Barcelona City Guide

by Stephanie

Illustration by Judy Kaufmann

Today’s Barcelona City Guide comes from illustrator and Barcelona resident Judy Kaufmann. When Judy isn’t creating illustrations for clients like BBC London, Google and Random House, she can be found biking the city streets or escaping to the nearby sea and mountains. Today she shares some of the best that Barcelona has to offer, from dining and shopping to attractions and hotels. Thanks, Judy, for this wonderful guide! — Stephanie

Read the full guide after the jump . . .

barcelona city guide Photo by Carlos Borrego

All pictures are from Carlos Borrego except: La Fonda, courtesy of La Fonda website; Luka, courtesy of Luka; Manchester Bar, courtesy of Manchester Bar; and XIX Gin Tonic, courtesy of XIX Gin Tonic website



Whether it’s because you travel with the family, expect to bring people to crash on the couch, or prefer to have breakfast on your own terrace, sometimes a flat is the best option. Inside-BCN has been renting out beautiful apartments in the Born with an almost pampering level of service for years now. They were among the first and remain the best.
D’Esparteria, 1 / M Barceloneta or M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)

The Chic&Basic apartments may not be as good a value as Inside-BCN’s, but they’re casual, homey and scattered all over the city (with the nicest ones in the Born).
Princesa, 50-52 / M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)


Travel back to pre-hacienda times, when drinks, chips and music were savored while sitting down.
Valldonzella, 24 / M Universitat
Milans, 5 / M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)

Situated in a 1650 building, this cultural and social center offers alternative theatre with an amazing garden bar, perfect for enjoying a beer on a spring day before nightfall.
Verdaguer i Callís, 12 / M Urquinaona (Ver mapa más grande)

Pink and red just don’t clash, and all the codes of conduct are condemned on the dance floor.
Passatge Escudellers, 3 / M Drassanes (Ver mapa más grande)

Galleries and Culture

With a multitude of young artists, this gallery presents itself as one of the few that offers contemporary art at affordable prices.
Passatge del Crèdit, 4 / M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)

Located in a former convent, its exhibitions explore the relationships between art, science and communication, as well as contemporary art and culture in all its forms.
La Rambla, 7 / M Drassanes (Ver mapa más grande)

Located inside a palace and dedicated solely to visual culture, its photography and audiovisual exhibitions attempt to unravel the basic questions of our existence, so be prepared for some heavy pondering.
La Rambla 99 / M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Shops and Books

This store has so many beautiful things that it is easy to get lost among them. All the cloth is made ​​in Spain, and it’s easy to find pieces like a casual summery dress or an original dress for a wedding in the field. One of my favorite stores!
Carrer dels Banys Nous, 14 / M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)

Vintage furniture shop specializing in modern design from the XX century.
Cervantes, 7 / M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)

Original clothing shop made by this nice and friendly French owner.
Carrer de la Comtessa de Sobradiel, 10 / M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)

Underwear for women who adore Betty Page.
Canuda, 21 / M Catalunya (Ver mapa más grande)

A bookstore specializing in children’s books, with an adorable space to find the best illustrated books. The kind of place where adults can be children again.
Gral. Álvarez de Castro, 5 / M Jaume I or M Urquinaona (Ver mapa más grande)

Definitely one of the best places to rent a bike, to buy a French vintage bike and to repair your bike. The prices are excellent.
Carrer d’Ataülf, 8 / M Liceu or M Drassanes (Ver mapa más grande)

Photo courtesy of La Fonda


Good Mediterranean cuisine, a great, chic environment and excellent prices. Don’t forget to try the black rice.
Escudellers, 10 / M Liceu or M Drassanes (Ver mapa más grande)

This bohemian cooperative is taking the concept of homemade to a new level: a flour mill in the back allows them to make sandwiches and pizzas in great varieties, only surpassed by the number of teas and fruitcakes on offer.
Baixada de Sant Miquel, 3-5 / M Jaume I or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Provides the kind of happiness one can only derive from watching a strong-armed man transform sugar dough into the prettiest sweets.
Ample, 28 / M Drassanes (Ver mapa más grande)

Oviso decided not to bother with extractor fans. It is crowned king of the infamous “Plaza Trippy” and a great spot for a laid-back bite. The vibe may be decidedly scuzzy, but the food is top notch.
n’Arai, 5 / M Jaume I or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)


Few famous acts, but always a tremendous party.
Plaça Reial, 7 / M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Unpretentious jazz bar
Comtessa de Sobradiel, 8 / M Jaume I (Ver mapa más grande)



Best value for your money, by far.
Ptge. de Sant Antoni Abad, 10 / M Sant Antoni (Ver mapa más grande)

Located in the center of the Raval district, very close to the cultural and modern area, this hotel is the first in the city and deserves the label of boutique hotel.
Elisabets, 11 / M Universitat or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Hip and smack bang in the middle of the action
Rambla del Raval, 17-21 / M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Shops and Books

Anything you buy here bears the label “super cool.”
Valldonzella, 29 / M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

What can we do for you today, sir? Would you care for a set of playing cards from Bulgaria? Fish-shaped indicator lights for your car? Or can we interest you in a statue of the Virgin Mary? They have just come in from Mexico! If not, I’m sure we’ll find something else completely pointless yet simply wonderful that will suit your needs.
Joaquim Costa, 62 / M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

If you’re lucky enough to be near the Raval on Sunday morning, walk to the nearby neighborhood of San Antonio to find one amazing street-full of art books, novels and a crowded family environment. Open until 2pm
Comte Urgell between Floridablanca and Tamarit / M Sant Antoni (Ver mapa más grande)

This bookstore should be featured on every list of the most beautiful bookstores in Barcelona. This library occupies the space of the old Chapel of the Misericordia, built in the mid-eighteenth century. A careful restoration allowed them to recover the old chapel, respecting the original architectural elements. They not only have books in various languages (specially in the graphic novel/comic section), but they also have the most inspiring creaking floor. This place is unique.
Carrer d’Elisabets, 6 / M Universitat or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Dedicated to media culture
Valldonzella, 7 / M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

Contemporary art books
Gravina, 8 / M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

Well curated and inexpensive
Riera Baixa, 5 / M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

A real vintage store. Very unique items for affordable prices.
Ramalleres, 16 / M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

Photo by Carlos Borrego

Vintage shop with more than 25 years of experience. It looks like a typical American store of the ’70s, but full of clothes from all over the world. This store is huge!
Plaça Castella, 2 / M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

This world-renowned shoe shop has its roots in the Island of Mallorca. People choose these modern and unique designs for their beauty as well as their quality.
Carrer dels Àngels, 4 / M Universitat or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

This vinyl shop specializing in electronic music, rock & pop, funk, soul and indie is one of the few vinyl shops left. Situated in the heart of Raval, you can spend lots of time looking at discs and learning from the owners.
Ferlandina, 39 / M Sant Antoni or M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

Neighbor and cousin of Discos Paradiso. Besides working with independent labels, they have a collection of fanzines worth seeing.
Ferlandina, 39 / M Sant Antoni or M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

What you can’t get here is not worth buying.
Rambla, 91 / M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)


A dark and tiny vestige of France
Carrer de Santa Mònica, 4 / M Drassanes (Ver mapa más grande)

The ultimate hipster bar
Nou de la Rambla, 44 / M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Sit-down or squeeze-in, with great gin and tonics
Cera, 32 / M Sant Antoni (Ver mapa más grande)

Photo courtesy of XIX Bar

One of the few bars that really knows gin and tonics. They offer more than 130 specialties.
Rocafort, 19 / M Poble Sec (Ver mapa más grande)

An old fashioned bar in the middle of the modernity. Good tapas, good conversation, great people.
Carrer d’Elisabets, 16 / M Universitat or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Galleries and Culture

A hotbed for activities of all disciplines and leitmotifs, featuring unusual and interactive exhibitions. Moreover, it’s the location for a wide array of festivals — from photography to literature and music — so check the programme.
Montalegre, 5 / M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

Room Service is more art gallery than furniture shop. But art is for sale, too. Buy it if you can.
Carrer dels Ángels, 16 / M Universitat or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

All-in-one culture hub
Guàrdia, 10 / M Drassanes (Ver mapa más grande)

Design, art and architecture in books and mags
Doctor Dou, 10/ M Universitat (Ver mapa más grande)

Photo by Carlos Borrego


A really well-designed place, located in a quiet corner of a new area to hang out, El Federal offers a fresh and delicious eco-friendly menu that’s different for every hour of the day. You can share the big table downstairs, make a reservation for a small or medium table on the second floor or meet directly on the beautiful terrace.
Parlament, 39 / M Sant Antoni or M Poble Sec (Ver mapa más grande)

Dos Palillos looks like a mix between a run-down neighbourhood bar and a brothel in Saigon, but it’s actually the solo project of the former chef de cuisine at El Bulli.
Elisabets, 9 / M Catalunya (Ver mapa más grande)

Really affordable with nice and big menus. Nepali and Mediterranean veggie food. You can eat an authentic Thai dish on a terrace.
Carrer dels Àngels, 3 / M Universitat or M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

A friendly and delicious coffee shop. Located on the border between Raval and the Sant Antoni area, Canigó is a mixture of Argentine and Spanish coffee shop and restaurant where you can find the best teas, Spanish vermouth, “empanadas” (salad pies), sandwiches and salads. One of the most popular places to brunch on Sundays after a walk through San Antonio’s book market.
Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, 32 / M Universitat or M Sant Antoni (Ver mapa más grande)

The set breakfasts on the terrace of RA can fill you up until dinner, especially if you draw them out until lunchtime.
Plaça de la Gardunya, 3 / M Liceu (Ver mapa más grande)

Nobody knows exactly how it’s made, but everybody knows exactly where to get their horchata.
Parlament, 56 / M Sant Antoni (Ver mapa más grande)


Unpretentious rockabilly bar with live music
Botella, 7 / M Sant Antoni (Ver mapa más grande)

At this former theatre, no night ends without a wild party.
Nou de la Rambla, 111 / M Paralel (Ver mapa más grande)


*Thanks to the people of LeCool who collaborated on this guide providing some of the best indie places in town. , To get one of ‘Weird and Wonderful Guides’ from Barcelona and other cities, click here.

Suggested For You


  • My husband lived in Spain for a few years. We have been planning a trip back for next year. Thank you so much for the fun tips and sites. I can’t wait to check out some of these places. Merci!

  • Thanks for the guide! I second Eva Morell’s comment/suggestion – Kiosko Burger is SO GOOD. Can’t wait to go back in September!

  • A good guide, but for those who are not familiar with Barcelona, it might be a little confusing, as several places have been indicated as being located in the Barri Gòtic, when they are in fact in El Raval, Barri de Sant Pere or in El Born!

  • I heartily endorse the Market Hotel. We stayed there last year in May, and it was fantastic. Good service, lovely rooms, and a great vibe.

  • My husband and I honeymooned in Barcelona in May and we are still dreaming about the ceviche we had at RA!

  • I was born in Barcelona and I love the city. Thank you for this guide! Now I have a couple of places to check out… when I get back.
    I do have noticed a couple of misspelled names of streets and places, I would appreciate it if someone could go back to the text and edit those (I could provide a list with the corrections, I understand that if you do not speak the language you might not notice them).

  • Well, this is a very biased guide of Barcelona hahaha :) She obviously lives in Ciutat Vella and I adore all of her recommendations although the crowds and the tourists there can be a bit off putting. Barcelona is such a beautiful city but it has a LOT more to offer in other areas as well. I have a few spots in my blog http://www.terriblynice.es
    Cheers from Barcelona!

  • I agree with Cristina, such a pity those mispelled names like San Antonio… I live there, its proper mame is Sant Antoni, in catalan. This guide is plenty of nice picks, so congrats to Judy and lecool! Cheers from BCN too :)

  • I agree with Paula, every spot named is concentrated in a very small area of Barcelona (Ciutat Vella). Barcelona has much more to offer with a variety of very interesting places all around the city with the plus of not being crowded with tourists. Check restaurants like El Canalla, Parco, Xemei, El Japonés,…stores like Custo, Maje, Sita Murt, Vinçon, Lucio,….

  • My husband and I spent 4 days in Barcelona last month, and stayed in a wonderful apartment in El Born, which we booked through airbnb. The perfect location – Plaza Allada Vermell – meant we could walk to everything we wanted to see, with the exception of Parc Guell. It’s a fabulous city!

  • One of the greatest cities in the world! That jazz club is, indeed, fantastic! I went there and it was a free-for-all where musicians of all ages showed up and jammed.

    Can’t wait to return someday.

  • In Barcelona right now! Thanks to Judy for your recommendations. Our favorite neighborhood has been El Born; beautiful indie boutiques in gorgeous ancient buildings; the Picasso museum a must-see. Vialis handmade shoes are beautiful, Loisaida boutique so pretty, Jack Born, Natura; great cafes, all near the Santa Maria del Mar church. A day trip to Sitges is also a must. Seaside village built into a cliff with winding narrow streets and a castle on the waterfront, only 30 min drive from Barcelona. Catalunya is delightful. Thanks Judy! xocc

  • I’m so glad I found this before my husband and I embark on our honeymoon in September. I am disappointed though, as I noticed Basel and Barcelona do not show up when I click on Switzerland and Spain on your places page. It makes me wonder what other intriguing spots I am missing out on!

  • Hi, very good guide of my city…a couple of recommendations in my neighborhood, in what is known as “the right side of the Eixample”: “El Norte,” nice little cafe to have breakfast, it’s on the corner of Diputacio and Bruc, and “Betlem”, on Consell de Cent with Girona. Very good ham “croquetas.”

  • In Bacrelona now and went to La Fonda at the recommendation of your site…maybe it isn’t what it used to be, because it was a little like going to Applebee’s…but maybe worse than that. I realize things can change quickly in a big city, so just a fair warning for your readers!

  • Disappointed with the recommendations.

    “La Fonda” food was ok, service poor.

    EL FEDERAL & CANIGÓ are no longer in business :(

    Time for an update ;)

    • Sory Taun, but both are still in business…
      Canigó (Rekons) is located in Floridablanca / Urgell and Federal in Parlament Street…

  • Ohh, I wish someone would update this guide! There are so many wonderful new places, and several of these are no longer in business. Also some are no longer as nice as they used to be. But Barcelona still remains wonderful, I can assure you! :)

  • In my last trip to Spain, I was in Barcelona, it was amazing. The culture is very different than american, but i like it. Mediterranean food is fantastic, I think it is the healthiest I have tried.