Barcelona Pleasure Guide
A former Bali resident now based in the modernist paradise of Barcelona, she obviously has fixation on B-towns. Masha is a lifestyle journalist, with her online writing course launching this month, and a vintage rug hunter. She enjoys dumpster diving in BCN as much as reviewing luxe hotels and fine dining restaurants.
1. Beach Gym
People watching is your jam while traveling? Try this: find yourself a spot at the concrete benches next to the outdoors gym at Barceloneta beach promenade and enjoy the view on young strong and barely dressed bodies exercising and simply showing off. It’s like living Tinder but well filtered. BYO popcorn.
Forget sangria, this sugary crap is for day trippers - vermouth is what locals really drink here when they gather at the sunlit terraces for an endless Spanish chit-chat. Pretty much each bar and restaurant will have their vermouth casero(or homemade), which has nothing to do with bitter Cinzano, Martini and such. We love velvety Falcon Reserva with black current notes that they serve at La Rubia bar just next to iconic MACBA museum. Another perfect spot for people watching, btw.
Calling all Moanas out there! Sounds dubious but trust us: comes summer, waking up at 5am to catch the sunrise while floating on a foam board in the warm sea is the best thing ever. You can do some stretching, meditate or just paddle around watching the heated orange ball emerging above the horizon line. Just set that damn alarm up, and do your best to not ignore it - you will thank us later.
Climb up-up-uphill to the ruins of WWI bunkers and enjoy the bird eye view on the whole city and the sea - absolutely free of charge! Don’t forget to bring some snacks and bubbles for the sunset picnic, and blend in the hordes of youngsters chilling, playing guitar, having drinks and sharing spliffs. So Barcelona!
5. Coffee (and more coffee!)
Specialty coffee is not such a common thing in Barcelona so you have to know where to look. We love our daily grind at the pretty SlowMov, hip Satan’s (watch out if you’re caffeine sensitive- their flat white is a psycho killer!) or Aussie-owned Federal. Another great option is Morrow, where they roast their blend on the spot. Or another coffee snobs’ favorite address, Onna - guess why we like it?;)
This city is an eye candy for any street art lover. Walk the shadiest streets of Raval to discover the hippy communal gardens with giant murals, look up to spot cool messages on the walls made of painted cans and pose against the famous KISS which is a mural made of hundreds of Polaroids.
7. Dumpster shopping
The game of treasure hunting at the garbage spots is strong in this city! Each hood has its own day for dumping large objects such as grandma’s bookshelf or a set of midcentury tabourets - the locals know those days by heart, so you better hurry up! You can find some awesome items that definitely deserve a new owner - would it be you?
8. Espai Jolie
A coffee shop meets greenhouse. Plants in pots, good coffee, sticky banana bread, piles of Kinfolk and more pots of all sorts. This is one happy spot for creative introverts. Get you new succulent pet or just stay for hours going through lifestyle magazines and dreaming about your ideal home.
9. Cotton House
A precious boutique hotel that screams ‘pleasure’ for everyone who’s into colonial style and fancy but hip stays. Always sold out, so book well in advance.
10. Secret Gardens
There are some awesome lush city escapes hidden in the least expected locations. Like, a beautiful public terrace full of lavender pots tucked in the back of Massimo Dutti store on Passeig de Gracia (which is a work of art btw!) Or Jardins de Silencio in Gracia. Find them all!
11. Pulpada electronica
A cozy rave (does it even exist?) that brings together cool tunes and great bites. Always outdoors - locations vary, from port to park. Always delicious - think grilled octopus as a signature treat. Hence the name!
12. Madame Jasmine
Decor worth an early Almodovar movie. Bartenders sporting fishnets and nipple tassels - none of them is a girl but all of them are definitely ladies. Toilets featuring snapshots of some loyal genitalia-exposing patrons. There is nothing not to love about this tiny, tightly-packed bar - Raval’s signature hotspot. Grab a tube with golden glitter from the bar top, smear it all over your face (and that cute stranger next to you!) and dive into a night to remember.
13. City bikes
A lazy bike ride is surely the best thing you can do on a warm sunny day, which means pretty much a year-rounder here in Barcelona. The city is relatively flat if you don’t climb up towards El Carmel bunkers so it’s a no-effort spin that allows you to see all the most significant sights in just one day. Ride along the beach and go as far as Forum to see the coolest modern architecture, zip the wide avenues of Poblenou or even hop on the train (bikes allowed!) and go explore the beach town of Badalona which is just a short ride away. Also, talking about Onna-style pleasures, rubbing those thighs on the firm seat all day long can end up with a steamy night!
14. Squirt ain’t pee!
Barcelona is a famous art hub so no wonder there is a bunch of cool locally raised tongue-in-cheek designers. For instance, check this tiny local brand Badass Prints which gained a huge fame with their daring Ts. ‘Squirt ain’t pee’ - this statement surely deserves its own fashion line.