Photo: Getty Images
At the heart of Spain's Catalonia region lies Barcelona, a beautifully diverse and active city rich in history, glamour, culture, and honeymoon romance. Unique in that it encompasses characteristics of a beach town, bustling metropolis and is also rich in historical significance, it's the perfect destination for honeymooners looking for part relaxation, part sightseeing, and a whole lot of delicious food and sangria. Follow this 3-day itinerary to make the most of your time in this amazing city.
Photo: Courtesy of Mercer Hotels
It's the first morning of your honeymoon — and it's okay to sleep in! In fact, particularly in the summer months, the sun sets later than it does in the US so you won't feel guilty for nabbing some extra shut-eye and adjusting to the time change. Post up at the Mercer Barcelona — perfectly located in the city's charming historic Gothic district but not without the modern amenities the Mercer is known for — to be near the Picasso museum and so many of our favorite tapas restaurants (don't miss toasting with a glass of champagne at nearby El Xampanyet). With endless amounts of charming sidewalk cafés and cozy tapas lounges, pop in to whichever one catches your eye — you won't be disappointed. Be sure to indulge in the most important meal of the day with a tortilla, tostada, and café con leche.
Embrace your inner (and outer) tourist and grab the hop-on hop-off double decker tour to see the city from above. (You can purchase the two-day pass and use this as a mode of transportation too, should your feet tire from walking!) Take note of all the spots that pique your interest and decide an itinerary from there. Take your time to get lost in the city on your first day — it's easy to do and you can customize your experience with some inside knowledge.
Before sunset, head to the coast to experience your first Catalan sunset. Grab dinner at the beachfront Arenal restaurant, where you can enjoy paella and other traditional seafood dishes, paired with delectable local Spanish wine.
Photo: Courtesy of Castlexperience
Pre-book a wine tour through Castlexperience, and enjoy a guided tour through Montserrat (a stunning mountain with awe-inspiring views, home to a monastery), Oller del Mas Cellar (local family winery and vineyard) and end the afternoon with a wine tasting and light tapas before you are transported back to the center of the city in the late afternoon. They offer half-day and full-day tours, but we suggest the half-day so you can get back to town with plenty of time to spare.
Having just wined and lightly dined, once late afternoon rolls around, save room for tapas. Traditionally beginning around 5pm, tapas (small portions of incredibly delicious Spanish fare) are served at most bars and pubs throughout the city. Dine and drink what your hearts desire. One place in particular to check out is Bodega Biarritz—be sure to grab a spot at the bar if you can. Point out your food choices on sprawling trays in front of you, pair with a drink, and enjoy!
Enjoy a late evening dinner in El Barri Gotic, also known as the Gothic Quarter. El Salon is a charming and cozy restaurant that features a traditional Catalan menu with extensive options including Swordfish Carpaccio, Grilled Sirloin Steak, and Stuffed Chicken with dried fruits. It's also open until 2am to dine, drink and dance as late as you wish. (Late dining is customary in Barca!)
Photo: Courtesy of Palacio del Flamenco
Order breakfast for early delivery to your room — then head to the architectural wonder that is the Sagrada Familia, a massive and legendary church designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudi. You'll want to get there early, as tickets are awarded on a first come, first serve basis. For sports enthusiasts, from there you'll want to head to see the home of FC Barcelona, Camp Nou to marvel at Spain's largest stadium, a true sporting and cultural epicenter.
Spend your last afternoon in Barcelona with some R&R at Barceloneta beach. Soak up some Spanish rays and enjoy the late setting sun. When you're ready, head to one of the beach front bars, such as Blue Beach Bar — they've got a killer Mojito for two that's the perfect late-afternoon drink to share. If the beach is not your scene, and you want to continue ogling Gaudi's masterpieces, head to the famed Parc Guell for an afternoon of modern architecture you'll never forget—doesn't hurt that it's one of the most Instagram-worthy sites in the city. Of course it's your honeymoon and it's all about relaxation, so head back to the Mercer for a late afternoon dip in the hotel's rooftop pool (and a sangria from the Pool Bar) after the long day's journey.
Enjoy a traditional Flamenco performance at Palacio del Flamenco where they feature a dinner and show option with delicious food and an energized, artistic performance. Opt for the late seating to savor each remaining moment in the City of Counts.