Barcelona is mediterranean living at its best. Whether you're looking to soak up some sun, discover the city and its incredible architecture or feast on tapas and wine, this city has you covered. It is a place for slow living, siestas and late eating. No wonder it features in the top 10 of Airbnb and Pinterest's joint list of top trending travel destinations so far this year. Although not my first time in this city, with some good friend flying in from New Zealand, there could not have been a better reason to head there once more. Having previously experienced the likes of Park Güell and the Sagrada Familia (must-sees if you get a chance), this trip was special for its focus on spending quality time with quality people and eating good food along the way.
After wandering the Mercat del Born and it's beautifully restored archeological site, we made our way to Mercat St Josep la Boqueria to sample local flavours. From ham and seafood tasting to sipping fresh fruit juice there is a little something for everyone.
MARKET wanders : from archeological MUSEUM TO MODERN culinary maze
If you're after a tasty brunch with some healthy options, head to Caravelle in El Raval. The interiors, including graphic tiled floors, fresh flowers and wooden accents, will prove the perfect place whether you are recovering from a hangover or simply after some foodie delights. Special mention for the chia bowl and ricotta pancake, which did not disappoint.
Alternatively, for a Spanish brunch with an Australian twist, try Federal Café. Enjoy the coffee and tasty offerings whilst people watching from the beautiful courtyard terrasse.
TAPAS best : El XAMPANYET (Carrer de Montcada, 22, 08003 Barcelona) and super super bar (C/ Esparteria 14 (esquina c/ Calders) Barri del Born)
Come evening, head to El Born for a range of tapas bars, restaurants and eateries. My personal favourites on this trip were Super Super bar and El Xampanyet. The former has a great laid back atmosphere, friendly owner and tasty tapas to start you off. Also great if you are after a little sangria to kick off your night. The latter is a brightly lit, family owned traditional tapas bar. Packed to the brim with locals, this place had catalan flavours and alcohol pairing down. From the classic tomato bread, to the stuffed peppers and incredibly seasoned beef, every plate was better than the last. If there is one not to miss, this is it. It was so good, we ate there two nights in a row!
Besides the couple of options I have just mentioned, Barcelona is a place for great dining and terrasse living. Make sure to avoid the tourist traps that tend to line Las Ramblas and instead get lost in the old town, gothic quarters and El Born areas for some delectable meals. If in doubt, look for small, bright, local haunts filled with loud chatter and locals. Top tip: be bold and forgo the menu once in a while. Waiters know what their restaurant does best and are often more than happy to select items off the menu for you. Not only do you not have to bother trying to translate menus, you will also get to try things you may not have considered ordering but that will completely rock you tastebuds.
One thing I've learnt: you might go to Barcelona for the beach, but you'll want to stay for the food.
When packing for Barcelona, opt for fun feminine pieces, such as off-the-shoulder tops and flowy dresses. Although it does get hot, the coastal breeze and shadow cast streets help keep things cool. Natural fibres like cotton and linen are my go to for summer dressing, and there is no better colour than white to bring out that fresh tan.