Spain: Barcelona: Catalonian Capital
A Mediterranean hub, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, and the capital of Catalunya, one of the 17 semi-autonomous communities in Spain that covers a vast and diverse landscape from the striking coastline up to the Pyrenees.
Upon your arrival in Barcelona, you will be met by your guide and escorted to your accommodation in the city, located in central Barcelona in the elegant Eixample District.
After you’ve had time to settle in, wander out to explore the wide avenues of this area. Lunch will be on your own and we will provide you with suggestions.
Meet your driver in the lobby of your hotel, and begin the evening with a drive that features panoramic views of the city, first along the coast and then down the city’s main roads, passing a number of Gaudi’s architectural masterpieces along the way. Following the drive, you’ll have some time before dinner to acquaint yourself with the neighborhoods surrounding your hotel. Barri Gotic is the center of Barcelona’s old city, and many of the buildings in the area date back to medieval times. El Call, the medieval Jewish quarter, is also located in this area. El Born has become one of the most fashionable areas of the city, featuring countless boutiques and a vibrant café culture and bar scene.
End your first day in Barcelona with dinner on your own. We recommend a restaurant serving up eclectic combinations of contemporary Catalan cuisine. Multiple courses consist of only the finest local ingredients.
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll be met by your guide to begin your first full day of sightseeing. Barcelona is Gaudí’s city, and you will spend the morning visiting a number of the architect’s works dispersed throughout the city. While Gaudí completed the majority of his work during and after the Art Nouveau movement, he is famed for his individualistic and imperfect designs and his irregular, evolved Gothic architecture. Begun in 1882 and scheduled to be completed in 2026, La Sagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic Church (which looks much more like a giant sand castle), and is Gaudí’s most revered work. Parc Guell is a large municipal garden decorated with many of Gaudí’s winding and colorful structures. Although it is a family residence and is not open to the public, you’ll stop by CasaVincens, characterized by Moorish influences with a Gothic twist. This house, Gaudí’s first important structure, was built between 1883 and 1889.
Break for lunch on your own at a nearby tapas restaurant, the perfect spot to dine al fresco at shaded tables along the tree-lined boulevard. Following lunch you’ll have time to do some shopping in the small boutiques that line the narrow streets and lively plazas of Barcelona’s hippest neighborhood, Gracia, which evokes a more local than cosmopolitan feel.
After you’ve had some down time, you’ll regroup for dinner at one of Barcelona’s “secret” restaurants, unmarked and hidden on a narrow street in the Poblesec neighborhood. The restaurant offers a rare and intimate dining experience with an open kitchen and a Mediterranean-inspired menu that changes daily, according to what’s most fresh at the market.
By no means does your night have to end after dinner—Barcelona is a nighttime city, and has one of the most energetic nightlife scenes in Europe. In the Born neighborhood, you’ll find a cozy local bar famous for its cocktails—a perfect place to have the first drink of the night. Club Magic, also in El Born, is a great club for rock fans, alive well into the early morning hours.
After a quick breakfast, you’ll head an hour outside of Barcelona to Montserrat, where you’ll spend the day outdoors away from the busy city. Montserrat is a mountainous national park, within which is the famous Montserrat Monastery and Basilica, a 9th century building that sits atop a 4,000 foot mountain and is currently home to eighty monks. After you’ve seen the monastery you’ll spend the rest of your time at Montserrat hiking one of the parks numerous trails that offers fantastic views of Catalunya’s countryside.
Upon your return to Barcelona you’ll have a few hours to relax before dinner.
This evening, enjoy a Flamenco Show and a complimentary drink. If you wish, you can opt to dine at the performance space, or we can direct you elsewhere on your own.
With over forty neighborhood markets throughout the city, market culture is alive in Barcelona. Local markets provide visitors with access to another culture—at the end of the day, food is what brings people together, and observing how people choose their food gives great insight into another way of life. You’ll spend the first part of your day visiting two of the city’s largest markets–the colorful La Boqueria off Las Ramblas is the most famous market in the city, while the Sant Antoni market is less known to tourists and dates back to 1882.
Next you’ll head up to Montjuic, a broad hill overlooking Barcelona’s harbor where you’ll find the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys and the Palau Nacional at Montjuic. Built in 1929, the Palau Nacional, home to the National Museum of Catalan Art, traces the history of Catalan art from the Romanesque period to the mid 20th century. This is one of Barcelona’s most impressive museums and will be your last stop at Montjuic. Before returning to Barcelona proper, we suggest stopping for lunch at one of our favorite stops.
Explore the city at your leisure for the remainder of the day.
For dinner tonight, we suggest a French bistro with a Catalan vibe, largely a favorite among locals. Located in a small plaza off Las Ramblas, the restaurant’s menu changes daily but never wavers on quality, offering the finest meats and produce available.
To continue your night, we will suggest a popular live music venue.
Following breakfast at your hotel, your final day will be spent in the wine region of Catalunya, 50 minutes southwest of Barcelona. Penedes is one of the oldest and most important wine producing regions in all of Europe, best known for its cava and oak aged red wines. You’ll begin your visit with a bike ride through the vineyards with a local guide, after which you’ll be provided with a traditional Catalan lunch. Next, visit a local winery, where you’ll taste different wines and learn the history and traditions behind wine making, a family tradition in the region for over three hundred years.
Return to Barcelona at the end of the day. We will provide you with suggestions for this evening’s dinner.
This morning, you will be privately transferred to the airport or train in time to return home, or continue on to your next Willing Foot destination.
This is just the beginning.
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