What I did and saw:
During the summer months in Barcelona there are movies shown outside the Montjuic Castle (see below). They set up a projector screen and stage outside the castle walls, where a band plays live music as the sun sets and the movie starts when it gets dark. The list of movies is shown on the Sala Montjuic website, and sometimes free food is included. You can bring your own food, drink, blanket, or chairs, or you can rent chair and buy food in advance.
Castell de Montjuic-
Montjuic Castle dates back to the 1600s, and was originally used as a military fortress. The name Montjuic literally translates to "Jewish Mountain," and gets its name from the Jewish cemetery located on the same hill as the castle. The site itself is rich in history, and the entrance fee is very affordable (they even offer free entry at select times). Locally, it has been a very strategic military point, and in global significance it is said to be the site where the meter was invented. Additionally, the views from Montjuic are some of the best in Barcelona.
Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya-
The National Art Museum of Catalonia, or Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC), features Catalan art in styles such as modernisme and noucentisme. It also hosts a large number of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque pieces.
Set in front of the National Art Museum of Catalonia is the beautiful Magic Fountain. It is impressive during the day, but it really shines at night. One select nights it is lit up and choreographed to music, and is free to watch. It is an excellent thing to check out, especially if you are visiting Barcelona on a budget.
Built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, Poble Espanyol was built to show off some of the best Spain has to offer. The different sections of the park give glimpses into the different regions of Spain. Poble Espanyol also hosts different cultural events, and I had the opportunity to visit for the Calcotada, which is a fun, tasty, local food festival.
One of the main train stations in Barcelona is Sants Station. It connects Barcelona to cities like Valencia, Alicante, Vilanova i la Geltru, Girona, and Madrid. Located within a hotel that is in the same building as the train station is Odyssey, a fitness facility that also offers Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes. The facility may not have top of the line equipment, but it is more than sufficient to get a great workout.
Where I ate and drank:
One of my favorite brewhouses in Barcelona is Abirradero. They serve very tasty food, have a wide selection of quality drinks, and offer friendly service. Everything I've had there is good, but one of my favorites is the enchanted cheese.
While Paella is a Valencian (not Catalonian) dish, the best place I've found to get Paella in Barcelona is at Martinez. Located in the Montjuic area, it also offers some amazing views of the mediterranean coastline.
I first tasted food from Mano Rota at the Tast a la Rambla, and enjoyed it so much that I decided to check out the actual restaurant. The Michelin recognized restaurant is not the cheapest in the area, but it is one of the best values.
Quimet y Quimet-
One of my favorite restaurants in Barcelona is the quaint Quimet y Quimet. While the secret has gotten out a bit and it can be populated by many tourists, the quality remains high and it is still frequented by locals. They offer "montaditos," which are small, open-faced sandwiches with excellent ingredients. The bread is a perfect consistency that is somehow crunchy and soft at the same time. There is also a very good selection of drinks at a good value.
Located in the Plaça d'Osca around the corner from Sants Station, Homo Sibaris is a great place to get craft beer and tasty bites of food.
Also located in the Plaça d'Osca, La Mestressa offers some classic local foods and wine.
La Gorda Beer Factory-
Another good place to get quality craft beer in the Sants area is at La Gorda Beer Factory.
Bao Bao Sants-
Around the corner from La Gorda Beer Factory is Bao Bao Sants. As their name would suggest, they specialize in Bao, which are East Asian steamed bread sandwiches filled with various tasty ingredients.
My favorite thing:
The Sants-Montjuic area offers some excellent variety. There are great historical and cultural sites (Montjuic Castle, MNAC, Poble Espanyol), other impressive things to see and do (Magic Fountain, Sala Montjuic), and delicious things to eat and drink (Mano Rota, Martinez, Abirradero). However, if I had to pick one favorite thing in Sants-Montjuic, it would be eating at Quimet y Quimet.
My least favorite thing:
It is hard to find things to dislike about the Sants-Montjuic area, but some of the restaurants I would like to check out there are outside of my budget. That being said, the restaurants listed above are top notch and would fit into most budgets.
For next time:
Next time in Sants-Montjuic, and if I had a large budget, I would like to check out more Michelin restaurants like Pakta.
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