To say Barcelona has an incredible food scene is an understatement. From traditional tapas to molecular gastronomy, healthy brunches to innovative pop-up shops, you simply won’t be able to take it all in, even if you live here your whole life. If you’ll only be here for one day, you’ll have an exceptionally difficult challenge ahead of you, but what a satisfying challenge it will be. Be sure to check out our in-depth guide to our favorite restaurants, cafes, and tapas spots, but if you’re short on time, here is the perfect day in Barcelona spent gorging on food from sunup to sundown.
Start with a strong coffee at Satan’s Coffee Corner in Gothic. The coffee is so good it will give you goosebumps. You can grab a pastry to go with it, but if you’re looking for a full meal, go to nearby Federal Cafe for a light breakfast. Here you’ll find Instagram-worthy avocado toast, omelets, and fresh juices. The quiet patio is a serene way to start your morning. You won’t see much foot traffic in this tucked-away corner of the otherwise very busy Gothic neighborhood.
Then take a walk through El Born, a trendy neighborhood with an ideal mix of old-town charm and eclectic boutiques. Try an empanada at La Fabrica for a mid-morning snack; the fluffy bundles of joy come stuffed with cheese, onion, and spicy meat, with vegetarian options available.
Head over to Plaça de Sant Pere next. You have two exciting Italian food options here: Go for a slice of pizza at La Mezcla and wash it down with a glass of affordable and delicious house-made wine, or opt for a savory Italian crepe at Santa Piadina next door.
Cross the street and chill at Arc de Triomf where you’ll see street performers blowing soap bubbles, kids running around, and hipsters playing guitar. Don’t miss Parc de la Ciutadella while you’re here. This is one of the best parks in town to relax, play table tennis, and take in the sun. It’s also probably a good idea to work off some calories, so you have room for more delectable food throughout the rest of the day.
From the park, visit the beach in Barceloneta to enjoy a nice long lunch. Meals in Spain tend to be quite late, so it’s completely normal to have lunch at 2:00 PM and dinner at 10:00 PM. Stroll by the sea then go to Salamanca for seafood paella. The saffron rice dish isn’t traditional Catalonia cuisine, but many tourists crave paella upon entering the country no matter what city they’re in, and Salamanca does it best.
While in Barcelona, you should try two drinks: cava, a sparkling wine that’s typical to the Catalan region, and tinto de veranowhich is a sweet and refreshing summer drink that’s essentially a stripped down Sangria, made with red wine and fruity soda similar to Sprite. It also wouldn’t hurt to sample the local vermouth.
When you’re finished with lunch, you might feel like taking a nap on the sand, which is totally normal and a sign you’re doing it right; this is what good food does to you.
After your siesta, make your way back to the center for an afternoon snack. The fastest way is to get the metro from Barceloneta and get out at Liceu. Head to Petritxol Street and choose one of the churro cafes. La Pallaresa and Petritxol Xocoa are both great options. Order churros and milk chocolate for a decadent treat.
To finish off the tour, make your way over to Carrer del Blai. The best course of action here is to pop into a few restaurants on a DIY tapas tour and sample any and all pintxos that look good. You pay based on the toothpicks you collect, and most range from one to three euros. Beer is cheap and goes excellently with these little bites. Don’t stress about which tapas restaurants to try; they’re all great around these parts. Just stuff as many as you possibly can into your stomach, and congratulate yourself on tackling Barcelona’s best flavors in a single day.