Travelers, gather round. On a constant mission to find cool places that are off the over-beaten tourist trail, we caught up with photographer Kate Forster to get her finds from a recent flying visit to Barcelona. With such a great eye for beautiful things (check out her Instagram, @misskatef), we keenly listened for all her recommendations.
I was slightly apprehensive about booking a city break. Being a London-dweller, I don’t feel the words ‘city’ and ‘break’ compliment each other particularly well…Nevertheless, we decided to book a short break to Barcelona and I don’t regret it.
Where to stay
The Ola Exiample is a relatively new boutique hotel in the Exiample district of the City. Its modernist features and super-cool industrial/Scandi design is the perfect home away from home for a few days. With a rooftop pool and - I quote – the. Most. Comfortable bed I have ever slept in, it’s certainly a little piece of tranquility amongst the busy city.
Where to brunch
If, like most people in 2016, you can’t go for breakfast without a whiff of avocado toast & a side of pancakes, then Barcelona is your ultimate brunching destination. This came to me as a complete surprise as I ate my way around the city one acai bowl at a time!
If you’re a keen juicer and/or vegetarian, then Flax and Kale should be top of your list. It was love at first sight (or first taste?). The menu offers very reasonably-priced breakfast, brunch and dinner options which are 80% plant-based. It also offers vegan and gluten-free options. The atmosphere is trendy and stylish, and the quinoa pancakes with blueberries are a dream!
Where to wander
If you don’t have the luxury of time, then condensing Barcelona’s many beautiful landmarks can be quite taxing! That said, the city is compact and getting around is easy.
Montjuïc Mountain is a great starting point. Take the funicular to the top of the mountain for epic views of the city. The peaceful tranquility is soothing, and the fresh breeze is much needed during the summer months. When making your way down (on foot) be sure to wander through the infamous Cactus Park which boasts 800 different cactus species...that’s a lot of spikes!
After being transported from the Californian desert back to coastal Spain, make sure to hit Las Ramblas and St Josep La Boquera. The main avenue veers off to a maze of tiny streets with a treasure trove of shops and galleries to explore. The market is huge and has stalls upon stalls of fresh fruits, juices, fish and poultry.
Where to coffee
Barcelona is most definitely a city you can enjoy on foot. However, this does have quite the impact on your energy levels. My mind wandered frequently to where the next caffeine hit would come from. After becoming rather lost in the streets of the Barrio Gòtico, we stumbled across Satan’s Coffee Corner - a shrine to PROPER coffee (not Satan). After a delicious flat white and a few Instagrammable cup shots, I was re-energized and ready to go. Make sure you map this one out, as it can be tricky to find.
Where to tapas
You can’t visit Barcelona without tapas (or churros, right?). Regardless of which you prefer, Tantarantana will suffice all your cultural foodie needs and more. Tucked nearby the Parque de la Ciudadela, you’ll find a cosy and very traditional tapas bar. Both romantic and friendly, the atmosphere oozes with Jazz music, candle light and many a glass of red wine. The menu is classic, from croquettes and bravas, to ceviche and buttery greens.
Come nightfall, Barcelona is very much alive. The streets are busy with locals and tourists wandering, drinking, eating and performing. It’s well worth the afternoon siesta in exchange for a late night. If you’re like me and enjoy ending your evening with a cocktail, then head to Boca Chica. The interiors are as beautiful as the locals who drink here! Grab a gin and tonic and head down to the bathroom (no, I am not joking, you won’t leave!)…