Barcelona is fast-becoming the hotspot of Europe for people to move to in seek of a refreshing new career, fresh sea air and a chilled lifestyle. Add in delicious local cuisine and a banging nightlife and you’ve got an ideal mix. No wonder their are thriving communities of Italians, South Americans, Brits and Irish, and Scandinavians here increasing this forever expanding multicultural hotpot. So I headed out there for a weekend recently to check it out for myself.
Who to fly with
Monarch. The affordability factor comes into effect, leaving you with more money to play with in Barca. What’s more, there is ample leg room. Perfect for someone who’s 6’2 like myself. Worth noting as well that both times, flying out and the return flight, we landed 15 minutes ahead of schedule. You cannot argue with that.
Where to stay
The 5* W Hotel on the beach looks like it belongs in Dubai more than Barcelona, but for pure luxury it’s got it all. Hotel Miramar also overlooks the sea, it’s soft hues of green offering a calming feeling. Plus it’s only 10 minutes away from Passeig Gracia.
For me though, if you really want to experience the city and all it has to offer, then the best way forward is to rent an apartment in Barceloneta, right on the beach. Barcelona Beach Apartments have three locations around the area and they are right on the beach so you’ve got direct access. What’s more, they also have a roof terrace, which is absolutely perfect first thing with a coffee and breakfast, overlooking the sea and enjoying the breeze and the early morning sun.
Where to eat
For breakfast head to Forn Baluard, an amazing bakery in Mercat Barceloneta where they have a wide variety of fresh bread, pastries and sandwiches.
Lunch should be had on the beach and past the dock is another stretch of beach where the finest restaurants are tucked away. Find Restaurante Marisqueria. The food is to die for and the size of their portions is generously ridiculous. If you want tapas then you’ll want to go to Somorrostro where the food is so pretty you won’t want to eat it.
Meat lovers should visit O Meu Lar, where the steak is out of this world. Honestly, just go. You can thank me later. If you’d rather have something quick and on the go then have a burger from Bacoa, beautiful taste – highly recommended.
Where to drink
Barcelona is not short of options when it comes to nightlife and it’s a city that also likes its craft beers. Chivuo’s is a cool place to hang out and has a nice variety of beers to choose from. It also does slow cooked street food if you fancy a bite to go with your drink. Garage Beer is another cool spot, a microbrewery that wouldn’t look out of place in east London.
For real exclusivity there’s a discreet bar called 56, so discreet you’ll easily pass it because it’s not advertising itself. Just head to Mercat Barceloneta and look for a brown door on the square with the number 56.
For more commercial fun, Jamboree and Pacha are worth going to. Moog is a smaller venue to dance in, with two floors – upstairs plays retro 80s music, while downstairs plays heavier, bassier dance music. Like Moog’s big brother, Apolo is similar with two floors, each playing the same style of tunes; it’s just a lot bigger.
Barcelona has a certain energy about it, yet it’s so chilled out. Maybe it’s because it’s such a youthful city. It’s got an active scene by day, everyone’s out skating, or cycling, or playing sports on the beach, but by night everyone’s out having fun and letting their hair down. And it’s true that everything starts much later in Barcelona. One thing’s for sure: you will fall in love with the place and you will find it hard to leave.