Great food, great wine, beautiful sunsets, and its very special Mediterranean character all make Barcelona the perfect city to visit with your partner. Check out our list of things to do that will give your trip that special, romantic charm.
Visit la Pedrera by night
La Pedrera is one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterworks. Everyone coming to the Catalan capital should see it, but instead of going during the day, when it’s crowded with throngs of other tourists, go at night for a more intimate and memorable experience. The rooftop is lit up with colorful lights, which play off the quasi-organic forms of the sculpted stone spires and crenellations, making for a visual spectacle that adds to the beauty of Barcelona’s illuminated skyline. In the Summer, La Pedrera also hosts rooftop jazz concerts — the perfect way to spend an evening: taking in the views, sipping cava, and listening to live music. More information and tickets for La Pedrera here.
Have dinner under the stars at the Fabra Obersatory
Perched on the side of Tibidabo, the Fabra Observatory offers magnificent views of the city and of the night sky. During the Summer months, its wood viewing deck turns into an open-air restaurant, gathering local couples for dinner and to enjoy the spectacular image that is Barcelona all lit up by night. After dinner, you’ll be treated to a short scientific lecture on astronomy, and a guided visit of the museum and the observatory, where you’ll get to look at the stars through its massive telescope. The perfect plan for a romantic dinner for two in the Catalan capital.
Share a Paella in la Barceloneta
After a morning sunbathing on Barcelona’s beaches, head to Restaurant 7 Portes nearby for one of the best paellas in Barcelona (pronounced pah-eh-yah, not pah-eh-lah or pah-ye-yah). The restaurant is over a century and a half old, dating from 1836, and over its many years its dining room has hosted illustrious guests such as Orson Welles, Pablo Picasso, or the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. Its star dishes are its many styles of rice with seafood. Try the arròs caldós amb llamàntol — a typical rice and lobster casserole.
Rent a row boat in Parc de la Ciutadella
El Parc de la Ciutadella is Barcelona’s prettiest urban park; a gathering spot for tourists and locals alike, where you can come for a picnic, sunbathe on the grass, nap in the shade of its trees, or sign up to an impromptu yoga class. At the center of the park is a pond where you can rent row boats and go for a paddle with the resident ducks and geese.
Go cycling and enjoy the Barcelona sunset
In the early evening, the salty Mediterranean breeze cools the air and the Summer heat slowly dissipates, making it the perfect time to go for a walk or a bike ride along the Passeig Maritim – Barcelona’s waterfront. Rent a bike in La Barceloneta and head north along the beach. Cicle past the two twin skyscrapers until you reach one of the stone piers that jut out into the sea, where you can sit and watch the Barcelona sunset reflecting on the Mediterranean.
Tip from Matthias: If you’re wearing your bathing suit you can even go for a refreshing evening dip – sunset is the best time for bathing in Barcelona.
Go wandering in the Barri Gótic
El Barri Gótic, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, is a maze of narrow, winding streets, hidden plazas, and beautiful architecture that ranges in style from gothic to neoclassical. Instead of always having a destination, sometimes it’s nice to just wander a city and see where you end up. You may find yourself sipping a glass of red wine on the terrace of a bar in the shade of a cathedral, or stopping for lunch in a tiny, hole-in-the-wall establishment that serves a traditional Catalan menú del dia. Unplanned, emergent experiences are the most genuine and often the most enjoyable too.
Get a picture taken in front of an iconic piece of street art
El Beso, by Catalan artist Joan Fontcuberta, is a mural made from a mosaic of little ceramic tiles which depicts two pairs of lips hovering at the crucial moment, right before they interlock in a kiss. The artist called on the people of Barcelona to send him photos that expressed a moment of freedom, and after selecting some 4.000 he had them printed on ceramic tiles and assembled them into a single image using open source image generation software. Get up close, and you’ll see all the tiny little scenes which together combine to form the most elaborate picture of a kiss you can imagine. You’ll find the mural on the Plaça Isidre Nonell, on a small sidestreet near the Barcelona Cathedral.
Climb the bell tower of Santa Maria del Pi
The Esglesia de Santa Maria del Pi is a gothic-style church in the middle of Barcelona’s gothic quarter, dating from the 14th century. Especially beautiful are its stunning, stained-glass windows, including the rose glass window above its main entrance, one of the biggest of its type in the entire world, and its lavishly gilded inner chapels. Visitors can take guided tours of the building, including up to the top of its bell towers, from which you can enjoy the view of the uneven patchwork of old rooftops that make up Barcelona’s Barri Gótic.
Sip a glass of wine on a quiet plaza
The Plaça de Sant Felip Neri is one of Barcelona’s prettiest. Shaded by trees, encircled on all sides by old, stone buildings, and with a small fountain in its center, it’s the perfect place to sit down for a drink in the shade after wandering the streets of the Barri Gótic. Cinephiles may recognize it from a scene in Woody Allen’s Vicky, Cristina, Barcelona. But it’s not just a pretty place to sit and relax – Plaça Felip Neri also has a history. During the Spanish Civil War, General Franco’s fascist forces bombed the church, killing 20 children that had taken refuge inside. The results are still visible today; the entire church façade is covered in pockmarks from the bomb’s shrapnel, a reminder of Spain’s conflictive past.
Have a romantic dinner in El Born
On a little side street in the Born, a stone’s throw from the majestic Palau de la Música Catalana, you’ll find El Bitxo – a tiny little restaurant serving contemporary, elevated takes on Catalan classics and tapas. The food is simple, the product is great, and the wines are cheap and well selected – the polar opposite of all the touristy tapas bars that crowd the city. El Bitxo is the definition of intimate; the space is small and cozy, sitting no more than 20 people, lit by warm yellow lights, and the menus are posted on the walls like post-it notes, giving it a quasi-bohemian feel.