Barcelona: Beyond the Basics

Barcelona is a city that always pleases and is fun for everyone! Cutting edge, artsy, playful, Mediterranean, and proud. It is also a city that is often over-touristed and busy so traveling in 2021 was the perfect time to experience this architecturally-stunning sea-side gem without the crowds.

We stayed at the delightful family-owned boutique hotel with 28 charming rooms – The Serras Hotel Barcelona – a longtime favorite of Resort to Laura Madrid clients. Besides the personalized service and charming feel, the Serras is in the best location in the city between the Gothic, Born, and Barcelonetta neighborhoods.

Rooms are bright but on the smaller side, so I would suggest booking a Jr. Suite or larger. I loved our balcony!

The rooftop bar and pool is the place to enjoy drinks with a view!

One of the most memorable meals of the trip was lunch at the surprising and special restaurant Al Kostat and Alkimia by celebrity chef Jordi Vilà!!

Wandering around Barcelona is my favorite thing to do – perusing the wonderful shops, stopping for small bites and drinks, and strolling the beach and the Barecelonetta and of course, there is absolutely no shortage of people watching!!

Another outstanding meal at Cadaques with fresh white asparagus and a paella!

One of our favorite experiences was our insiders’ food and wine tour with the kids.

Have you ever dreamed of having a local friend in every city that you visit? Someone that is always looking for new spots and takes you to the best authentic places in town? On this private tour, your personal and exclusive “foodie advisor” will meet you at your hotel to take you to find the genuine cuisine from Barcelona, beyond just tapas.

Nights in Barcelona are unpredictable, and on this tour, we invite you to dive into an itinerary that traces the history of Catalan cuisine, through bars, restaurants, and wineries. Immerse yourself in Barcelona’s culinary scene and libertine spirit, can be experienced firsthand in some of the best bars in town.

Although tapas is one of the culinary concepts that help to define the current food scene in Barcelona, there are many others that demonstrate how eclectic Catalan cuisine is. You will be taken to places that show how the old coexists with the new, for you to get an overall view of the gastronomy in the city, where locals eat, and why.

Squeeze the most out of the evening with platillos, tapas, bottles of wines, well-poured ales, and lots of good humor!

Whilst it’s easy to be seduced by Barcelona’s (deservedly) popular tourist hotspots, there’s a whole other side to this alluring city that visitors tend to miss. On this tour, you’re invited to experience it through the lens of a born and bred local, Gloria, discovering the richly authentic culture, fashion, gastronomy, and art that make it tick, as well as the unmistakable rhythm that residents sway to.

Begin with a visit to Boqueria Mercado, admittedly a popular spot with tourists but equally integral for locals. Gloria will talk you through the heady mix of sights, smells, and sounds that make the market such a delight for the senses, and introduce you to the vendors she has come to rely on over the years. Nearby and easy to miss, you’ll find a traditional grocery store which is eternally popular with Barcelonans (partly due to the fantastic array of Catalan wines hidden in its cellar…!), before heading on to one of the city’s cradles of Cava production, to join the local gourmands who flock there for a pre-lunch aperitif.

Next, enjoy a unique insight into Barcelona’s booming fashion scene as you visit one of its most prestigious boutiques, home to an exquisite collection of contemporary apparel for men and women. It’s a mecca for the local fashion elite (of which Gloria is a key member) and a hub for upcoming designers and celebrities, so keep an eye out for the next Balenciaga or as you sip on a coffee in its exclusive café. You´ll also stop by the first workshop to make fashion espadrilles as well as a few of Gloria’s favorite vintage fashion and antique textile stores, whose obscure location down labyrinthine streets means they’re only ever frequented by those in the know.

The tour could end with a visit to some of Barcelona’s best-kept artistic secrets, far from the queues of the Picasso and Miró museums. These include a beautiful open gallery showcasing over 200 paintings by Catalan artists, many of whom you can watch while they work, as well as a 13th-century cave filled with a glittering collection of jewels and crystals.

This tour is ideal for those looking to unearth the secret addresses, creative spaces and epicurean delights of Barcelona away from the traditional tourist trail, and perhaps come away with one or two things you can be sure no one back home will have.

And yes, ham at every meal is always a good idea, especially when it is Jamon Serrano! Nothing like it and I miss it already! Till we meet again, Barcelona!

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