Hemlock ❤️s Adventure: Barcelona

Everything to do, from where to stay, explore and relax in Barcelona, Spain

Mary kate Hafner in Barcelona Spain

Mary Kate Hafner, Adventurer

Why We Went

 I don’t need to be the 1,004th person on the Internet talking about how time is fleeting (even though it is!), especially regarding our loved ones. Now that my family lives across three states, spending time together has become more and more challenging. So, in the name of making memories, our family of four flew hundreds of miles across the Atlantic Ocean to spend nine days together in beautiful Barcelona.

Where to Stay 

We divided our Barcelona days between an AirBnb in the Eixample neighborhood and Hotel Brummell in the Poble Sec neighborhood. While many tourists would understandably opt to stay in the Old Town, we loved the more local feeling these neighborhoods provided. 

Eixample’s wide streets keep you close to the action and big-name sights. Slightly off the beaten track in the Poble Sec neighborhood, Hotel Brummell welcomed us with their retreat-like outdoor space and chill restaurant. Right across the street from Hotel Brummell is Parc Montjuc, where locals and tourists alike take in magical views of the city, port, and the Mediterranean Sea.

No matter your choice of location, Barcelona’s excellent metro system will keep you connected to anywhere you want to see, taste, and explore.

Hotel Brummell Pool

Where to Eat

Barcelona is a place to eat well. There are a plethora of Catalan and Andalusian specialties to savor; however, don’t expect free tapas with your drink at most establishments as you would down south. Regardless, there are plenty of places you’ll be making plans to return to. Here are a few of our favorite spots:

Located in the Eixample neighborhood, Parking Pita had me wishing we had ordered everything on the menu twice. The tandoori chicken pita sounds basic, but it should be illegal to dine here and not order it. Its next-door sister restaurant, Parking Pizza, is also a treat, but if you have to pick, Parking Pita is the one to commit to.

Funky Bakers is a homey breakfast spot with two locations. You can sit down at their eatery or browse the bakery for delightful savory and sweet pastries. The bakery’s flavorful and juicy sausage roll was my favorite.

Tucked away in the Old Town, Vivinos can easily be missed due to its dark and straightforward exterior. However, to miss it would be a shame because its specialization in Spanish wines and friendly staff make it a fantastic spot to take in a wine tasting. For your tapas choice, try the tender pork cheeks.

Located in La Barceloneta neighborhood, 1881 per Sagardi can be found on the rooftop of Museu d'Història de Catalunya. While on the pricey side, there is a spectacular port view to witness over a spritz and traditional Catalan cuisine.

Funky BakersPork cheek at Vivinos

Raw Cod Salad, a traditional Catalan dish at 1881Parking Pita


What to Do

 As a Gaudi Girli, I could spend weeks visiting Antoni Gaudi’s works across the city. But, if you were only to see one, Sagrada Familia should be a top priority. I feel it will become a world wonder once its construction is finally completed. If you have time for another Gaudì spot, Parc Guell is worth the short trek for sweeping city views and magical energy.   

Outside of Gaudi, there are an overwhelming number of experiences to take in. Luckily Barcelona is a beautiful walking city. To get started, I highly recommend a tour, like this Air Bnb experience, to become orientated to the city and learn a bit of history. Frequently, I find AirBnB experiences, including this one, share recommendation lists covering everything from ice cream to paella, tapas, flamenco, and more. Consider the rest of your trip sorted.


A highlight of our trip was a Flytographer photoshoot my brother and I booked for our family on our last full day. Our hour-long photoshoot included multiple locations showcasing Barcelona’s style. The photographer was much more affordable than family photos in the United States, and I had the photos back within five days. My mother was thrilled and immediately printed an album to help our memories last forever.


Wrap Up

Barcelona is an enchanting excursion full of life, creativity, and history. Distinctly and proudly different from the rest of Spain, this cosmopolitan hub will pack your days and nights, leaving you energized and eagerly plotting to return, alone or with friends.