What I did and saw:
Playa de Bogatell-
Although I prefer beaches in surrounding areas like Castelldefels or Vilanova i la Geltru, the Boatel beach is much more convenient to get to. It's tough to find a major city anywhere in the world that features a beach within walking distance. Also, Boatel beach offers nice views of some of Barcelona's skyline and iconic W Hotel.
While it's not a particularly spectacular theater, Yelmo Cines is relatively cheap and it shows movies in their original language.
Poblenou Open Day-
The Poblenou neighborhood has an annual "Open Day," which features all kinds of free activities. Also, many area restaurants and businesses have various deals during that time. It's a great time to explore the area.
Palo Alto Market-
The Palo Alto Market Fest is a cool market with great food options and many different interesting products for sale. While there is a fee to enter, there are free samples at many of the booths (although some booths can play the guilt card to try to get you to buy the sampled product). Also, the entry fee helps to keep pickpockets away (something the Barcelona area is notorious for).
Nova Icària Fitness Natural-
If you are looking for a place to get a free workout in in Barcelona, Nova Icaria is one of there best places I've found. While it can get cold in the winter and packed in the summer, Barcelona's climate allows for outdoor workouts for much of the year. Being able to workout next to there Mediterranean is really nice, and being able to do it for free is even better.
I was able to visit both the Independent Barcelona Coffee Festival (IBCF) as well as the Catalonian Aeropress Championships while in Barcelona. Both of them were fun events to check out for a coffee nerd, and both events had lots of free goodies to offer.
Where I ate and drank:
SKYE Coffee Co.-
Serving their coffee out of a van parked inside a warehouse space, Skye Coffee serves quality brews. Although they have filter coffee on their menu, many times when I went they were only offering espresso based drinks (which were still good). Also, the setup is designed to be a meeting/event space, and it played host to the above-mentioned IBCF I checked out.
Nomad Roaster's Home-
While Nomad has a few locations in Barcelona, they roast their beans at their Poblenou location. Their beans are used at many of the craft coffee shops in the Barcelona area.
The Catalan translation of Espai Joliu is "pretty space," and the plants set up in the cafe help Espai Joliu live up to its name. The plants (and some of the art) are actually for sale, and the coffee is great. They also offer a handful of tasty food options.
One of the best smoothie place I've found in Barcelona is Juice Dudes. They have some quality, healthy, tasty options.
Edge Brewing is an excellent brewery started by American ex-pats. Although their brewery is rarely open, you can find their beers at many craft beer spots in the city. They do open their own doors about once a month, and if you sign up for their mailing list they will let you know when.
Carrot Cafe serves great sandwiches and burgers, tasty desserts, and craft beers.
The "Menu del dia" is a popular concept in Spain, and it is a lunchtime fixed price meal that usually includes 2-3 courses and a drink for 10-15 Euros. One of the best I've had in Barcelona is at Granja Mabel, and I would highly recommend it.
Com a Itàlia-
If you are looking for inexpensive but quality Italian street food in Barcelona, Com a Italia is a great option. Their pizza and arancini are both very tasty.
Located just outside the Parc de la Ciutadella, Cafe Menssana offers some excellent, healthy food and drink options. Some of their offerings include kombucha, teas, wraps, and a variety of "bowls" with quality tasty ingredients.
My favorite thing:
My favorite thing about the Sant Marti area is the ability to workout for free on the beach. I also really enjoy some of the cafes in the area, and some of the things produced in the area (Nomad coffee and Edge beer) are found in cafes and craft beer spots throughout the city.
My least favorite thing:
There is not much to dislike about the Sant Marti area. However, I was unfortunately pickpocketed on the metro in the Sant Marti area (although that can happen in many areas of Barcelona).
For next time:
There are a number of cafes in Sant Marti that I would like to get to such as Little Fern, and there are a handful of restaurants and craft beer spots like Cerveseria L'alternativa that I would like to check out.
What I did and saw:
In the city of Barcelona there are beautiful buildings to be found in every area. However, in terms of sightseeing, none of the real Barcelona hotspots are in the L'Antiga Esquerra de l'Eixample area. However, the area is a hotspot for the rising craft beer scene in Barcelona. Thanks to this, the main things I did in this area were try some amazing craft beer, eat some good food, and have some great conversation with interesting people.
Where I ate and drank:
After starting in Scotland, Brewdog has since breached out and opened locations in many countries across the world. This led to their creation of the Intergalactic Beer Visa, which they stamp at each of their locations. I got my first stamp at their Barcelona location where I was living at the time. They offer super tasty drinks, food, and good wifi, friendly staff, and it's a fun place to hangout with friends.
Mikkeller Bar Barcelona-
Another excellent location for craft beer in Barcelona is Mikkeller. These Scandinavian nomadic brewers serve up some of the best drinks I've ever had and also offer some very good food.
Kraftank Barcelona (formerly Napar BCN)-
If you're looking to get excellent craft beer while watching a sporting event, Kraftank is a good option. The often show sports on TV, but if it's a big game then getting a reservation would are a good idea. They also offer a handful of good food options.
Garage Beer Co-
Another solid inclusion on the up-and-coming craft beer scene in Barcelona is Garage Beer Co. They offer solid craft beer in a relaxed, comfortable space.
Another excellent craft beer spot in the Eixample area is BierCab, which features a bottle shop for take-home options in addition to their offerings at their bar/restaurant.
Rosses i Torrades - Celler de Cerveses-
If you are looking for hard to find, excellent craft brews, Rosses i Torrades is a great place to check out. Although they are primarily a bottle shop for take-away options, they also offer a few drinks on tap.
Hopposite BCN-- closed
L´Espumossa Art & Cervesa Bar-- closed
With multiple locations in Barcelona, Chivuos is a great place to get an excellent sandwich and a quality craft beer.
Galeria Cosmo is a nice cafe with some nice juices, good food options and good espresso. They also host a variety of different events and pop-up shops.
While their food options were unfortunately outside of my budget, The Alchemix also offers some tasty and well-presented cocktails.
DeLaCrem is one of my favorite gelato spots in Barcelona.
My favorite hamburger spot in Barcelona is Goiko grill.
Balmes Rosselló is a good restaurant with a varied menu, but their specialty is "the sword," which is like a massive, delicious shish-kabob.
Tomasso - New York Pizza-
If you are looking for quality New York style pizza in Barcelona, Tomasso is a solid spot.
Brunch & Cake-
Brunch & Cake has a few different locations in Barcelona, and three of their locations are in the Eixample area. While they are still one of my favorite breakfast spots in Barcelona, some of their service and food quality seems to have dropped slightly in favor of making their food even more "insta-worthy."
My favorite thing
As mentioned above, the area is a hotspot for the rising craft beer scene in Barcelona.
My least favorite thing
Also as mentioned above, in terms of sightseeing, none of the real Barcelona hotspots are in the L'Antiga Esquerra de l'Eixample area.
For next time
There are still a handful of craft beer and cocktail spots I would like to check out including: Olofson, Solange, Dry Martini, Ideal Cocktail Bar, Hemingway Gin & Cocktail Bar, Tandem Cocktail Bar, La Fabrica del Vermutillo, and Conesa Beer Barcelona. Also, if it is ever in my budget I would love to eat at Disfrutar.
Placa de Catalunya-
For many people, Placa de Catalunya is the center of Barcelona. It is where many cultural events, as well as many protests, take place. Many tourists will feed the pigeons there, so watch out for the after effects falling from the sky.
Passeig de Gracia-
One of the most beautiful streets I have ever walked, Passeig de Gracia leads from Placa de Catalunya up to the Gracia area.
Located on Passeig de Gracia, Casa Battlò is a beautiful building. It was designed by the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, and was formerly a home to the Battlò family. It is an icon of Barcelona, and is decorated with roses for Sant Jordi, the Catalan equivalent of Valentine's Day. Tours of the building are offered, but in my opinion the best way to get the most bang for your buck is to go for one of the summer concerts. For one price you can get the augmented reality tour of building (that highlights some of Gaudi's inspiration), a drink on the rooftop, a rooftop concert, and beautiful sunset views overlooking Barcelona. This building holds special significance for me because I visited it on the night I got engaged to my wife, and we were fortunate enough to catch a view of some of the fireworks from La Merce from the rooftop as well.
Casa Mila (La Pedrera)-
Another one of Gaudi's masterpieces is Casa Mila, or as it is more commonly known, La Pedrera (meaning "the stone quarry"). I was able to take a tour of the inside on a field trip with the school I was teaching English at in Vilanova i la Geltru. Some of the rooms of the unique building are still being rented as apartments, while others have been converted to things like a gift shop, cafe, and offices. Like Casa Batllò, La Pedrera also hosts a rooftop concert series.
For watching English language movies (Original Version) in the center of Barcelona, it doesn't get much better than Yelmo Comedia. While not one of the more impressive movie theaters I have visited, it is very economically priced, and extremely well located. I caught Marvel's Infinity War and Endgame there, among other films.
I was able to visit the Egyptian Museum during a night when they offered free entry, but in retrospect due to the hour+ of waiting in line I think it would be worth paying the €12 entry fee. The museum, while not as big as the Egyptian museum in Turin, does have some interesting artifacts and was a very nice place to check out.
I stopped at the Apple Store in Barcelona after my iPhone was stolen. While I was unfortunately was unable to locate it, I was able to do a mobile wipe of the data.
If you need to pick up phone chargers, cables, or other electronics, FNAC is a good place to look. It is a store similar to Best Buy that sells a variety of electronics, as well as things like books and comics. There is one centrally located in Barcelona next to Placa de Catalunya.
Where I ate and drank:
The main Satan's Coffee location is in the Gothic Quarter, and is an OG of craft coffee in Barcelona. They have since opened up a spot inside the hip Casa Bonay hotel near Plaza de Tetuán. The beans they use are roasted by Right Side Roasters in Castelldefels just outside of Barcelona and they offer a small food menu as well. Also located in Casa Bona is Libertine cocktail bar, which serves some of the tastiest cocktails I've ever had, and in a cool, relaxed setting.
Bacoa Burger Universitat-
Bacoa has a few locations in Barcelona, and they offer quality burger (and veggie burger) options, as well as limited craft beer options.
Appearing as a barber shop from the outside, Bobby's Free does not actually cut hair. It is instead a quality speakeasy that serves excellent drinks and offers live music on select nights.
Flax & Kale à Porter-
With a few locations in different areas of Barcelona, Flax & Kale offers some delicious, healthy food and drink options. One of their locations is actually inside an H&M clothing store at the intersection of Passeig de Gracia and Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes. The cafe there on the 2nd story offers views of the pretty fountain in the center of the intersection.
Located around the corner from Placa de Catalunya, Milano offer quality live music and serves up excellent cocktails.
Dow Jones Bar-
Like its namesake drink prices at the Dow Jones Bar fluctuate based on how many people are purchasing them. When a particular drink is purchased, its price goes up. If a drink is not purchased for a while, its price goes down. It is a fun little gimmick, but wouldn't be a great place to find any craft drinks.
Woki Organic Market-
Similar to a very small Whole Foods, Woki Organic Market offers food to eat in its cafe as well as groceries to take home.
Hammock Juice Station-
If you feel like sitting in a hammock while eating tasty, healthy food and drink, Hammock Juice Station is the place to go. For those that tend to feel unstable in hammocks, they do offer some more stable seating options.
Les Gens Que J'Aime-
If you are looking for a quite place to chat and get a good cocktail, Les Gens Que J'Aime is a nice place to check out.
The Growler has some excellent craft beer options.
When I need to work on wifi, ImaginCafe was one of the places I tended to go. The food and drink are good, but not amazing. However, there are many places in ImaginCafe to work or even have meetings, and the wifi was good.
Unfortunately Wer-Haus has closed down, but it used to be one of my favorite cafes in Barcelona. It also double as a clothing/home goods store, and was an excellent place to get great craft coffee and tasty, healthy food. Their website says "Be back soon," so hopefully they will reopen again.
Set in a beautiful building, Chocolates Brescó offers delicious artisanal chocolates.
Sporting an amazing name, Billy Brunch offers some very quality brunch options.
Bar Centro offers some great craft beer options as well as some tasty sandwich options.
Part of a small chain of restaurants that also includes Milk in the Gothic Quarter and Marmalade in El Raval, Firebug offers a very similar menu to its sister restaurants. My favorite part of their menus are their brunch offerings.
Bonavida is a hip, stylish place with great cocktails.
Their motto is "craft beer and crazy food," and they live up to that. The drink options are great and the food is very tasty.
Started by Catalans that went to university in the US, CocoVail is a beer hall that is my favorite place in Barcelona to watch things like NFL games, college football games, or NCAA basketball games. They have about 40 craft beers on tap, as well as some good food options and a fun environment.
Other Places I visited:
Granja Petitbo- good food options
La Esquina- good espresso drinks and good food
The George Payne- I watched my first Eurovision there
Super Coffee & Food- some good healthy options, but most are microwaved
Somewhere Aragó- I had a nice "menu del dia" there
Perluo Cafe- craft coffee and tasty treats
Where I stayed:
St. Christopher's Hostel-
My first time in Barcelona I stayed at St. Christopher's Hostel. It was very nice and clean, but did not have the same community feel I have felt at other hostels. That being said, it is typically very well priced and very centrally located. Also, there were curtains on the dorm beds and sizable lockers.
What I did and saw:
Basilica de la Sagrada Familia-
The Sagrada Familia is still the most impressive building, and it is still not finished yet. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026, but it remains to be seen if it will be finished on that schedule. Designed by Antoni Guadi, who is responsible for many of Barcelona's famous landmarks, the building is impressive in both its size and its detail.
Teatre Nacional de Catalunya-
The Teatre Nacional de Catalunya is a theater and event space. I visited it when it played host to the All Those Food Market, which featured a number of local restaurants, cafes, vendors, and artisans. It was a nice way to get a sampling of a variety of interesting food and drink items all in one fun place.
Mercat dels Encants-
Located around the corner from the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya is the Mercat dels Encats. It is essential a very large flea market where a very wide variety of different products are sold at low prices.
Arc de Triomf-
Built for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair, the Arc de Triomf is a beautiful gateway that leads towards the Parc de la Ciutadella. It is also the site of various festivals, and there are often street performers active in the area.
Where I ate and drank:
Three Marks Coffee-
In a city with a number of great cafes that I love, my favorite cafe in Barcelona is Three Marks Coffee. They offer excellent craft coffee and some tasty and healthy snacks. I would often get a nitro cold brew or just a batch brew and work (the wifi is good too), read, or chat with friends.
Run by the 2019 Spain AeroPress Champ, Jianit Cai, you would be hard-pressed (pardon the pun) to find a better cup of AeroPress in Barcelona. They also serve some tasty snacks and offer good wifi.
The best Chinese food I've had in Barcelona was at Chen Ji, right around the corner from the Arc de Triomf and the Estacio del Nord bus station.
The best taco place I have been to in Barcelona is La Taqueria, just around the corner from the beautiful Sagrada Familia. The food is super tasty, and there is a specialty Mexican market across the street if you want to try recreate the deliciousness at home.
Cal Marius 449-
If you are looking for an inexpensive pastrami sandwich, Cal Marius 449 is a good option. They serve sandwiches not typically found in Barcelona.
La Bona Pinta-
Although it is not a large place, La Bona Pinta has an excellent selection of craft beers.
For next time:
Next time in the Fort Pienc/Sagrada Familia area I would like to check out Monk Station, which is said to have an excellent selection of Belgian brews.
Welcome to the Healthy Explorer Blog. If you like travel stories have a look around my blog and check out my podcast— maybe you'll find an extra spark for your own adventures.