What is the day of Sant Esteve and why is it celebrated in Catalonia?

Around the globe, there is much more to the festive season than the typical Christmas day meal and get-together.

Saint Stephen’s Day, the Feast of Saint Stephen or Sant Esteve– as it is commonly known across Catalonia – is a special day celebrated by Catalans the day after Christmas, on the 26thDecember.

Today we’d like to share with you the thousand-year old story of how this extension of Christmas day came to hold such a special place in Catalan festive traditions. 

Saint Stephen is known to many as the first martyr of the Christian faith. Accused of blasphemy and later stoned to death (in approximately 35 AD), today he is the patron saint of servers and masons. His feast is celebrated throughout the Western Christian world on the 26thDecember and in many European countries, the UK and the Commonwealth it is a public holiday.

In the 9thcentury, unlike the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, the old Catalonia belonged to the Carolingian dynasty. This large empire in Western Europe also included West Germany and Northern Italy. Given the vast expanse of this empire, families were often separated by great distances. This meant that, in order to celebrate Christmas together, they would face long and treacherous journeys to and from their homes, often in adverse weather conditions and during the night. 

In this way, the Feast of Saint Stephen first came about in the Middle Ages as a day on which people didn’t have to return to work. In this way, families could spend Christmas night together and then travel back home the following day in the light of day and in much safer conditions – and, of course, after enjoying the leftovers from the Christmas day meal!

Even though it is possible that this day was first observed over a thousand years ago, nowadays, Saint Stephen’s day still holds a special place on the Catalan calendar. Not only is it an additional holiday, it also constitutes a day to be spent in the presence of other family members with whom it was perhaps not possible to spend the Christmas day meal.

What’s more, on the 26thDecember in Catalonia, it is typical to feast on canelons  – which are rumoured to have been introduced into Catalan cuisine by Italian chefs during the 19thcentury. This rich béchamel pasta dish is traditionally stuffed with the leftover meat from the Christmas day dinner. This centrepiece dish for Sant Esteve day meals ensures that no food goes to waste and is normally a huge hit with the entire family.

In the UK, Saint Stephen’s day is also a national holiday and is most commonly known as Boxing Day on account of the traditional sports matches held on this day. Is the 26thDecember a holiday in your country? Let us know how you will be celebrating Saint Stephen’s day this year.

Whatever your plans this festive season, from all of us at BizFlats, we wish you a very merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!

Where to eat in Barcelona – Our Christmas recommendations

If you’re wondering where to eat in Barcelona over the Christmas period in 2019, look no further than our list of places that have wonderful Christmas menus and festive vibes. Here are our best suggestions of where to eat in Barcelona so you can make the most of the festive season with your close friends and family. Check out our list, categorised so you can find the perfect destination:

Trendy restaurants in Barcelona for Christmas

9 Nine

Enjoy their tasty tapas and Catalan fare, or even enjoy one of their tasting menus to get the full foodie experience. Always packed and with an international vibe, you can’t go wrong at 9 Nine.

9 Nine will be closed on December 24, open on December 25, 26 and 31, and January 1 and 6.

New Year’s menu available (€ 45)

Due to its popularity, book in advance for any of these Christmas days.

Address: Carrer Valencia 334

www.facebook.com/pg/Restaurant9Nine

Where to eat in barcelona - 9-nine-restaurante

Ikibana

While Japan and Brazil are miles apart, Ikibana expertly blends both renowned cuisines together to make delicious fusion meals. Think fresh sea food and the best cuts of meat, Ikibana is one of the trendiest places to be. If you’re looking for where to eat in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve, this is the perfect option, as they are hosting a luxurious gala dinner, with tickets starting at €180 a head, where you can truly ring the New Year in in style.

They also will have special christmas menu for the 25th and 26 of December.

Open every day.

Address: Avinguda del Paral·lel 148

www.ikibana.com/parallel

Mamarosa Beach

If you want to make the most of the late winter Mediterranean sun, why not head over to Mamarosa Beach, with the perfect seaside location. Here you can sit indoors or outdoors to soak up the atmosphere of Barceloneta beach. If you’re looking for where to eat in Barcelona on New Year’s Eve and want something sophisticated, this is an ideal option as it has a special New Year’s Eve menu for just €145 a head, including all the fresh sea food you could want.

Mamarosa is open every day of December.

Address: Passeig del Mare Nostrum 19-21

www.mamarosabeach.com/

El Barceloneta

Another one for the seafood fans, El Barceloneta is where to eat in Barcelona if you want a more laid back al fresco experience by the sea. With its large terrace, rooms especially for groups and its group menus, it’s perfect for big groups of friends or for celebrations where all the family can get together for Christmas.

Open every day, but currently full. If you come to Barcelona next year, make sure you ​​book well in advance 😉

Address: Carrer de l’Escar 22

www.restaurantbarceloneta.com

Patrón

If you are looking for somewhere a bit different for your company dinner or celebrations with your group of friends, Patrón offers a full and lively evening with live music, cocktails and the possibility of having a private room. As well as this, they offer a special set menu from €58 per person over all the important Christmas dates, as well as special New Year’s Eve menu and party.

Open every day of the year.

Address: Travessera de Gràcia 44

www.patron-restaurant.com

PAtron - Where to eat in barcelona

Mercer

The Mercer has a Trip Advisor certificate of excellence, owing to its wonderful food. Original frescoes of the 12th century serve as a backdrop and their cuisine is dedicated to local products, offering typical traditional Catalan dishes with a careful presentation and a wide selection of wines.

Open on December 24, 25, 26 and 31. During those days they offer a Christmas menu that you can check here https://www.mercerbarcelona.com/es/restaurantes/mercer-restaurante (New Year’s Eve is already full)

For January 1, Mercer will be closed but you can book at their Gastro Bar Le Bouchon, for lunch or dinner.

Address: Carrer dels Lledó, 7

Mercer - Barcelona Restaurant

Restaurants with views

Marea Alta

With stunning views over the Mediterranean Ocean, Marea Alta is where to eat in Barcelona if you want to enjoy some city views as you celebrate the festive period. Here the sea view is complimented with delicious grilled fish. With menus for Christmas Day, Boxing Day (Sant Esteve), and New Year’s Eve, this is the perfect place for celebrations.

Closed on the evening of December 24, January 1 and 6.

Address: Avinguda Drassanes 6-8

www.mareaaltamareabaja.com

marea-alta-- Where to eat in barcelona

Terraza Martinez

Vibrant and eclectic, mixed with delicious Catalan food and views that will leave you dreamy-eyed, Terraza Martinez is where to eat in Barcelona for an exciting night out. With paella the star of its menu, it makes it the perfect place for big groups celebrating Christmas together with festive lights only adding to seasonal atmosphere.

Closed on the evening of December 24 and during the day on December 25. It is open on December 26 and 31 and January 1. Special menu for New Years: €210 including an open bar and party. Children €50.

Address: Carretera de Miramar 38

www.martinezbarcelona.com

Terraza martinez - Recomended Restaurants in Barcelona

Torre de Alta Mar

If you’re looking for a truly unique New Year’s Eve experience, Torre de Alta Mar is where to eat in Barcelona. At the top of the tower that sits by Barceloneta beach, you can enjoy your meal along with 360-degree views of the city. On New Year’s Eve, tickets start from €295 per person but include a full menu with copious drinks, as well as a party atmosphere with music and dancing all night long.

Address: Passeig Joan de Borbó 88

It is closed on December 24, 25 and 26, as well as from January 1 until 6.

www.torredealtamar.com

Torre de alta mar - Where to eat in barcelona

Michelin Starred Restaurants

ABaC

For those foodies who are looking for where to eat in Barcelona over the Christmas period, ABaC is the perfect choice. Headed up by chef Jordi Cruz, the three-star Michelin restaurant offers true luxury with its traditional dishes with an experimental edge and elegant setting up among the hills of Tibidabo.

Closed on January 1. Open on December 24, 25, 26 and 31. It is already full for this year. If you are in Barcelona for next years festivities, make sure you book at least two months in advance.

Address: Plaça J. F. Kennedy / Avinguda del Tibidabo 1

www.abacrestaurant.com

ABAC

Xerta Restaurant

With one Michelin star, Xerta Restaurant headed up by chef Fran López is focused on the cuisine of Terres de l’Ebre. This is the perfect spot if you’re looking for a place to celebrate Christmas with that special someone.

Opened on December 24, 25, 26 and 31 and January 1. During those days they offer a Christmas menu for €85, except on New Year’s Eve, when they offer a special menu for €180.

Address: Carrer Còrsega 289

www.xertarestaurant.com

So, if you’re looking for where to eat in Barcelona over the Christmas period, why not try one of the above options. Whether you want a lively party atmosphere by the sea or fine-dining in the trendiest neighborhoods of Barcelona, there is something for everyone who is visiting Barcelona at this magical time of the year.

Our Guide to Gifts Made in Barcelona

If you’re planning on doing some last-minute Christmas shopping in Barcelona this holiday season and are looking for unique gift ideas, you’ve come to the right place. 

Finding the right gift year after year can often be a daunting task, so to help you out here’s our guide to special gifts that are designed and made in Barcelona. 

From handmade jewellery, locally designed clothing and children’s toys, Barcelona really has something for those who have everything. And what’s more, by buying locally produced and designed gifts, you’ll be supporting local businesses and helping the environment.

OMG BCN, Plaça de la Llana 6 and Carrer Corders, 7

Discover the home of Barcelona-based designers. OMG BCN stocks only products that are inspired by and made by local artists and artisans. From fashion, prints, accessories and home décor, we’re sure that you won’t leave this store empty handed.

Frida’s Tierchen, Bateau Lune, Plaça de la Virreina, 7 and Konfetti Kids, Baixada de Viladecols 2

Looking for a unique gift for the youngest members of the family? These hand-crafted dolls, animal costumes and accessories by local designer María Salamanca are perfect for gifts that inspire creativity and imagination. Shoponlineor find her products in a range of local children’s stores.

Meublé, Carrer de Martínez de la Rosa, 34

Meublé opened in 2012 in Gràcia with the aim of restoring antique furniture and items. This now multidisciplinary space is brimming with a range of locally made and designed home items. What’s more, it also offers workshops and exhibition spaces for local artists.

Casa Mariol, Carrer Rosselló, 442

Although these gifts are not technically made in Barcelona, Casa Mariol is a wine producer from a small medieval village called Batea in Tarragona. Their store in the Barcelona Eixample district stocks the best organic wine of the Terra AltaDenomination of Origin. Why not drop in to try a glass before you buy!

B de Barcelona, Avinguda de Gaudí, 28

Hand crafted in workshops in Manresa and Parets del Valles using locally sourced materials, the souvenirs you’ll find at B de Barcelona are exquisitely designed and made. Choose from colourful prints of the Sagrada Familia, funky mugs, Barcelona-inspired jewellery and much more.

Colmillo de Morsa, Carrer de Vic, 15 


We’d recommend dropping by Colmillo de Morsa in Gràcia to discover this local “slow” fashion brand that oozes personality. Their showroom, studio and store stocks a varied range of the brand’s collections and boasts exclusive designs and top quality.

Koetània, Carrer de Goya, 8

If you’re looking for something extra special this Christmas, at Koetània artisan jewellers you’ll find locally designed and crafted pieces of jewellery at reasonable prices. Our favourite is their exclusive collection inspired by Barcino– the Roman name for Barcelona. 

Tiny Cottons, Passeig del Born, 7 and Via Augusta, 25

This beautiful and brightly coloured clothing for babies and children comes in fun and exciting prints. Renowned internationally for its fresh designs, at Tiny Cottons their motto is to be the go-to brand for grandparents due to the great quality of their collections.

Barcelona really has something for everyone; so whoever you are buying for, we hope this guide comes in handy.  So put a smile on your loved one’s faces this year with a unique present from Barcelona.

Happy shopping!

New Year’s Eve Parties in Barcelona, 2019-2020

Are you planning on spending the New Year in Barcelona and looking for a special way to ring in 2020? Then look no further; we’ve compiled a list of the best parties for you to celebrate the night away with your partner, friends or family.

For locals, the celebration starts at home with a family meal and the traditional eating of 12 grapes at midnight, before hitting the town. However, we’ve selected a range of events starting before and after midnight at restaurants, bars and clubs so you can find the best event for you.

So what are you waiting for, start planning a New Year you’ll never forget in the centre Barcelona!

New Year’s Eve Parties in Barcelona

Fireworks: Plaça Espanya, Av. María Cristina

Unlike other cosmopolitan cities, it was only in 2013 that the tradition of an official outdoor New Year’s event began in Barcelona. Now locals and visitors alike can wrap up and get together to be awed by a fantastic performance of fireworks and music! This family-friendly celebration is free and starts at 9.30 pm. 

Sutton: C/ Tuset, 13

Looking to spend the New Year in style? Then we have the place for you! With tickets starting from €50 (including 3 drinks) and VIP tables starting from €1,000, this New Year’s Eve the exclusive nightclub venue plays host to DJs and artists such as Juanpa Claret, Gerard Roig and Xavi Ques. 

Bling Bling: C/ Tuset, 8–10

One of the city’s most exclusive nightclubs offers you an unforgettable evening starting at 1 am. With a selection of DJs, the option of VIP tables and the best music, ring in the bells with your loved ones at home then get the party started. We’re sure you’ll dance the night away.

Gatsby: C/ Tuset, 19

This themed restaurant come nightclub will take you back to the 1920s. Enjoy an exquisite menu of local and international dishes plus nightlong entertainment with singers, dancers and much more. After dinner, grab a cocktail and hit the dance floor. This luxury space won’t disappoint!

Sala Apolo: C/ Nou de la Rambla, 107

From 01:00 to 05:30 you’ll have access to two exclusive events held at one of Barcelona’s most renowned nightclubs, with over 75 years of clubbing tradition. In the main room, enjoy Nitsa live electronic beats from Shelby Grey, DJ Kosmos and more. In room 2 or “La 2” discover Astin, Nitsa’s house and disco alternative. Early Bird tickets are only €25 – what are you waiting for!

Razzmatazz: C/ dels Almogàvers, 122

With five different rooms, Razzmatazz really does have something for everyone. Choose from two ticket types, with entry either from 22:30 or after midnight, including two drinks and a special edition T-shirt – plus grapes, party favours and cava if you choose to see in the New Year there. Tickets cost €54.50 or €44.50 respectively.

Pacha: Passeig Marítim Barceloneta, 38

Head to the Barcelona seafront to party the night away at Pacha, with a selection of Europe’s most famous DJs. As well as being a nightclub, the Pacha restaurant also offers a dinner right by the sea and includes entry to the club to the exclusive New Year party.

Poble Espanyol
Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 13

Starting at 10.30 pm, discover a traditional Spanish street party in the centre of Barcelona at the Poble Espanyol. A standard ticket costing €40 (until December 26) will grant you access to three different outdoor spaces. Grab a VIP table with your friends and loved ones starting from €120. Tickets include four drinks, grapes and party favours.

Catwalk
Carrer de Ramon Trias Fargas, 2–4

Catwalk boasts the best of R&B and hip-hop music in an exclusive space located on the seafront. With a range of tickets starting from €30 right up to €3,500, enjoy three rooms, neon lights and an outdoor terrace.

Wherever you choose to celebrate the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, we hope you have a blast!

Festes Majors in Barcelona 2020

With another year coming to a close, we’re already thinking about 2020 and the celebrations it will bring with it. 

If you’ve not had the chance to experience a local festival in one of Barcelona’s many buzzing neighbourhoods, we’re sure that 2020 will be your year. With over 70 festivals set to be scheduled, you’ll be certainly spoilt for choice.

As 2020 is just around the corner, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite festes majorswith their preliminary dates so you can start planning your next trip!

Festa Major de Sant Antoni

Dates:17–26 January 2020

2019 was this festival’s debut year, so we’re sure its second year will be an event not to be missed. Enjoy a range of activities centred around the neighbourhood’s recently renovated market.

Festes de Santa Eulàlia

Dates:7–12 February 2020 (tbc)

Coinciding with the day of former patron saint of Barcelona (12 February), expect to see the centre of Barcelona come alive with castellers(human towers) and an array of parades in her honour.

Festa Major de la Sagrada Família

Dates: April–May 2020 (tbc)

Experience this renowned Gaudi masterpiece with over a week of various events and activities suitable for all ages. 

Festa Major del Casc Antic

Dates:June 2020 (tbc)

No one can deny that Barcelona’s old quarter has a unique charm – so why not discover its more traditional side. Head to Sant Pere and Santa Caterina i la Ribera to see castellers, parades of giant puppets and the modestsardanes dance.

Festa Major del Raval

Dates:June 2020 (tbc)

In honour of the neighbourhood’s patron saint, this bright and colourful festival in the centre of Barcelona stands out thanks to its castellers and artisans selling local craft products.

Festa Major del Poble-sec

Dates:July 2020 (tbc)

The festival of Poble-sec will take you on a journey through its most emblematic, local locations, from the Semblador square and the El Molino theatre. Be sure not to miss its blazing correfoc fire run.

Festa Major de Gràcia

Dates: 15–22August 2020

Perhaps the most eagerly awaited of all the festes majors of Barcelona, discover how the streets of Gràcia are transformed by the local residents with decorations of every colour.

Festa Major de Sants

Dates:August–September 2020 (tbc)

From concerts, decorations and correfocs, the Festa Major de Santstransforms this residential and professional district for a week of celebrations in honour of patron saint Bartholomew. 

Festa Major de Poblenou

Dates:11–20 September 2020

One of the largest of the festivals with around 500 activities, this event is not to be missed. Discover the magnificent cercavilaparade, sign up to run the 5 or 10 km race or take part in some of the artistic workshops that run alongside this celebration.

Festa Major de la Rambla

Dates:September 2020 (tbc)

This special celebration of one of Barcelona’s most renowned landmarks sees the façades of its buildings decorated with fresh flowers. What’s more, museums in the area are free during these celebratory dates.

Festes de la Mercè

Dates:18–24 September 2020

In honour of the patron saint of Barcelona, the entire city comes together to celebrate with popular culture, live music, castellers,correfocs and much more. There’s something for everyone at a range of locations throughout the city centre.

Festa Major de la Barceloneta

Dates:September 2020 (tbc)

In this beachside festival that celebrates the best of one of Barcelona’s most traditional neighbourhoods. We recommend catching a havaneresconcert (colonial songs sung by local groups) on the beach.

Is the festa majorof your favourite neighbourhood missing? Don’t worry; very soon the entire list of Barcelona’s local festivals will be published here, where you will also be able to check their exact locations on the map. 

We hope to see you there!

The Best Japanese Restaurants in Barcelona

In the last few years, izakayas (small Japanese taverns serving food and alcohol) have been popping up left, right and centre in Barcelona. These charming and welcoming eateries serve a lot more than just sushi and often specialise in one particular dish. 

It might not be the first thing you think of when planning a trip to Barcelona, but we’re sure by the time you finish this article you’ll be craving Japanese food.

What’s more, in cosmopolitan Barcelona you’ll find not only the best of Japan, but also a range of exotic and exciting fusions. Read on to discover Japanese tapas, steaming-hot ramen, fresh sushi, okonomiyakiand much more!

Mosquito
Carrer dels Carders, 46

Located close to Carrer Princesa and the Picasso museum, you’ll find Mosquito tucked away on a side street. Choose from a range of freshly baked dumplings and small Japanese tapas washed down with a pint of local craft ale. We recommend getting there early to put your name down for a table, as this quaint tavern can get particularly crowded.

Ramen-ya Hiro
Carrer de Girona, 164

If you’re looking to try the best ramen in Barcelona, you’ve come to the right place. Rumour has it that their speciality stock is slow-cooked over 48 hours. With seating for less than 20 customers, get there early and join the queue before opening time. Trust us, it’s worth the wait!

Sato I Tanaka
Carrer del Bruc, 79

For the true sushi experience that you’re not afraid of paying for, we’d recommend this discreet and modest restaurant. The mere 15 seats are arranged around the bar and kitchen so you can watch in awe as chef Sato delicately prepares each piece of sushi. Discover the art of sushi preparation in this tranquil atmosphere and impeccable service. 

Yatai
Carrer del Comte d’Urgell, 112

Step into Tokyo with this beautifully decorated restaurant located in the Eixample area of Barcelona. Capturing the essence of day-to-day life in Japan with a varied range of typical dishes, we’d recommend trying the curry, takoyaki (bite-size fried octopus) and donburi dishes (grilled meat in breadcrumbs or fish served on a bed of steaming rice).

Can Kenji
Carrer del Rosselló, 325

If you’re feeling adventurous and in the mood to try something unique, why not drop by the restaurant Can Kenji. Serving simple yet exquisite dishes that combine the best of fresh, local Catalan ingredients with traditional Japanese cuisine, we’re sure you won’t be disappointed. 

Fan Shoronpo Ramen
Carrer de Sèneca, 28

Specialising in steaming-hot bowls of every type of ramen, including ramen for vegetarians, Fan Shoronpo is a perfect choice for these chilly autumn nights. Be sure to try their speciality dumplings filled with hot stock.

Bouzu
Ronda de Sant Antoni, 26

A cosy Mediterranean-style izakayaclose to the San Antoni market, Bouzu specialises in Japanese-inspired tapas. Offering a lot more than just sushi, we’d recommend the okonomiyaki – an omelette-style dish from the region of Hiroshima made with grilled egg, noodles and vegetables topped with sweet Japanese barbeque sauce. Dig in!

Yoi Yoi
Avinguda Diagonal, 383

A great central location, this restaurant that specialises in udondishes can be found on the corner of Passeig de Gràcia/Diagonal. These thick wheat noodles are served in hot stock and can be combined with a range of delicious toppings. Don’t miss the selection of second hand Japanese books and vinyls and Japanese Asahi beer served on tap!

Recharge your batteries after a long day of sightseeing with these tasty options! Let us know, what’s your favourite Japanese restaurant in Barcelona?

A Guide to Christmas Concerts in Barcelona

The nights are drawing in earlier, the mornings are chillier and soon lights of every colour will illuminate the streets of Barcelona. 

This can only mean one thing! Christmas is almost upon us.  And if you’re spending Christmas in Barcelona this year, we can recommend a different plan to ensure you make the most of time with your loved ones. Amidst the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping and preparing for the many family gatherings and meals, take some time out to enjoy a unique musical experiences.

christmas concerts in barcelona

We’ve compiled this short guide to concerts during the festive season for you to sit back and be regaled by local choirs and orchestras. What better way to get in the festive mood!

Christmas on Broadway

Where: L’Auditori

When: Friday 20 and Saturday, 21 December 2019

Join the Symphonic Orchestra of Barcelona on a journey through the musicals of Broadway in a fantastic gala show to kick off the festive season in style. With music from works by Rodgers and Hammerstein (2015), Lloyd Webber (2017) and Bernstein (2018), there’s something for everyone.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu

When: Saturday, 21 and Sunday, 22 December 2019

Enjoy this Christmas classic surrounded by loved ones. Music by Albert Guinovart together with Symphony Orchestra of the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Amics de la Unió children’s choir.

Star Wars & OCM: Original Soundtracks by John Williams

Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana

When: Thursday, 19 and Saturday, 21 December 2019

Relive some of John William’s most emblematic soundtracks from the big screen including Star Wars, E.T., Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, Schindler’s List. We’re sure that you’ll laugh, cry and be entertained by the favourites of this renowned and prize-winning composer.

Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci

Where: Gran Teatre del Liceu

When: Various dates from 5–22 December 2019

This December enjoy a unique double opera session of two acclaimed Royal Opera House productions. These two Italian classics set in the 1950s will be performed side by side in what is sure to be an epic evening of emblematic opera.

The Magic World of Hans Zimmer

Where: L’Auditori

When: Wednesday, 25 December 2019

What better way to spend the most magical day of the year than enjoying music from some of the most epic films of the century. From The Lion King, Gladiator, Pearl Harbour, Pirates of the Caribbean and many more, bring this special day to a close surrounded by your loved ones.

St. Stephen’s Choral Concert: Christmas at the Palau

Where: El Palau de la Música Catalana

When: Thursday, 26 December 2019

Take part in this festive tradition of Catalonia with this unique concert held every St. Stephen’s Day. The charming melodies of the Orfeó Català and a combination of choirs are sure to bring the whole family together in an enchanting venue.

If you’re spending Christmas season in Barcelona, we’re sure one of these magical concerts will make for an unforgettable experience with your loved ones.

8 Books Set in Barcelona that you will love

Many writers have chosen Barcelona as the backdrop to their novel over the years and many have written guides to its streets, its secrets and its past. And it is true that Spain’s cultural capital lends well to the page: from historical dramas, post-war sagas and tales of the Barcelona bourgeoisie to anecdotes, ghost stories and legends.

We’ve compiled this list of 8 books for you to discover another side of Barcelona:  these novels will take you back in time to the Barcelona of the past, uncover its secrets and help you get to know its people and its culture.

Perfect for enjoying a beer or coffee on a sun-drenched terrace, when topping up your tan at the beach or on your journey to Barcelona. Just sit back and enjoy this literary tour of Spain’s cultural capital with these 8 books set in Barcelona.

The City of Marvels by Eduardo Mendoza

Set during the years between Barcelona’s Universal Expositions (1886–1926), we follow the footsteps of the protagonist Onofre Bouvil – an immigrant, deliverer of anarchist propaganda and hair-tonic seller. In a Barcelona on the cusp of cultural evolution, discover how this ordinary man’s ambition takes him to powerful heights.

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

This bestselling novel and first of the Cemetery of Forgotten books trilogy is set in a 1945 Barcelona. It is in this cemetery that the novel’s protagonist finds an unusual book that is to change life as he knows it.

What’s more, fans of the saga can visit the parts of Barcelona that inspired Zafón’s stories on one of the many “Shadow of the Wind” literary tours that take place around the city. 

The Cathedral of the Sea by Ildefonso Falcones

This historical drama set in 14th-century Barcelona takes readers on a journey through the construction of the city’s magnificent Santa María del Mar cathedral. A gripping tale of love, family and revenge, we’re sure you won’t be able to put it down.

The Time of the Doves by Mercè Rodoreda 

Written during her time of exile from Catalonia, Mercé Rodoreda’s bestseller is written in an unusual stream of consciousness style. This powerful and incredibly moving book tells the tale of normal girl named Natalia – known as La Colometa– during the civil war and post-war in Barcelona. In Catalan the book is named after Gràcia’s “Plaça del Diamant” which can be visited today.

We Had Won the War by Esther Tusquets

This bestselling novel set in post-Civil War Barcelona uncovers a perspective that is often excluded from Spanish war narrative: that of the winners. Through the author’s own memoir, she relates her experience of growing up among the Francoist bourgeoisie and her struggle to find her own place.

I’ll Give You the Earth by Chufo Llorens

This story of a young peasant boy set within the city walls paints a picture of medieval Barcelona. Discover this story of impossible love, passion, ambition and betrayal in the 11thcentury.

Un senyor de Barcelona (A Gentleman of Barcelona) by Josep Pla 

Available only in Catalan and Spanish, this biography by Josep Pla relates the life of Rafael Puget, a member of the Barcelona bourgeoisie through family portraits, anecdotes and memories.

Mysteries of Barcelona by Ernesto Milá 

This non-fiction guide uncovers long-lost facts and secrets of Barcelona. Divided into three sections that cover places, people and unusual traditions, this book is perfect for those who are looking to discover the other side of Barcelona.

We love reading about this wonderful city and we hope you also enjoy discovering its long-lost stories and uncovering its many secrets. Tell us, what’s your favourite book about Barcelona?