Carnival is a great time to be in Barcelona, with loads of fun events happening, there’s plenty to see. This year, Barcelona Carnival will happen between February 27 and March 6, with events happening throughout the city and also in cities like Sitges, very close from Barcelona and with a spectactular carnival with several parades.
Origin of the carnaval: Why we celebrate it?
Carnival is held seven weeks after the first full moon past the Winter solsitce, traditionally ending the same day as Ash Wednesday, 40 days before Easter. As such, carnival is thought to be the last party before the start of Lent, a period in which people are meant to abstain from vices, such as alcohol. A festival with Roman origins, the holiday was first documented as having been celebrated in 1333. Little by Little the party began to take shape as we know it today, with costumes becoming commonplace by the 19th Century.
Structure of the Carnival in Barcelona
Arrival of the Carnival King
This will happen on February 28 and is when the Carnival King will arrive at La Rambla, in front of the Arts Santa Mònica museum. The Carnival King arrives to inaugurate the crazy carnival week. Jumping, dancing and singing, the parade will arrive at the Palau de la Virreina, the Carnival’s Republic.
Parades will start to take place on March 2, when throughout the city there will be over 30 different parades, ending with the main parade through the old town. Here you will see people dressed in colourful and traditional costumes for Barcelona Carnival, music and dancing filling the streets. If you want to check out all the details of Barcelona Carnival Parades, you can find the full program by district here.
The Burial of the Sardine
This takes place on the last day of Barcelona Carnival, which this year will be March 6. This marks the end of the carnival period and is a symbolic burial of the past to allow society to be reborn and transformed over the period of Lent.
If you want to make the most of Barcelona Carnival, you can also head to Sitges, just a short train ride away from Barcelona. Here a large and extravagant carnival is hosted, and residents dress up in mourning to signify the end of carnival. The Sitges Carnival is famous throughout Catalonia for being a great party. Check the program here.
The culinary tradition of tapas is well-known worldwide, and nowhere will you find a more exciting and varied selection of it than in Barcelona. From the traditional Catalan tapas plates like “pa amb tomàquet” and “escalivada”, to classic staples like “patatas bravas”, and exciting modernized fusion plates, going out for tapas in Barcelona has something for every occasion. When wandering through Barcelona, it’s easy to be tempted by the mouth-watering smells that float from every street corner, but to be sure you’re going to the best tapas restaurants in Barcelona, follow our guide below.
As the sister restaurant to the well-known Pla restaurant, Bar del Pla gives you all the taste but in a more casual and laid-back setting. With a menu that changes continuously to reflect the season, Bar del Pla use fresh components to make tapas plates that vary from both traditional to experimental. This is also a great place for wine lovers, as they house a huge selection of natural and organic wines, as well as local beers. Tables here can be hard to come by, so if you want a guaranteed seating at one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona, it’s best to book.
Many tourists make the trip out to Poble Sec to explore the mountain of Montjuic but fail to discover what lies in the streets below. Wander over to Carrer Blai and you will find a street full of some of the best tapas bars in Barcelona that serve mouth-watering bites called “pintxos”. Originating from northern Spain, “pintxos” can be almost anything as long as they’re on a stick. The unique experience involves going up to the counter and selecting anything that takes your fancy. At the end of the meal your sticks are tallied up for your final price. With each “pintxo” coming in at between €1 and €1.85 this can be a great value option.
Blai Tonight is one of the more famous “pintxo” restaurants on the street and it’s obvious to see why when you get there. Slices of bread with indulgent halves of avocado and smoked salmon await, along with a selection of other fish and meat bites. La Tasqueta del Blai is similarly delicious and with a slightly larger variation of options and unique combinations. Try and get to Blai in the early evening so you can grab an outdoor terrace table and people watch as you wash down your “pintxos” with traditional Basque cider.
If you know anything about the culinary scene in Barcelona, you almost certainly will have heard of Tickets as the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona. Headed up by the famed Catalan chef Albert Adrià, this Michelin star restaurant focuses on a sense of fun as much as the exquisite quality of the food. After being seated in the weird yet wonderful surroundings, you will be presented with a stream of intriguing and experimental tapas plates until you request the waiter to stop. However, getting a table at this famed restaurant is notoriously hard. Bookings open every day for the day three months ahead and often get booked out in minutes – it is, however, possible to try for cancellations on the day of if you’re lucky.
When you’re thinking about where to eat in Barcelona, Barceloneta isn’t always the first place that comes to mind. However, Cal Papi is an excellent choice of tapas restaurant for those looking for something authentic near the beachside. As opposed to some of the other more experimental restaurants on this list, Cal Papi focuses on serving traditional tapas classics, and does it well. Its proximity to the beach means it’s a great place to try out some fresh sea food, especially in the form of fideuà, a traditional Catalan style paella, that makes great use of noodles instead of rice.
The low-level lighting and eclectic but beautiful setting of Elsa y Fred make it the perfect location for romance, or for a meal with a group of old friends. The ambient surrounding is compounded by the stunning taste of the food with a menu that changes seasonally, but often includes the likes of tuna tartar and grilled octopus. And that’s not to mention their “patatas bravas” which are thought by some to be amongst the best in the city.
Located in the heart of Gràcia, La Bicicleta offers up tasty and inexpensive tapas in a casual and laid-back environment. This is the perfect spot for when you are wondering through this trendy neighbourhood and looking for a bite of cheap and tasty food to fill your stomach. With friendly service and a good atmosphere, this Barcelona tapas restaurant is also the perfect location for your Sunday afternoon “Vermouth” and “bravas” pit stop.
In the heart of Barcelona’s vibrant Raval district you will find Bar Cañete, one of the city’s better known tapas bars. For an authentic Barcelona tapas experience, head to the “Barra” section of the restaurant. Instead of being seated at a table, like in the “Mantel” portion, you will stand at the bar or if you’re lucky get a stool from which to consume your gourmet tapas. From this area diners can watch as the chefs create their food and the barmen hurry round with bottles of Catalan cava and trays of fresh seafood.
The newest addition to the Can Pijaume group of restaurants, founded in 1984 by chef Jose Gandoy, Marcelino1968 offers up some of the most sophisticated tapas in Barcelona. Placed in prime position within Gràcia’s Plaça del Sol, sit on the terrace to enjoy the squares lively atmosphere or inside to enjoy the wonderful ambiance of the restaurant itself. Whatever you do, make sure you order one of their opulent cocktails, exquisitely made by the expert bar tenders, to sip on as you enjoy your tapas at this Barcelona restaurant.
Having been around for over 25 years, La Flauta is a mainstay on the Barcelona tapas scene. Popular with locals, La Flauta has a little something for everyone. As well as being able to order traditional and delicious tapas, La Flauta lives up to its name by offering an elaborate selection of sandwiches, which are literally called “flautas”. Fillings for the sandwiches change throughout the year with market availability, so you can pop in any time to find a fresh new creation to fill your stomach.
Location: Aribau, 23
Make sure your trip to Barcelona is the best it can be by trying out our recommendations for the best tapas bars in Barcelona and you will see why it is rated as one of the best gastronomical cities in the world.
Barcelona may be a bustling and modern city these days, often characterised by the amazing Art Nouveau architecture of the early 1900’s. However, when you look a little deeper, Barcelona also has a rich ancient history; once you know where to look you will start discovering it throughout the ancient streets of the old town.
The city of Barcelona, called Barcino by the Romans, was founded by the Roman empire at the end of the 1st Century and began to grow from there. The colony had around 1000 inhabitants and was bound by a defensive wall. Below is a list of the eight Roman spots in the city that you can’t miss, for an amazing historical tour of this ancient city.
Museu d’Història de Barcelona (MUHBA)
Open since 1943, the Museu d’Història de Barcelona is a great and interactive way to explore the ancient Roman ruins of the city. Spread throughout the city, most of the major historical points of interest are part of this wondrous and free open-air museum.
Below Plaça del Rei square, you will find 4000 m2 of archaeological remains, where you can walk along the ancient Roman streets. Here you also can expect to see intriguing objects found during archeological digs, such as ancient Roman busts and Roman inscribed ceramics, giving you a real taste of what life may have been like back then.
Plaça del Rei, 7-9
MUHBA Temple d’August
Inside a small medieval courtyard, you will be able to find the remains of what was once the Temple d’August; four upright pillars. This was the main temple of the Roman colony, and has been dated back to the 1st Century BC, as a place of worship for the Roman Empire. This building stood at the centre of the Forum and looked down on the city due to its placement on a small podium, at the top of what was formally a small hill known as Mons Taber.
Carrer Paradís, 10
Plaça de Sant Jaume
The centre of all activity, Placa de Sant Jaume used to be the Roman Forum, an arcaded square that was surrounded by the city’s main buildings. Forming a cross, the forum was the axis between two streets of importance, the “cardus maximus” and “decomanus maximus”. The square was also the site of a market, where goods from all over the Mediterranean were bought and sold.
This is the former site of one of Barcelona’s gates and so can be a good look at the ancient remains of the historic Roman city wall and aqueduct. The two towers that can be seen here are clear signs of the way carriages and pedestrians entered in and out of the city.
Casa de l’Ardiaca
Whilst this site doesn’t showcase the original, it’s possible to see a modern replica of one of the city’s aqueducts, which can give you a good idea of how the city used to function. This spot also marked the start of one of the main Roman roads.
Carrer de Santa Llúcia, 1
Plaça Vila de Madrid and Via Sepulcral Romana
Situated outside of the city’s walled precinct, here you will find 70 tombs from the city’s ancient necropolis, revealing just how Roman’s built their cemeteries. You can walk above these tombs, along Via Sepulcral Romana, to get the best view of these ancient relics.
Plaça Ramon Berenguer
Here, among the epic background of the Gothic chapel, you will be able to find a section of ancient Roman wall, dating back to the early 4th century AD. Look closely and you will find that the wall was constructed of materials from other buildings, as a reinforcement for the original wall built in the 1st Century BC.
Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya
If you want a true exploration of the old Roman city of Barcino, head to the Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya where you will be able to find over a million original pieces that take you on a journey through the history of Barcelona, including the establishment of the Roman Empire. This includes collections of items from the Roman times.
Passeig de Santa Madrona, 39
Once you start walking around Barcelona, you will be able to find these points and get lost in your exploration of the ancient history of the city.