When I moved to Barcelona for my Erasmus exchange, someone gave me a handwritten list with recommendations. She was doing her Master’s degree in Barcelona and made an overview of her favorite places. I used her list throughout my exchange and eventually updated it with my tips.
Now, eight years later, and after visiting Barcelona various times, I updated the list with the help of some friends living in Barcelona.
You can find the bars and restaurants arranged per neighborhood, so it’s easy to find places close to where you’re staying.
I also created a Google Maps Layer to make it easier to find each spot. I hope this helps you to enjoy your next trip to Barcelona!
Each place in this blog includes links to TripAdvisor or Google Maps.
Gracia is a residential area north of L’Eixample and Placa Catalunya.
The area has organized streets with fancier food & drink options that are a bit more pricey.
Barceloneta is the neighborhood next to the beach.
Although Barcelona has better beaches outside of the city, it’s nice to have them close to the city center.
Have a walk on the beach and enjoy the view from the famous W-Hotel, but please avoid the street sold mojitos. Instead, buy your drinks at a supermarket or one of the beach bars.
Poblenou is an underexplored area of Barcelona but has a lot to offer.
It’s the artistic neighborhood of the city with designers, artists, hip cafes, and tapas bars along the Rambla de Poblenou.
Many places are converted factories housing tech offices and design showrooms.
El Born is a central neighborhood but maintained its alternative vibe.
You can find all types of bars and restaurants, often with their unique design.
Most places are more relaxed and typically cheaper than many of the other areas in Barcelona.
Gótico is still some of my favorite places in Barcelona.
With its tall houses and small (somewhat dirty) streets, you’ll quickly get lost and discover a handful of new bars and restaurants.
Gotico is an excellent area to stay if you enjoy beers and parties. For families, the quieter Eixample and Gracia may be better.
L’Eixample is the area just north of Plaza de Cataluyna.
Where Gotico and Raval are known for their labyrinths of small streets, Eixample is characterized by its wide streets and housing blocks (like in the picture above).
Eixample is known for two of Gaudi’s houses, Casa Batllo and Casa Mila, slightly more expensive than everything south of Plaza Catalunya but quieter and more local.
When I moved to Barcelona, I had the chance to move into a house in Raval. Because Raval was one of the shadier areas of Barcelona, I decided on another place in Gótico instead.
Although not all areas in Raval are great (especially at night), the neighborhood offers many artsy and non-mainstream options.
Barcelona has a wide variety of clubs. What most people don’t know, however, is that you can get into many famous clubs without waiting in line but putting yourself on one of the guest lists.
These lists are handy if you’re going to one of the beach clubs like Opium, Shoko, and Pacha or Sutton and BlingBling.
Do note that you have to arrive before a specific time (for example, 12 o’clock or 2 am.)
I’ve saved all the recommendations as a Google Maps Layer to make things a little easier for you. You can use this layer on your phone and see all bars, restaurants, clubs, and sightseeing activities close to you.
After writing this post, a guy from Barcelona shared his favorite local food tips. You can find them in this maps layer.
If you’re planning to stay in Barcelona and learn Spanish, look at my post Best way to learn Spanish: How to go from A1 to C2.
Do you also want book, movie, and music recommendations from Spain? In that case, check out the complete Cultural List.
If you visited any of my recommendations, had good or bad experiences, or have other tips, please comment below!