Perched on the Mediterranean coast in northeastern Spain, the chic city of Barcelona is a destination city that you may never want to leave. Boasting cutting-edge art, musical extravaganzas, epicurean delights and avant-garde design, you’d be hard pressed to find time to do it all, but it’s worth a try. Take in the sights and smells of La Boqueria – one of the world’s pre-eminent food markets, get lost in the labyrinthine streets of the Gothic Quarter, gaze at the outlandish and awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia (or even climb it if you’re feeling brave), or head to one of the region’s euphoric music festivals, all before settling into an atmospheric bar to enjoy some well-deserved tapas and aperitivi with the locals. With its dazzling architecture, pulsing beats, mouth-watering food and picturesque coastline, Catalonia’s capital truly is a feast for all the senses.
Brought to you with Aperol
Primavera Sound It’s all about that bass. Well, to be completely accurate, Barcelona is all about bass, electronica, funk, reggaeton, rock and flamenco. The Catalan capital is truly powered by music, which spills over the edge of the city’s rooftops, seeps out of its bars and clubs, and echoes along its cobbled streets and broad boulevardes. Boasting a host of international festivals as well as a multitude of brilliant live music venues, clubs and bars to dance the evening away, Barcelona attracts hundreds of thousands of music lovers each year. One of the biggest festivals in the world, the musical monolith of Primavera Sound has been a mainstay of the Barcelona music scene since 2001, and this year Aperol Spritz will be an official sponsor! With over 200 artists performing from May 29 to June 4, you’d be hard pressed not to find something you like. Headliners this year include local girl turned global superstar Rosalía, as well as Kendrick Lamar, Calvin Harris, Skrillex, Halsey, Depeche Mode, Blur and many more. And when you need a break from dancing, head to Aperol’s chillout area by the sea for a well-deserved spritz on a bright orange deckchair – before catching your breath and heading back for more!
Kamoma Spritz bar Tucked amongst Gràcia’s narrow streets away from the tourist hubbub is this hidden gem. Find a table in the cosy interior for a front-row seat at a cavalcade of excellent live local and visiting music acts. Thirsty? Then you’ve come to the right place – the clue is in the name, this bar is a great place to enjoy an Aperol Spritz. And with its outdoor terrace, Kamoma is the kind of place you can settle in with your friends for long evenings of live music, delicious light bites, and vibes as warm as a Catalan summer.
La Boqueria Want to experience Barcelona the way locals do? Then be sure to incorporate tapas stops into your day – a traditional part of Spanish culture and the perfect way to catch up with friends and chew over the day. And there are few better places to do so than at Barcelona’s most famous food market. La Boqueria was originally just a few stalls outside the city walls, which served as a hub for local farmers and fishermen to sell their produce to the people of the city. Today it is a temple to Catalan gastronomy, so order yourself an Aperol Spritz and pull up a coveted stool at one of the market’s tapas bars for an authentic aperitivo experience.
Granja Petitbo Whether you’ve been pounding Barcelona’s distinctive grid pattern of streets all day or you are just waking up and getting ready to do so, this stylish bar and cafe is the perfect bookend to your day. Famous for its pioneering and mouth-watering brunch options, it’s impossible to leave Granja Petitbo hungry. Sink into one of its vintage sofas and choose from the expansive menu – huevos rancheros anyone? Or enjoy an Aperol Spritz in the sun on one of the outdoor tables. The only problem you’ll have is getting back off your snug sofa again.
Poblenou East of the city centre, the effortlessly cool Poblenou neighbourhood is one of the best places to delve into Barcelona’s thriving street art scene. One of the top places to get a great shot is graffiti corner, across the street from Parc del Centre del Poblenou, which is home to work from some of Barcelona's most recognised graffiti artists: S. Waknine, Valiente Creations, ONA, and Adit, among others. And don’t miss the constantly changing art along Carrer de la Selva de Mar – a good excuse to come back.
Kiss mural If you don’t know it is there, it could be easy to stroll past this striking mural which is hidden in a square near the city’s old town. It was created in 2014 following a call-out from the Catalan photographer Joan Fontcuberta in El Periódico newspaper asking for photographs representing a “moment of freedom”. Made up of thousands of tiny ceramic tiles each featuring a miniature picture, even if you’re not in Barcelona for a romantic getaway, this unusual photo mural will likely stir your heart.
Casa Milà by night No trip to Barcelona is complete without visiting at least one of Gaudí’s architectural triumphs. A nocturnal tour of Casa Milà, or La Pedrera as it’s known to locals – a reference to its rough hewn-stone appearance – is a quirky way to take in this modernist masterpiece. Featuring projections, lighting effects and an accompanying soundtrack, the tour ends on the undulating warrior rooftop, the perfect place to take in 360-degree views of this glamorous city by night.
Palo Market Fest Whether you’re looking for vintage furniture, bags, books or trinkets, this shrine to shopping is not to be missed. Taking place on the first weekend of every month and located in a disused factory, the street market is popular with those in-the-know and is home to stalls mounted by small businesses from all across Barcelona. Dance while you shop with live music but make sure you don’t spend all your euros before visiting one of the many food trucks serving local hand-made food and bars offering excellent Aperol Spritzes. The market is on 13 times throughout the year (normally the first weekend of every month), so make sure you time your visit to coincide with what is hands down one of Europe’s coolest street markets.