We love Barcelona. It’s one of our favourite European cities. This year, we stayed in the Gracia area – and it is hands down the best stay we’ve had. Here’s why…
And I mean loads. We actually only ate in the Gracia area for the 3 nights we were there, you are pretty much only ever 10 metres away from a tucked away hidden gem of a restaurant. And what does that mean? You can always walk home…
Our favourites were La Pepita (you’ll have to queue but luckily they have a tiny bar a few doors down where you can wait!) and Pepa Tomate (you must order the spinach balls with honey aioli). Both are great food, perfect atmosphere and more importantly: affordable.
We stayed in the Gothic Quarter last time and loved it, but Gracia has a similar feel – cobbled tree-lined narrow streets, tiny hidden bars and shops. But without as many tourists – most mornings we headed out around 9am and there were hardly any other people around.
The only bad thing about Parc Guell is the walk up there. But if you’re in Gracia it’s only a 15-20 minute walk. And Gracia is still only a few stops from the main part of the city and the beach.
It was actually a happy coincidence we ended up staying in Gracia. Like most people, I found a hugely instagram-worthy hotel via another Instagram account I follow (@lascallesdebcn) – the hotel was Hotel Brummel. It looked fab but a little pricey for us (considering we’d spent most of our money in Ibiza) – and then I found that the hotel actually also looked after its own apartments, too. It was a lovely little flat, with amazing floor tiles, it’s own kitchen and it was smack bang in the middle of Gracia.
You have to pick up the keys from the hotel, and the receptionist at the hotel (who actually lived in Gracia) could not have been more helpful. He talked us through all of his favourite places, marked them on maps, booked us a taxi to our flat (which was paid for by the Hotel) and gave us tons of advice. His recommendations were spot on and one of the reasons we had such a good time. Also, with the apartment comes use of the hotel facilities – rooftop, swimming pool etc.
And our flat was opposite Mama’s cafe, the sweetest place we spent every morning in…they do the usual avocado on toast etc – and coffee was €1.25
As we found out, it’s a slice of ‘real’ Barcelona where locals actually live, not avoid. You’ll find that in the type of bars, the fact that there aren’t any big Hotels, or any touristy restaurants with men in waistcoats inviting you in, everywhere is cool and reasonably priced. Staying in an apartment, we really felt like locals…and you feel a real difference when you get off the metro at Las Ramblas.
All in all, this was one of our best trips to Spain yet, and this definitely won’t be our last visit to Gracia.