Barcelona was at the top of my list of places I wanted to visit while we are living in Europe, so I was thrilled when we were finally able to go last month. It’s not only a gorgeous city with beautiful parks, little streets, and interesting architecture (Gaudi!) but the city has so much to offer for sustainable shopping and food.
What to Do
I really wanted to see the Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s still-in-progress church. It’s truly stunning and there are so many amazing details. Travelling through Europe you visit a lot of churches but this is unlike any of them. I found the museum underneath really interesting where it explains how his designs and elements of the building were very influenced by nature (see how it looks like trees in a forest?).
We generally try to avoid very touristy places but this is definitely worth it – although be sure to book your tickets in advance, they sell out!
Whenever available we like to do Detour audio tours in a city. These are GPS guided walking tours that really immerse you in a neighborhood or story and so far every one we’ve gone on has been really interesting and well done. You can download them for $5 each and they can be shared and synced with up to 3 other people so our group was able to do a detour together.
In Barcelona we did the Summer of Anarchy tour which brought us along the harbour and through the Gothic Quarter to places relevant to the 1936 anarchist revolution. We also did a more current tour El Raval: Women in the World Skate Mecca which is narrated by two sisters talking about their experience as immigrants and how they found a home in the skateboarding culture of Barcelona. Ben especially liked this tour because it takes you to some different spots to watch skaters but I really enjoyed listening to their story and even if you’re not into skateboarding I think it’s still really interesting. Unfortunately we weren’t able to finish this one though as we were caught in a rain storm.
Finally Barcelona is great for just wandering around; the tiny winding streets of the Gothic Quarter are amazing to explore, you can take a long walk along the beach, or explore the parks – check out Parc Güell for more Gaudi and we also liked Parc de la Ciutadella (we didn’t get to go there but Parc del Laberint sounds fun and has a maze!).
Where to Eat (vegetarian & vegan)
For a fancy and fresh veg dinner visit Teresa Carles. They have beautiful dishes with healthy ingredients and we all really enjoyed our meals. It is pricier and the portions are satisfying but not large, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a big meal, but definitely if you want a lovely candlelit dinner out.
If you’re more in the mood for burgers and beer and a totally different vibe, head to Cat Bar CAT (unfortunately without cats). They have delicious burgers and I love when vegan burger places have different kinds of patties; Car Bar CAT has bean, hemp, seed/nut (I had this one, it was really good!), and a veggie burger, as well as 9 beer taps and bottles of local and Spanish beers.
Another great meal we had was near the harbour at The Green Spot. The restaurant is really modern with an interesting selection of dishes. The pizzas had really nice toppings and I had the sweet potato “noodles” with a macadamia nut sauce and black truffles (basically my favorite things in one dish), it was rich and delicious. My only con was the portion size but our group all really enjoyed our meals.
I’d also recommend having a juice and snack or breakfast at Hammock and if you’re wandering around the Gràcia neighborhood (which you should check out for shopping ↓ ) pick up a baked treat from La Besnéta.
Where to Shop
Gràcia is a wonderful part of the city for sustainable fashion stores. I went there to check out GreenLifeStyle a lovely shop with a good selection of sustainable European brands. They have a cute little dressing room area and also carry jewellery and underwear.
Also in Gràcia by chance we found Sunsais – think a small Anthropologie full of sustainable, and locally made treasures. They have clothes, homegoods, jewellery, and gifts, and the store has beautifully eclectic decor.
Olokuti is another store to check out (and I believe they also have a store in the Gothic Quarter). Olokuti has a large selection of clothes including a pretty good men’s selection, as well as a lot of books, and home/lifestyle products (yoga mats, water bottles, etc.). If you’re looking for kids clothes and toys they have a kids store just down the street.
Finally Gràcia also has a vegan and natural spa Vegere where you can get massages, facials, non-toxic mani/pedis, or your makeup done.
A few blocks up the street you can find Coshop (I think they also have a location in Gràcia as well). They carry a lot of small designers and also have their own collection of infinity dresses in tons of different colours.
Where to Sleep
We were travelling with some friends so we rented an Airbnb together, but Barcelona also has some green friendly places to stay!
Find everything mentioned:
I loved Barcelona and hope to go back sometime. If you’ve been or are from there, please let me know what your favourite places are!