spaghetti-like sofa “Boa” on the first floor, designed by the brothers Fernando and Humberto Campana, or a hammock on the rooftop – at the Neri, everyone is sure to find a favourite spot for recovering from exploratory trips downtown.  

Tip no. 3: Mercer – time-travelling in Barcelona

The Mercer is built right against the first-century city walls. The restaurant is located inside an ancient fortified tower. You will keep discovering historic elements, such as medieval frescoes and columns from the 17th century. With its accomplished urban design, the hotel brilliantly balances past and present.  

Tip no. 4: The 5 Rooms – a B&B for creative minds

A charming señora with German roots, Yessica Delgado Fritz worked in the fashion industry for many years, and used to do quite a bit of travelling. It was in New York City that she developed a passion for fancy bed & breakfasts. In 2005, she made her dream come true by turning a large apartment in a period building into her very own five-bedroom B&B marked by a stark beauty. She was inundated with inquiries from the start. Today, her immaculately styled bed & breakfast, The 5 Rooms, extends over two floors and actually divides into 12 rooms. Exposed brick walls, wooden floors, nostalgic bathrooms with large walk-in showers will amaze even seasoned globetrotters. Ingo Maurer’s designer ceiling light “Zettel’z” hängs in the open-plan breakfast room. This is where like-minded art and design aficionados congregate over breakfast, comparing notes and merrily networking.  

Tip no. 5: Tickets – best-known Tapas Bar in Barcelona

A mixture of cinema, circus and garage: funny, flamboyant and a bit freaky. With the fêted three-star restaurant “elBulli” now closed, the avant-garde cuisine of Ferran Adrià lives on in the form of tapas. Adrià runs the Tickets together with his brother Albert and the Iglesias family. They serve great cuisine at very reasonable prices.  

Tip no. 6: Botafumeiro – honest fish cuisine without frills

There is no shortage of seafood restaurants in Barcelona. But arguably none of them is as authentic as the Botafumeiro. It was in 1975 that Moncho Neira opened this legendary fish restaurant. Today, fresh catch is flown in from Galicia on the restaurant’s own plane, using large water tanks. The seafood goes on display in fish tanks installed in the restaurant’s entrance area. So, you can pick your very own lobster or king prawn. The menu also features rare fare such as “Percebes” (goose barnacles).  

Tip no. 7: Cinc Sentits – new Catalan cuisine

It’s all in the name – an intoxicating culinary experience for all five senses. Jordi Artal’s cuisine is as aesthetic as it is sensual. His nifty creations focus entirely on taste. Each dish contains a surprise that will catch you off guard. The Cinc Sentits is a must-do for any gourmet eager to discover the new Catalan cuisine.  

Tip no. 8: Petit Comitè – creative and rebellious

If you really want to pamper your palate in Barcelona, treat it to dinner at the Petit Comitè. Nandu Jubany has taken grandma’s recipes and reinterpreted them with finesse. For him, eating is not just a gustatory experience, but is also meant to fill the bill.  

Tip no. 9: Boqueria Market – vibrant and colourful

The Mercat de la Boqueria is considered one of the most impressive public markets in the world, and justifiably so. You will find anything here that the sea or the mountains have to offer, available in a huge variety and excellent quality. Fruit and vegetables are piled into tantalising mounds of every colour, and the clear eyes of the fish will watch you as you stroll past them. As with any market, it is a good idea to come early.  

Tip no. 10: Pinotxo Bar – your tapas dream come true

If you don’t quite feel like having Jamon Iberico de Bellota or squid with white beans first thing in the morning, start your visit to the market at the Pinotxo Bar. It sells the finest ensaimadas (fluffy pastry) and “dulces chucho” (a sort of deep-fried croissant with vanilla cream), and either one goes well with a “cortado de Juanito.”  

Ready for more? We have compiled 330 hotel and restaurant tips for you on pillowandpepper.com—each one of them tested in person, on location.  

Using our concierge booking service will make your trip picture perfect. As a registered member of our travel community, you may entrust yourself to the care of our concierge, who knows every single place listed here. The concierge will request the best online rate for the finest room available, reserve tables in the trendiest restaurants, take care of every detail, and put together the perfect trip for you.