A couple of weekends ago, LM and I hopped on a plane and zoomed off to the glorious city of Barcelona, for a festive and Christmassy city break… oh and it was bueno…
We were staying in the Raval area in a super hotel (Barceló Raval – it was fantastic and I have written all about this hotel over here), so we were right in the heart of it. As both LM and I had been to Barcelona several times before , we’d both seen and been to many of the main sights and attractions scattered around the city.
This time we were able to just wander around the city and see the smaller, more local places… which are clearly loved by the locals and ones which I will share with you now…
We wandered into the amazing fresh food market and were immediately hit by an explosion of aroma and colour…
If we lived in Barcelona, I’m certain we’d do all our shopping here. You can get everything you can imagine… The market has been around since 1217 (!) when it began as a simple meat market. It’s now a thriving hub of deliciousness off Las Ramblas and you could spend hours chatting to the market traders and wandering through the maze of pathways between all the amazing stalls…
Fira de Santa Llúcia Christmas Market
Barcelona is full of Christmas markets at this time of year, and this is probably Barcelona’s most well-known and classic Christmas market – it’s been going since 1786 and is located right outside Barcelona Cathedral. Most of the stalls sell Christmas trees, decorations and mistletoe.. and you can also pick up your Christmas Caga Tió – a funny little log with a cartoony friendly face, which is a very important part of a Catalan Christmas.
Locals flock to this market and it can become very crowded, but the atmosphere could not be more festive. Songs were being sung outside the cathedral, candles were lit, Christmas trees were being bought and I wanted to break into a rendition of White Christmas. So I did.
Tapas at Quimet y Quimet
Quimet y Quimet is situated on a street between Poble Sec and Parallel – a busy, wide avenue. Although this is a bodega (a winery) it also serves unbelievably delicious tapas. It’s a busy and bustling and standing-room only.. you’ll find yourself shoulder to shoulder with the locals, often with a small crowd waiting on the street outside. A member of the Quim family (now fourth generation) can be found behind the bar, managing the orders of the hoards of locals found daily in his tiny bar.
Quimet y Quimet serves its own-label Belgian bottled beers and cava and the walls are lined with hundred of bottles of wine, sourced from all around the world. But, we weren’t there for the wine.. (although, it was excellent).. we were there for the very, very special food. Simple, but heavenly and not too expensive at all. We could have holed ourselves up in there happily, for the entire weekend! Quimet y Quimet – C/Poeta Cabanyes 25
We sat and drank coffee, gazed at the ocean in the December sunshine… and we may have bought a bag of Churros… covered in sugar… and guzzled them while we watched people paddle boarding in their wetsuits. May have.
Dinner at Lo de Flor
On Saturday night we headed out for dinner to this extremely charming restaurant. Tucked away in a little side street in the Raval district, Lo de Flor serves up delicious local and and mediterranean inspired dishes. The interior is simple and rustic and you feel like you’re in the owner’s home… the food was absolutely super. We enjoyed oysters, steak tartar, chicken liver paté and aubergine parmigiana… we both loved it.
Lo de Flor – Calle Carretas 18, 08001 Stamp and Coin Market, Plaça Reial
Every Sunday, Plaça Reial in the Gothic quarter, (Barri Gòtic) sees stamp and coin collectors and traders come together in a bustling and excitable market. I am not that fascinated by stamps and coins myself, but I do love people watching, and we could not have found a more perfect place for this.
Brunch at Caravelle
Caravelle is a bright and airy café, set up by some food loving’ Aussies, again in the Raval district. It came highly recommended to me by Sally, and I am mighty glad I took her up on her recommendation! Excellent food, laid back vibe, loved by locals and packed for brunch.
Caravelle – C/ Pintor Fortuny 31
Cronuts at Chök
I really struggled to whittle down my photographs for this amazing ‘chocolate kitchen.’ Everything looked and smelled and tasted (I didn’t actually taste everything) amazing.
The shop used to be a chocolaterie, and much of the original interior remains…
Chök – c/ del Carme, 3, 08001
Are you planning to go to Barcelona anytime soon?
Put these hotspots on your list, if so!