The lifestyle in Barcelona is filled with exciting nightlife, cultural events, attractions, fine food and great shopping. People in Barcelona generally place equal importance on work and living well. Most stores and businesses in the city open around 9 am or 10am and are open until late. The busiest time for restaurants in Barcelona is around 10pm, while clubs and bars can still be filling up after midnight.
Evenings out in Barcelona often start with alfresco dining in the city squares or sundowners at the yacht marina, or a local chiringuito (beach bar). Afterwards, residents often proceed to trendy bars and clubs in areas such as Barri Gotic, Las Ramblas or nearby Port Olimpic which also hosts some of the best seafoods in Spain.
There’s plenty for expats to see and do in Barcelona, with ballet, music, dance & opera performances at venues such as the Greek Theatre, the Joan Miro Foundation and the Liceu Opera House.
Given the city’s Mediterranean climate it is no surprise that life in Barcelona is often characterized by cafes, long lunches, late night parties, festivals and other outdoor attractions. One can also expect to soak up the sun along three miles of golden coastline.
The high season for Barcelona’s beaches is from early April to the end of the September. The city’s beaches are well equipped to handle the throngs of tourists and locals, with sunbeds, facilities for the disabled and plenty of lifeguards.
The most popular beaches in Barcelona include Barceloneta, and Nova Icaria, both of which are walking distance from the city center, while a little further away Mar Bella and Nova Mar Bella are popular with water enthusiasts, while cyclists and joggers make use of longer, quieter parts of the shore.
People can access all the beaches around if they use a combination of buses and metro and are prepared to walk a short distance.
For the best shopping in Barcelona, one should head for the Las Ramblas Mall, Placa de Catalunya, Passeig de Gracia and Avenue Diagonal.
There’s also a bus from Placa de Catalunya that stops at retail centers throughout the city. People looking for something a bit more refined can head to El Born, which is packed with trendy boutiques and tasteful stores.
Barcelona’s malls and shopping centers have many upmarket stores that sell fashions by world-class designers such as Armani and Burberry as well as Spanish outlets, which include Zara and Mango. Bargains can be found at the winter sales in January and summer sales in July.
Shops are often throughout the day with a siesta of a two-hour in between. Large stores are usually open all day.
The nightlife in Barcelona is as varied as it is famous. With a workday that usually end around 8pm, most restaurants and bars are at their busiest in the late evenings. The trendiest clubs in the city are also known to only really get going at 3am, as revelers party till dawn.
Residents have a wide selection of choices when it comes to nightclubs and bars in Barcelona. People can lounge around with a designer mojito at upmarket clubs or have a few drinks at a hole-in-the-wall pub. Both Las Ramblas and Gothic Quarter are packed with as many party goers at night as they are with shopaholics during the day. The more bohemian Raval area is an edgier nightlife spot, although people should be aware of the areas’ seedier parts.
New arrivals in Barcelona should consider taking one of the few club or pub tours that show the best city has to offer visitors and residents alike.
The meeting point of Europe, the Mediterranean, and Northern Africa, Barcelona has become a melting pot of international cuisines and its own distinct flavors. The city is home to a host of world-class restaurants where a range of local and international cuisines can be sampled. The Catalan capital also boasts and impressive offering of fresh seafood as a result of its exquisite coastal position.
Those looking to experience traditional Catalan cuisine will be delighted by the scores of tapas bars and traditional eateries dotted in and around the city. Eating out forms an essential part of its culture and an authentic Barcelona experience would be incomplete without sampling delectable regional specialties such as Crema Catalan, paella, and Sangria.