Barcelona In Winter


It is the right of a traveler

to vent their frustration at every minor inconvenience

by writing of it to their friends.

Susanna Clarke


With all this forecast of snow that fails to show, I dream more and more of living in the Mediterranean where the weather is mild and the culture varied. I adore French style and Italian gusto, but food can win me over, especially fresh and tasty seafood served in appetizer portions that the Spanish call “Tapas.”  To inspire a stop in (if not a move to) Barcelona, here’s an easy itinerary that you’ll enjoy even in winter:

Start with a city bike tour to give your cramped airplane legs much needed exercise while covering a good chunk of the city. Whether renting bikes on your own or riding with a group tour, make sure you include the city’s beach front boardwalk. Locals and tour guides are your best resource for information on how much to tip restaurants/taxis, where to find the best of this and that, etc, so don’t be shy to ask! And see this woman running in the photo? That will never be me! 😉

Learn about local culture with a tapas tour by Barcelona Local Experiences where you sample traditional favorites in food and wine at four historic tapas bars.

Catch a Flamenco Show at the grand and gorgeous Palau de La Musica. If you’re a fan of architecture, the Palau runs guided tours to brag about its interiors which will allow you to admire the beauty of its glass dome with daylight.  If traveling with young ones, they’ll stay more awake at the Tablao Flamenco Cordobes (though I’m not a fan of its location in the touristy Ramblas) where dancers’ vigorously stomp their feet at eye level. For a casual yet sexier ambiance, book an after dinner table at the courtyard of Palau Dalmases.

Shop for fresh produce at Santa Caterina Market followed by a paella cooking class at Cook & Taste Barcelona. Their pretty kitchen in the middle of nowhere was a very lovely surprise. To make them easier to find, look for the Conessa sandwich shop at a corner of Placa de Sant Jaume and walk up the small street right beside the shop.

To appreciate the genius of Gaudi, your first stop among his creations should be the attic museum at Casa Mila (aka La Pedrera) where exhibits give you an idea of how this master architect took inspiration from nature in design and how he was able to calculate the weight bearing loads of the spiraling pillars for his building’s structures without mathematical formulas. For best photo lighting, time your rooftop visit of this apartment building right around sunset. The mid-afternoon is when you catch sunlight streaming beautifully through the stained glass windows of the Sagrada Familia. Casa Batllo has a fun theatrical tour only on Sunday afternoons with costumed characters relating the story of the pretend Batllo family and Gaudi.

Runner Bean Free Walking Tour has very capable and enthusiastic guides who deserve to be tipped generously.


Click on this Barcelona nightlife link for a comprehensive list aside from their newer nightclubs (Shoko, Carpe Diem, etc.) lined up on the boardwalk by the casino and Frank Gehry’s fish sculpture. The entrance to the clubs look like small pop up stores that make you wonder how they can possibly fit enough people for a wild party. They don’t. They actually use things called stairs and elevators to take you down to a lower level–where the umbrellas add additional dining options facing the beach. 😉

Where to stay

Not the W Hotel if you want a central location. For ease of walking in all directions, I love the Eixample neighborhood where the streets are wider than the old city sections of El Born or Barri Gotic. Around the two Gaudi houses of Casa Mila and Casa Batllo will situate you near Ramblas de Catalunya where locals shop. El Palace is my royal favorite. with its cozy retro nightclub lounge in the basement, featuring a jazz trio or vocalist on weekends.

Where to eat

Vinitus – Vinitus has 2 locations of tapas bars in Eixample. I enjoyed the smaller one with its cozy booths in some shade of blue. They don’t bother with reservations so go early and though I’m not a fan of bread pudding, you must find out why I had to have some.

Behind Casa Mila – Dora for the most tender and thinly sliced octopus and the feel of an old world neighborhood restaurant.

Placa de Sant Jaume is where many bike and walking tours meet. As I mentioned earlier, there’s the tiny sandwich shop called Conessa at one corner of the square that’s known to be the best in the city. Around another corner of the square, I enjoyed the high ceilings and food at Lonja de Tapas on Carrer Sant Jaume 1, 8.

Best Seafood Paella at Salamanca in Barceloneta and if you want to pick out your own live lobster, La Barca del Salamanca on the pier.

Best Churros in town is said to be at Xurreria Manuel San Roman, Carrer de Banys Nous 8.

El Nacional – I can’t vouch much for the food but you must see this former carpark that has been beautifully converted into a lively restaurant square with a selection of half a dozen dining options with a gelato counter up front. Ladies must check out their fun cabaret style powder room behind the stairs, too.

Located in the far northeast corner of Spain, Barcelona is a popular stop for cruise ships and a comfortable three hours from Madrid on the high-speed AVE train. Those who plan on renting a car can start in Barcelona, take the train to Madrid and sightsee Toledo, all before picking up a car — cleverly saving on several days’ worth of rental and parking fees.

Click on “Leave a Comment” (top left) to share your best Barcelona travel tip.


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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mountain
    Jan 22, 2019 @ 00:24:02

    Well I’ve never been to Spain–gee, I think there’s a song there! They say the ladies are insane there—and they sure know how to use it. I think this is where I insert the copyright disclaimer! 😉 All kidding and singing aside I love the Birke family vacations shared in photos. The boys are in the kitchen cooking up some yummy looking dish, I can almost smell the saffron. Mom, isn’t running down the street but resting her shutter finger listening to some jazzy music in a cozy little hideaway enjoying some sea food. Wow!, if that doesn’t sound inviting, I don’t know what does! Just for the record I am a fan of bread pudding.

    My favorite photo, well that was easy! I haven’t quite figured out the photo or photos yet—but your smile, you must light up the room wherever you go, Sharon! 🙂

    Inquiring minds want to know, what is in that glass and what was so special about the bread pudding?



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