How do you say, “Barcelona?” If you say it in the romance language known as Catalan, it’s actually pronounced “Barthelona.” Barcelona is the capital of the Spanish region of Catalonia, where the Catalan language was born. From the works of Antoni Gaudí to the lively walking street of La Rambla, there’s plenty to see and do in Barcelona. When we think of the city, we think romance. Imagine dining on tapas while sipping sangria as you stare in to the eyes of the one you love. Fantasize about romantic strolls along the waterfront followed by a picnic with fresh olives and bubbly Cava. Barcelona is the perfect destination for two.
If you are looking to bring your sweetie to Barcelona for a romantic escape, here are some suggestions to ignite that romantic spark. When Dave and I last visited, we stayed at the Hotel Claris in central Barcelona and found it to be the perfect location for walking to all the major sights. There’s nothing better than strolling hand and hand through one of Europe’s most romantic cities.
Picnic in Parc Güell
Stop at the famous market, La Boqueria, to pick up picnic items such as fresh bread, cured meats, cheese, and scrumptious olives. Don’t forget to grab a bottle of Cava, (Spain’s champagne) to bring along. Once you’ve got the perfect picnic essentials, make your way out to Parc Güell for your romantic escape. The park is filled with fairytale creations and mosaics by Gaudí, all of which make for an enchanting garden setting.
The beautiful Gaudi buildings in Barcelona
Stroll along the route of Gaudí
Speaking of Gaudí, a romantic afternoon spent strolling through the city to view his architectural works is a wonderful way for lovers to relax and bond. Start with his most famous work, La Sagrada Familia. This basilica is the centerpiece of the city, and can be seen from nearly every vantage point. It was Guadí’s unfinished masterpiece, has been under construction since 1882, and it doesn’t look like it will be completed anytime soon. You also must make sure to visit Casa Mila and go inside to see its atrium. Its undulating façade flows beautifully and makes for a striking view from the street. The rooftop chimneys also are spectacular. Finish your walk at Casa Batlló, which is covered in colorful Mosaics and boasts an almost skull-like façade. There are boutiques and high end shops near Casa Batlló that can make for a nice spur-of-the-moment surprise purchase for the one you love.
Take a spin in a Seat 600
Nothing brings a couple together like driving together. One of the best city tours we’ve ever taken was driving a vintage car around Barcelona. The Seat 600 was a popular car in 1960’s Spain, and has become an icon of that period. Today in Barcelona, you can join a tour of the city while driving your own Seat 600. You can switch off driving duties as a couple whenever you like as you explore the sights. You’ll stop at some of the hottest spots in town, but the pièce de résistance is dinner outside on Montjuic Hill, outside the grounds of Montjuic Castle. With magnificent views of the harbor you’ll dine in style, sipping Spanish wine.
Viewfinder Tip: Avoid eating near La Rambla, and, instead, find a quieter and cheaper restaurant on a nearby street.
Take a Harbor Cruise
Nothing spells romance like taking a scenic sunset cruise. Barcelona has an extraordinary port filled with massive multimillion-dollar yachts. Joining a boat tour of your own makes you feel like one of the rich and famous for a day as you take in the views of the city. There are many different cruises to choose from; if you decide not to take a dinner cruise, you can dine on shore in one of the many waterfront cafés.
Small plates, big hearts
Barcelona restaurants are all about tapas, or small plates. Our advice: Find yourself a tapas bar, head up to the counter and point at all the food you are interested in, then order yourself a couple of glasses of Cava. Once you’ve done this, find a quiet table in the corner, and cozy up to each other while recounting all the amazing experiences you have had in one of Europe’s most romantic cities.
What’s your favorite romantic destination, and why?