How to Spend a Perfect 24 Hours in Barcelona, Spain and Palau Guell - Travelerette
Travelerette

How to Spend a Perfect 24 Hours in Barcelona, Spain and Palau Guell

So, you are looking for a perfect itinerary for the neighborhood of El Raval in Barcelona? Or perhaps you’d rather know what El Raval is? Well, look no further, Internet Stranger! El Raval is the historic neighborhood on the western side of the famous street known only as La Rambla. It is here that you can find markets, contemporary art, mind-blowing architecture, and the wonders of HAM CONE. If you have only one day in Barcelona, you could do worse than to spend it here.

Breakfast: La Boqueria

Address: Plaza de la Boqueria

Hours: 8 AM-8:30 PM Most Days, Closed Sunday

Fruit Juice

La Boqueria is possibly the best market in the world. Certainly it is one of the top five markets I have ever been to. When the doors open at 8 AM, you are free to rush in and feast your senses on the tastiest fruits, hams, cheeses, and candies that Barcelona has to offer. At least you can feast three of your senses for free. If you want to touch or taste things, you’re going to have to pay for them.

Every morning I treated myself to a different fresh fruit juice from one of the fruit sellers in the market. You can get something very tasty for 1.5 Euros, although some sellers charge more for the fancier kinds of juice. During my stay in Barcelona I had mint limeade:

Lime Mint

Blackberry and coconut:

Juice 3

Pineapple limeade:

Juice 2

Watermelon:

Juice 1

and pitahaya juice, which is a kind of cactus fruit.

Juice

But juice alone does not make breakfast. You will want something to eat! I recommend that you stop at Bar Pinotxo for a tasty little pastry and cafe au lait. As you can see, it’s just a small counter near the entrance to the market.

Pinotxo Bar

Just wait cagily for a seat to be available and then jump on that seat and order. I tried ordering in Spanish, which worked, but there were people around me ordering in English and they didn’t have any trouble. I ordered a xuixo, which is an insanely delicious ball of fried dough covered in sugar and stuffed with custard. That is literally everything I look for in a pastry.

Mercat de la Boqueria

You will be tempted to stay here and wander, but don’t! We will come back here later in the day, so resist the temptation.

Morning: Palau Guell

Address: Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5

Hours: 10-5:30 Daily, Closed Monday. Summer Hours 10 AM-8PM

Price: 12 Euros

Palau Guell

Most cities have several favored “children”, as it were, men and women whose image and inspiration still permeates the city. In New York City, you could start with Teddy Roosevelt and Fiorello LaGuardia but you could add many others to the list, Copenhagen has Kierkegaard and Hans Christian Andersen, and even small St. Paul, Minnesota has Charles Schultz and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Most cities would have trouble picking just one representative of their home.

But in Barcelona, the architect Gaudi stands alone as king. His buildings are the most popular attractions in the city, and it is his vision of the beautiful that has helped make Barcelona what it is today. La Sagrada Familia might be his most famous building, but as an introduction to Gaudi, you could do much worse than the Palau Guell.

The Palau Guell is very easy to explore because an informative audio guide is included with the price of admission. The AG told me the Palau was built by Gaudi for wealthy industrialist Eusebi Guell, in a similar manner to the way in which Frank Lloyd Wright built the Robie House for Frederick Robie. However, unlike the precisely planned Robie House, Palau Guell is a delicious mishmash of almost every architectural style imaginable. Would you like some classical arches? Behold the basement:

Basement

How about some Islamic inspired detailing just outside a chapel?

Islamic

Would you be more interested in a ceiling that is trying to murder you?

Ceiling

We’ve got Medieval stained glass…

Stained Glass

and an Art Nouveau fireplace.

Fireplace

Not to mention whatever madness is going on with the roof.

Guell

Travelerette Treasure: Anyone who says that their favorite part of the Palau is something other than the roof is lying. What makes the roof such a special treasure is that it is covered with these amazingly colorful jiggimabobbers. You can spend hours staring at them and wondering what Gaudi was trying to say. Perhaps here he was trying to say, “There’s a reason Christmas trees are green and not rainbow color.”

Roof

Travelerette Tip: Reapply sunscreen before going on the roof. You’ll thank me later.

Early Afternoon: La Boqueria

Address: Where you left it this morning

Candy

You thought we were done with La Boqueria? Foolish mortal! We will never be done with it! After you explore Palau Guell, it will be time for lunch. I suggest you take your time and gently explore each part of the market before you settle on your choice. You can always go back to Bar Pinotxo for lunch tapas, but were I you, I would stop by one of the purveyors of jamon and purchase HAM CONE.

What is HAM CONE? HAM CONE is a paper cone filled with ham. You can get it at any stall in La Boqueria that sells ham. Mine was jamon de pata negra, which is why it is so dark. Observe:

HAM CONE

La Boqueria is also an excellent place to pick up something sweet. I first stopped by this candy store and bought some pate a fruits:

Fruit Jelly

Then I stopped by the Vicens nougat stand and bought a “nougat de creme brulee”, which is rich nougat coated with an egg yolk and burnt sugar mixture. I never knew that was something I needed to eat, but now that I’ve tried it, I don’t know how I ever lived without it.

Vicens

Late Afternoon: CCCB

Address: Carrer de Montalegre, 5

Hours: 11-8 Most Days, Closed Mondays

Price: 8 Euros

MACBA

At this point in the afternoon, it will be nice to get out of the sun and into a museum that stays open fairly late. CCCB is a contemporary art museum and cultural center with a regularly changing rotation of special exhibitions. Many of these exhibitions are more political than one expects even at a contemporary art museum, such as one called “Piso Piloto” on the difficulty of creating affordable housing in Barcelona and Medellin, Colombia.

Part of the exhibition was recreations of the kinds of rooms that people could expect to have in poorer neighborhoods. Highly interesting, but not what I expect to see at a contemporary art exhibition. I would be more expecting diamond encrusted sharks or a light installation. But maybe this kind of explicitly political work is more in line with what artists who claim to have a social conscience should be doing anyway?

MACBA 1

Travelerette Tip: I strongly suggest getting the Barcelona Art Pass if you will spend more than a couple of days in Barcelona. It includes admission to 6 of the best museums in the city, including the CCCB, for only 30 Euros, which is about half off what you would pay for each museum individually. The pass is extremely easy to buy through the website, but if you forget, you can buy the pass at one of the museums.

Early Evening: Explore El Raval

 

El Raval

I’m a big believer in taking some time at the end of the day to explore, and El Raval has a number of little square and side streets that make it perfect for wandering. You never know what kind of wonders you will find. I myself met a giant cat…

Cat

And I learned how to say Dog Day Afternoon in Spanish.

Dog Day Afternoon

Literally I think this is “afternoon of the dogs”.

But what is Spanish for, “I know it was you, Fredo. You broke my heart.”?

If you get tired, you can walk to the Placa de Catalunya and sit with a book until you are ready for dinner. It’s not far at all.

Placa de Catalunya

I can’t guarantee that guy with the hose will still be there, though.

Dinner: Sesamo

Address: Carrer de Sant Antoni Abat, 52

Hours: CLOSED MONDAY

Reservations: Trip Advisor

Sesamo is, mildly unusually for Spain, a vegetarian restaurant. However, just because you won’t find any meat of the pig doesn’t mean that the food isn’t authentically Spanish. I started, as I normally did in Barcelona, with some sparkling cava wine and a bottle of water. Then I ordered some pa amb tomaquet.

Pa Amb Tomaquet

Pa amb tomaquet is Catalan for bread with tomato. Really it is bread with a mashed up tomato, garlic, oil, and salt mixture squished on top. I recommend ordering it at every single restaurant you possibly can. You will surely not regret this decision.

I noticed that some of the food on the menu at Sesamo was Middle Eastern influenced, which is appropriate since Spain was under Islamic rule for such a long period of time. I chose for my entree this varicolored cauliflower head topped with hummus, pine nuts, and pomegranate seeds.

Sesamo

I’m about as far from being a vegetarian as a person can be, but that was still an incredibly satisfying meal.

Travelerette Tip: Keep in mind that Sesamo is really popular and even on a Tuesday night there were no tables available in the main dining room. As long as you don’t mind eating in the bar area up front, you should have no problem as a solo diner or couple. However, if you do book ahead you can get a 7 course tasting menu for 25 Euros, which sounds pretty amazing. I will have to try it next time.

And That’s a Perfect Day in El Raval in Barcelona

 

Gaudi

What are your favorite things to do in El Raval in Barcelona? Is there someone who is more famous in Barcelona than Gaudi? HAM CONE? Please leave your thoughts below!

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Travelerette

Who is the Travelerette? I am a native New Yorker who doesn't know how to drive or ride a bicycle. I speak French very well and Japanese very badly. In five years I have traveled in six continents, 26 countries, and 86 cities. My next travel goal is to visit all 50 states (and DC) in five years.

I am here to provide perfect travel itineraries with 24 hours, 3 fun facts, and 1,000,000 laughs! I hope that I can motivate you to get out there, see the world, learn something, and have a sense of humor about it all.
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64 thoughts on “How to Spend a Perfect 24 Hours in Barcelona, Spain and Palau Guell

  1. Zwitsy

    Wow, Barcelona comes with great places as well and food too! I was wonder what was the bread topped with that reddish thing and there you have it in detailed under the post. I just wonder though if what particular dish can you recommend this would be a perfect pair to? I am thinking about pasta but does it fit? I am just curious. PArdon me about this silly question.
    Zwitsy recently posted…MCDO Happy Meals : Angry BirdsMy Profile

    1. Travelerette Post author

      The bread with tomato is like a snack to have with a glass of wine before eating your meal. It really goes with everything. And don’t worry, it’s not a silly question!

  2. Tesle Telan

    I have always wanted to travel to Barcelona. I’ll have so much fun trying out different juices and the food looks extraordinary. I hope to someday be able to visit Barcelona too! Your post inspired me to work harder so I can visit those places soon. 🙂 Which month do you prefer I should visit though? 🙂

    1. Travelerette Post author

      I was there in June/July and though it was quite hot, I had a good time. It might be better to go in April or September if you can so it won’t be quite so hot.

  3. alison

    This day sounds wonderful! I love it! The juices look amazing! I want to try all of them. The ham cone even looks delicious. I love the architecture and the rooftop would be my favorite for sure. Though the ceiling is pretty scary!
    alison recently posted…Mojo Red Cabbage SlawMy Profile

  4. Berlin

    Barcelona is a real beauty. Again, ive been to a place just by reading this post. It also seems ive tasted the food and drinks with your detailed description and near to perfect food shots.

  5. Katelin

    I’ve always wanted to visit Barcelona, but seeing those juices seals the deal! I just love juice and smoothies, but those combinations look incredible! YUM!

  6. Ashlyn

    That pa amb tomaquet looks weird but sounds delicious. And that cauliflower head, or the fresh juice! YUM. It looks like Barcelona was quite the trip. Every time I read your blog posts, I’m inspired to add yet another place I want to travel to on my bucket list. Very detailed, I love it. 🙂

  7. Georgia

    I’ve always wanted to visit Barcelona and had no idea El Raval existed until reading your post. There is so much to do! To be honest I would probably get lost in the market for a day and take in all the delights it had to offer. This is an excellent post for reference! Oh and the watermelon juice looks simply delicious!!

  8. Marie Frances | http://www.mariefrancesdg.com/

    I have always admired the beauty and culture of Spain! Barcelona is definitely one of my top dream destinations, and El Raval just added to the seemingly endless list of reasons as to why I should! I’m especially thrilled to see Palau Guell.

    I’m curious, though, on what month is best for visiting El Raval (or Barcelona in general)?

    1. Travelerette Post author

      I’m not 100 percent sure about the best month. I went in late June/early July and I liked it, but it was very hot. You might prefer May or September if you can swing it.

  9. Arrianne Guzman

    Oh my! I used to study Spanish before. Barcelona is definitely a dream city! Food and culture are some of the things I love discovering while traveling. Such a great article. I know one day I’ll come to read this post again because I am determined to go to Barcelona 🙂

  10. Klaudia

    Isn’t Spain just a great country for all these delicious little yummies you find around almost each corner ? Me living on a Spanish island myself , love these kinds of snacks you get here everywhere. I have not been to Barcelona (yet) . That for thanks a lot for sharing these brilliant photos. I love Spain in and out 🙂 Feeling pretty blessed to live here.
    Klaudia recently posted…Missing my dog … these are the 12 most frequently stolen pet dog breedsMy Profile

  11. Joanna

    After reading your post, I want to go back to Barcelona. I left Boqueria for the last day of my trip without knowing that on that day (I think it was Monday), it’s the only day when the market is closed. I was very disappointing as I really wanted to try some of that delicious food everyone is talking about.
    Joanna recently posted…Trinidad – Where I left my heart in CubaMy Profile

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  13. Ruxandra

    Looks so delicious! when I went to Barcelona I went to 2 all you can eats, and a restauran I can’t remember though 🙁 I did fall in love with La Boqueria and how fresh and delicious the fruits were!
    Ruxandra recently posted…Sephora HaulMy Profile

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