I wish I knew more about Spain, but the truth is I haven't been there as much as other places. And when I have, I haven't done a good job of keeping track of the places we loved.
I can't give you a ton of stuff, but I can give you a pretty decent list for Barcelona. My full post on the city is here, if you're looking for additional commentary or my favorite shopping.
PARC GUELL: Make the trek up to Gaudi's panoramic park that overlooks Barcelona. It's a bit of a haul out there and admission isn't free- but it's something you have to do when you're in Barcelona.
PICASSO MUSEUM: Another "must" that isn't cheap... but it's worth spending a morning wandering around this extensive museum dedicated to the work of Pablo Picasso. The good news is, you'll work up an appetite and find loads of yummy restaurants to satisfy you nearby after you're finished.
Carrer Montcada, 15-23, 08003 Barcelona | +34 932 56 30 00
LAS RAMBLAS: Yes, it's touristy, but its Barcelona! No trip is complete with a meander down this famous street.
LA BOQUERIA: This food market along Las Ramblas is a culinary- and visual- feast. With everything from freshly caught seafood, vibrant produce and bins overflowing with candy, you'll find something to satisfy any craving you could possibly have.
La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona | +34 933 18 25 84
TANTARANTANA: Located in the Born area, this tapas place is just perfect for your daily required dose of piquillo peppers, cheesy ham croquettes and chorizo. And with glasses of cava for just €2.50 and most tapas plates at €2-4, you'll walk out of there with enough cash left in your pocket to buy yourself a souvenir at some of the great shops nearby.
Carrer d'en Tantarantana, 24, 08003 Barcelona | +34 932 68 24 10
MAKA MAKA BEACH BURGER CAFE: If you're headed to the beach, this is a fun place to get a burger. It's definitely "cool," so you may need to wait. It's worth it though. The food is great, and the patio is really lively.
Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 76, 08039 Barcelona | +34 932 21 35 20
LAS FRITAS: After you've stuffed yourselves with burgers from Maka Maka, head across the street to Las Fritas for a giant cone of fries. Get it the way the locals do with a giant dollop of mayonnaise.... or stick to ketchup, if your stomach can't handle the thought.
Passeig de Joan de Borbó, 12, 08003 Barcelona | +34 933 17 19 70
EL NACIONAL: This spot off the main thoroughfare of the Passeig de Gracia is a bit like a market, but it’s not the standard hodge podge of farmers and artisans selling food. It’s more like a posh food court with various places to eat in it. Get some delicious Italian, fresh seafood, French brasserie food or grab some Spanish tapas at their various little restaurants. Whatever you’re up for, there seems to be a pretty option for you there. Read my full post here.
Passeig de Gràcia, 24 bis 08007 Barcelona | +34 93 518 50 53
HOLE: Tyler and I were so happy to stumble upon this cute spot the last time we were in town. It's a perfect little cafe complete with great coffee, Nutella-topped pancakes, and incredible fresh-squeezed juices. Read my full post here.
Carrer de València, 352, 08009 Barcelona | +34 931 38 64 95
HOTEL MARKET: I really loved this hotel. We paid around €69 per night (via the TABLET site) and felt like we hit the jackpot. It's about a 15 minute walk to Las Ramblas, but a good walk. We didn't mind, so if you're in the mood for a great hotel (with a great restaurant and bar) and aren't intimidated by being in a more residential area, this is your place.
Carrer del Comte Borrell, 68, 08015 Barcelona | +34 933 25 12 05
HOTEL MAJESTIC: If you’re wanting a hotel that is right in the middle of things, opt for this luxe hotel just off Passeig de Gracia. You’ll find yourself with prime views of Barcelona’s most popular area and within easy walking distance to all the others like the Gothic Quarter and Eixample. If you go, the suite #323 is a splurge way to keep the whole family in the same room. With a fold out and cot available for the sitting room, you can easily get a young family in the with loads of room- and the best views of the hotel. Don’t miss the fabulous breakfast (ask for a table outside) or going up to the 10th floor for an incredible panoramic view of the city.
Passeig de Gràcia, 68, 08007 Barcelona | +34 934 88 17 17