WELCOME TO BORN, BARCELONA
A WEEKEND WELL SPENT IN BARCELONA
MISTY BARKER, Owner & Lead Tour Guide
I have always been a wanderer at heart – a hungry individual with a passion for exploring all of the places I have visited beneath the surface; off the beaten track & down the side streets unwandered.
Which is probably why I love Barcelona – because those type of streets you find here in abundance & I am pretty sure I will never get bored in my attempts to know them all. Even from the moment I arrived in this incredible city I had no interest in doing the ‘tourist thing’ no interest in visiting the ‘most popular’ places. I wanted to experience life here as a local – even if my first visit was just for a few days. In those few days, I saw more of Barcelona than I am sure most expats have in a whole summer. I was at home. I fell in love… with Barcelona, and in particular I fell in love with El Borne.
Which is why – I took a leap of faith & packed my Dublin life up behind me to embark on my foodie adventure. Born Toro Food & Drink Tours were born. I am so passionate about where I live & the traditions that were born here, that I wanted to show tourists all that this beautiful place has to offer Away from the tourist traps & the usual stops we are bombarded with when you first visit an unknown city.
When I began to write this article I wanted to tell you all about the best things to do & see in Barcelona – the things you miss or don’t know about unless you live here. I wanted to take you on a mini adventure, just one weekend in El Born, but one that will create memories that will last long after your trip. Think of me as one of those friends you have that know all of the best places to eat & drink wherever you are, you know them right?!… well that’s me! I am your new BFF in Born! J So, as I was saying when I sat down to write the article and thought of so many places to go and things to do, I thought, well why not give you an itinerary of sorts?!… an itinerary to live the weekend as a local, with of course some touristy bits thrown in. This way you can experience all this wonderful place has to offer – seeing the best, tasting the best and experiencing the real personalities along the way that help create the perfect weekend break.
So here it is – a weekend in El Born – walk with me, like a local, through our ‘barrio’s’ sun drenched side streets & alleyways. I hope you are hungry for an adventure!
Carrer de la Princesa, 22, 08003 Barcelona
Day 1 of your weekend in El Born, Barcelona:
So you are all set and ready – you’ve geared up in this season’s coolest fedora, you’ve ditched the selfie sticks – you’re ready to explore like a local in this great area. Welcome to Born!
First thing is first, transport to this area is fantastic – it’s served by two metro lines at either end (see my lovely little map!) so you can get here really easy, the yellow line (L4) at Jaume Metro right at the end of Carrer de la Princesa and the red line (L1) at the beautiful Arc de Triumf. It is also in the lucky position of having a train station which even serves the airport and lots of other places just outside of the main City Centre. (Estacion de Francia)
10.30 Good morning! Say hello to the beautiful Born let’s start our journey with a wander through the streets. Breakfast isn’t huge in Spain as a whole, well not like the rest of Europe at least. It’s more a coffee & a grab & go. More time and attention is culturally given to the lunches & evening meals – as they are seen as a social event and almost always involve friends or family sharing the dining experience.
1st Stop: Brunells – Carrer del la Princesa, 22, 08003
A beautiful patisserie & bakery which has been passed through three generations of the same family and still retains its original charms, Better yet it also retains the same oven used when it first opened its doors. This oven is one of a kind and is bigger than a standard living room. It is incredible. I was lucky enough to be shown around their incredible kitchens which are as they were since the day they opened. An incredible place with an incredible history to boot! Not to mention their mouth-watering creations from chocolate to pastries & even delicious churros, which aren’t as many locals believe typical for breakfast here. More usually these are taken outside of the mainland in many of the Balearic islands, for example Lanzarote where churrerias are on almost every street & open at 6am. We recommend the xuixo’s which are delicious & a typical Catalan pastry. Served warm & oozing with a special custard like crème – to die for!!
11.30 Now you’ve been fed & hopefully have satiated that coffee kick needed wander the beautiful streets as the morning sun creeps in…
Head towards the Arc de Triumf which I personally think is one of the most beautiful monuments around. It’s pure size and detail leaves me in awe each and every morning when I run beneath it, gazing up at its intricately detailed arch. This small area is a favourite for early morning dog walkers & if you are lucky many Saturday mornings there is an ‘Catalan Independence’ march held here. Although it’s a controversial subject, I personally find it incredible to watch and enjoy. This is the spirit of Cataluña. They are such passionate people, which is why they create some of the best food & drinks in the world. They are individual & proud people with true soul. Capture it right here with your pastry in hand & enjoy the moment. Why not extend the walk & wander around Parc Ciutadella, a beautiful park right infront of the zoo, laze on the grass & read the morning papers, hello peace!
12.00 Okay, next up, another of our favourites! Mercat de Santa Caterina. This place is possibly one of the best markets in Barcelona – and that’s no easy title to achieve believe me. Wander around this great local market, just as the locals do, sampling as you go! Almost every local will shop here for their meat, fish & veg daily or at least every few days. We don’t sue supermarkets unless we have to! I personally love ‘Lamiels’ – they do an incredible selection of meats and cheese – oh and sweets too… (there goes the diet!!) When you’re done rambling, check out Bar Joan, which is famous with locals, it’s an incredible place which is full daily from early with locals. Stop from a beer & choose a little tapas (I love the boquerones) and enjoy the morning market vibes)
Lamiels – Santa Caterina Market
So many beautiful tasty treats to be had!… from meats & cheeses to nuts and spices. We even visit here on our morning food tours they’re so good!
14.00 We all love a little bit of shopping right?!… or even just some window shopping. I love the idea of supporting local designers right here in my neighborhood and so that’s exactly what I do when I want to treat myself. I take a wander around the side streets of Passeig del Born. Almost every street is jammed with little shops & hidden gems where you will find rare or one of pieces for every style, shape or mood! Get the plastic out!
16.00 Taverna Del Born – Passeig del Born, 27, 08003
Shopping takes it out of you right!?! I need a wine I don’t know about you?!… I loved this place from my first ever weekend break many years ago in Barcelona. Chill in the sunshine, people watch & grab a few of their daily selection of pinxtos at the bar. Perfect! (P.s their pulpo is pretty damn good too!)
17.30 If tiredness has crept in (or a little too much wine) have a small wander to Santa Maria Del Mar, which is a beautiful example of Catalan Gothic which is rarely seen in medieval buildings. It is known to be one of the most beautiful churches in Europe. After why not keep the wander going to some of the side streets to walk off those pinxtos – relish in the evening vibes and check out the evening crowds rolling into Born. It’s almost time for a late pre-dinner siesta. Enjoy, you’re on holidays after all! 😉 Zzzzzzz
Pinxtos in Barcelona
So many tasty treats to choose from in Passeig Del Born
Bodega La Tinaja
Esparteria, 9, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
20.00 Crepes al Born – Passeig del Born, 12, 08003
Hi Ho Hi Ho it’s back to the square you go! But the evening has rung in and our neighborhood has a special vibe & atmosphere about the place. Whenever I have guests visiting they all comment on the atmosphere of El Born in the evening. It truly is one in a million – and although I am no longer a ‘tourist’, I am still in awe of it every time. This was one of the first places I stumbled by many years ago – and it stole my heart. Possibly one of the smallest cocktail bars I have ever been in – it has the biggest personality, charm & individuality of any!! There really is no need for words – just GO THERE! Trust me, you won’t be disappointed! Despite it’s size – this place was voted best cocktail bar in Spain, quite an achievement for this group of cool young guys who pour their hearts & souls into creating an incredible place – with even more incredible drinks.
22.00 El Xampanyet
Okay so I think we may need to feed you guys now! As a rule, I believe for as many drinks you consume, it is always sensible to even it out with tapas! This is a true local favourite – famous amongst locals and tourists alike. Everything they create is incredible, it’s one of the oldest tapas bars in the area and still serves some of the best you will taste. Don’t be put off by the hordes of people – grab a seat at the bar & ask the staff to suggest something for you! Trust me you won’t be disappointed with what they whip up for you! And, here’s the bonus point, if you fancy ending your night after here, they actually make their very own cava on-site and it’s unbelievable! Plus, the staff will be seriously impressed with your insider knowledge when you ask for a bottle to go! 😉 (You can thank me later!!)
So, have you enjoyed your first day?!… I am sure that is a resounding yes!… if you want to keep it going, head to our local, Numeronueve (Carrer de la Vidrieria, 9, 08803) It is a super spot to finish the night with a cocktail & some typical born vibes. Enjoy & Salut!
Check back in again next week for the follow up & Day 2 in El Born! I am hungry already are you!?….
Love & Gambas,
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