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Barcelona’s a charming European city that’s truly got it all: It’s walkable, offers medieval history, Michelin-starred restaurants (and small family-run ones), plenty of art museums and Antoni Gaudi’s incomparable modernist structures. And don’t forget the Mediterranean beaches. Take advantage of our great Barcelona hotel sale and treatyourself to three perfect days.

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas

DAY 1: MARKET DAY

Immerse in the culture from the get-go by visiting the colorful markets, the first activity on your Barcelona itinerary. On the vibrant Las Ramblas in central Barcelona, you’ll enjoy browsing vendors on a tree-lined pedestrian mall filled with tourists, locals, street performers—and of course, café con leche during the day that changes to sangria at night.

Slightly north and west is the La Boqueria Market, so indulge in sensory overload with the market’s bright colors and pungent smells, (it’s considered a “gastronomic temple”). Haggle with animated vendors selling edibles—then let your senses lead you to your dinner at just the right stand—there are dozens, offering tantalizing olives, produce, salted fish, vegetables, meat, fruit skins, and melted, flavored ice.

Bogatell Beach

BogatellBeach

DAY 2: BEACH DAY

Barcelona has over 200 miles of gorgeous Mediterranean beaches—so take at least one of them in. The one at Playa Del Bogatell was created for the 1992 Olympic Games and is one of the most beautiful in Barcelona. It’s less chaotic than other nearby beaches that are closer to downtown and offers all the comfortable amenities: lifeguards, showers, ramps to the actual beach and a pretty promenade.

By dinnertime, you’ll be sun-glazed and hungry, so try traditional Mediterranean cuisine served in a diner-sized spot. Cal Pep offers just that with its tuna tartare, fried squid, and cod with spinach and alioli. It’s especially beloved for its trifásico, a mix of fried whitebait, squid rings and shrimps, and tallarines (wedge clams).

If you’re not still full from lunch, head to Restaurant Sedna, known as much for its tapas (ham croquettes, fisherman-style clams, salted cod with sweet green papers, cheese with figs and sauce reductions, and tuna with ginger and soja) as it is for its over 150 brands of beverages, including aperitifs, whiskies, brandies, vermouth, rum, vodka, gin, tequila, coffee, and various infusions.

Familia Sagrada

Familia Sagrada

DAY 3: GAUDI DAY

Now,to Gaudi! Sagrada Familia is the most renowned of Gaudi’s works. The church has been under construction since 1892, which is not expected to be complete until 2030. Peppered with dramatic towers, it’s designed to evoke the relationship between man, nature and religion.

Another Gaudi-designed Barcelona spot is Park Güell, a public park system whose construction began in 1900. Originally designed for Barcelona’s aristocracy, this garden complex includes many eclectically designed buildings and elements, including Gaudí’s own house. At park’s entrance, visitors are confronted by a luxurious dragon fountain, comprised of multicolored tiling. Park Güell beautifully shows how Gaudi was influenced by natural surfaces.

End your weekend by noshing on classic Catalan dishes. Cerveceria Catalana is a landmark, rightly famous place for authentic cuisine. Try the flauta de ternera (shredded beef with lettuce and tomato chutney), croquetas, navajas (razor clams with chilies and garlic), and their famed white wine sangria.

 

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Tagged: Europe, Spain

Gretchen Kalwinski

Gretchen Kalwinski

Gretchen is a Chicago-based arts, culture and travel writer, and writing coach. She’s working on her first novel, and tweets sporadically at @gretchel.
Gretchen Kalwinski

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