A Foodie’s Guide to Youth Travel in Barcelona
Planning a family vacation to Barcelona with teens? What better way to introduce them to local cuisine than on an organized tapas tour? Plus, this is an ideal chance for you to impart knowledge about food and culture within Spanish society.
Tapas are the ideal way to experience Spanish cuisine – whether as a light appetizer or full meal. Popular worldwide for their small dishes and flavorful combinations, tapas have become something of a global phenomenon.
In this special guide, we’ve collaborated with local foodie Maria from Barcelona Food Experience to compile a list of the best tapas bars and restaurants in Barcelona. From artisanal cured sausages to tea-smoked duck breast, here are dishes you mustn’t miss while visiting!
Quimet i Quimet is one of Barcelona’s oldest and most beloved tapas bars, boasting a warm, untouristy atmosphere. It makes an excellent starting point for your Barcelona tapas tour as you can sample various classic Spanish dishes while learning about its history and traditions.
If you’re new to tapas, it can be intimidating. So be sure to start small and order a few dishes to get acquainted with them; once you feel confident and are enjoying them, feel free to add more items to your order as needed.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the menu, ask your waiter what they suggest. Not only can they assist with finding dishes that are fresh and delicious on the day, they may also inform you about their specials or advise which wines go well with each dish they serve!
2. La Boqueria
La Boqueria, situated in the heart of Barcelona’s tourist area, is one of its most iconic landmarks. Here you’ll find some of the city’s best tapas restaurants, fresh fruit juices and top-notch jamon and local cheeses to savor.
Boqueria Market, commonly referred to as Mercat de Sant Josep or Boqueria for short, began its life outside the city walls in 1217 as an open-air market. Over time it expanded and was eventually relocated to Las Ramblas in 1827.
With an abundance of food from fish and vegetables to meats and cheeses, you could spend a day here exploring all of the stalls. Its vibrant displays will surely leave your mouth watering!
It’s an ideal spot to purchase traditional products like ham, extra-virgin olive oil and dried fruits. But the real treat comes when you explore its unique ambiance and enjoy all that this market has to offer.
La Boqueria offers its best vibe in the mornings when it’s quieter. Plus, you can enjoy a delicious breakfast at one of its bars!
There are plenty of bars to choose from in Barcelona, but two of the most authentic are Pinotxo Bar and El Quim de la Boqueria. Both serve a selection of Catalan dishes with renowned Huevos con chipirones (fried baby squid eggs) and grilled razor clams as their signature dishes.
3. La Sagrada Familia
One of the most breathtaking sights to witness on your trip is Gaudi’s masterpiece La Sagrada Familia. Thousands of tourists visit this site daily and it’s not hard to understand why: its sheer awe-inspiring architecture truly leaves you speechless.
Francesc de Paula del Villar i Carmona originally designed La Sagrada Familia in the 18th century, but Gaud added his unique touch. Drawing inspiration from Goethe and Ruskin, Gaudi utilized plasticity and structural forms to create a sense of energy and contrast throughout his artwork.
This church is considered one of the greatest works of art in the world and must-see on any list of things to do in Barcelona. Even if you don’t believe in religion, its architectural design alone makes it worth visiting.
This major landmark is definitely worth taking the time to take a good photo of. Some great views can be enjoyed, but the best one is from Placa de Gaudi just north-east of the basilica.
If you want to purchase access to the towers, prices start at EUR26 for site access and an audio guide (available on the official app). There are add-ons such as a real-person tour or climbing up one of the towers for EUR10. It’s worth remembering that crowds tend to build up quickly, so booking your ticket in advance helps avoid queues.
4. La Ramblas
La Rambla de Barcelona, to some, is the hub of its glittering tourist industry; to others, it’s an irresistible lure for pickpockets and scam artists alike. But no matter who you are – local or visitor – walking down Las Ramblas offers a captivating insight into Barcelona’s fascinating past.
La Rambla was originally a dried stream bed outside the city walls. But during the 15th century, when these walls were expanded, the river was diverted and created an empty area – eventually becoming known as La Rambla.
Along this tree-lined street, you’ll find plenty of fascinating sights like the Picasso Museum or Palau del Marques de la Familia. Plus, take time out for a leisurely walk through Antoni Gaudi’s sculpture park for some relaxation.
Foodies will love this vibrant market, featuring fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, frozen fish, curtains of hung red meat and an abundance of fragrant flowers. Don’t miss visiting La Boqueria market – serving the city since 1836 – another must-visit attraction.
For an authentic taste of classical culture, the Liceu Theatre on La Rambla is a must-visit. This cultural centre has seen better days but remains as the hub for Barcelona’s opera scene.
5. El Raval
El Raval is a vibrant neighborhood of Barcelona that’s packed with bars, late-night restaurants and independent boutiques. Once known for its red-light district reputation, El Raval has seen remarkable redevelopment over the last few years.
Barcelona is also home to the Richard Meier-designed Museum of Contemporary Art and Palau Guell, a Gaudi mansion open for tours. If you’re in search of culture and an entirely different side to Barcelona, Barcelona is the place for you.
This area is an ideal starting point to explore the rest of Barcelona, being close to Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter and Eixample. Furthermore, you’re within walking distance to some of Barcelona’s popular food markets such as La Boqueria on Las Ramblas or Mercat Sant Antoni.
Polyglot El Raval boasts an eclectic collection of restaurants, cafes and nightclubs serving international cuisines. From budget-friendly Middle Eastern, Mexican and Filipino fare to stylish Mediterranean “fusion” establishments – there’s no shortage of choices here!
If you’re into fashion, El Raval is the perfect destination to find vintage and alternative clothes in Barcelona. Browse the many pop-up stalls on Calle Riera Baixa for unique finds or visit Fleadonia flea market on Sundays in Placa de Blanquerna for even more finds!
Recently, the district has seen significant regeneration. Nonetheless, it can still be a dangerous place at night, particularly if you’re alone. Keep your wallet and other valuable belongings with you at all times and avoid wandering down unlit alleyways at night if possible.
Montjuic, Barcelona’s unique neighborhood made famous by the 1929 World Fair and 1992 Olympic Games, offers many top tourist attractions such as monuments, museums, art galleries and stunning gardens.
Families seeking some culture will find plenty to explore here. Many monuments and tourist attractions were constructed during the International Exposition of 1929, such as The Magic Fountain, a mock-Spanish village, and numerous excellent museums and art galleries.
Get to know this part of the city better by taking a leisurely walk through its many hill parks. Each one offers something special, providing different perspectives of the city with plenty of cacti, flora and trees to admire.
As you conclude your Montjuic experience, don’t miss visiting Montjuic Castle – one of the region’s main sights and an impressive example of Catalan architecture. Once a fortress for the city, today it offers stunning views over Barcelona and Tibidabo mountain in the distance.
Montjuic Mountain can be reached via several methods, including the Funicular which will take you halfway up, and Teleferic de Montjuic Cable Car which takes you all the way to the top. Both activities are must-dos for any visit to this fascinating part of Barcelona; plus, with your Barcelona Card or by booking ahead with your Barcelona City Pass you’ll get discounted entry!