Barcelona: What’s On


Open plazas in the Gothic Quarter
Open Plazas and an active cityscape define the entry to the Gothic Quarter.



What to do in Barcelona? We asked luxury travel advisors who have been there recently how they spent their time during a port stay as they sailed on Oceania’s new Riviera ship. 

Steve Orens, Plaza Travel:

Barcelona is a city of old and new, with a seafront that has been developed with an expanse of beaches.

On my first day in Barcelona I went to what is rated as the second best restaurant in the world for a meal of 14 courses, each paired with wine over the course of four-and-a-half hours. Wow, what an amazing meal! El Celler de Can Roca is just over an hour from the port of Barcelona, but it’s well worth the trip. It’s in the town of Girona, and from the outside you can’t tell it’s anything special. But once you walk up the ramp into the courtyard and then enter the restaurant, you know you have arrived. The modern, simple décor is very comfortable and elegant. Each course was perfectly presented and the time and effort that went into each dish was obvious; the details and how the spices and flavors went together were perfect. One of my favorite presentations was of the olives. They were prepared and then hung from a bonsai tree that was placed on the table. One green olive and one black olive for each person at the table, delicious! I don’t even think our first two courses were included in the 14.

On my second day in Barcelona I took a four-hour walking tour hosted by Hi. This is Barcelona and had a great time enjoying the old and new aspects of the city, from the Gothic Quarter to enjoying churros con chocolate (the same way it’s been served in Barcelona for 100 years) to cocktails on the top of the Neri Hotel. Barcelona has so much to offer.

Austin Vollmer and Haisley Smith, Brownell:

The Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter is filled with slender alleyways, shops and cafés.

Barcelona is the perfect city for a day of strolling the streets and shopping. Start in the Gothic Quarter and enjoy a breakfast of delicious chocolate churros. Wind through the narrow alleys and streets for hidden local boutiques, antiques shops and charming gift shops. You’re just a few blocks away from the famed La Rambla. Start out at the beginning of the street—just off the Port Vell near the Christopher Columbus monument and take a slow-paced stroll up the shaded, tree-lined street. La Rambla is perfect for souvenirs like T-shirts, small-scale paintings and local crafts. Be sure to venture on to the side streets for shops with local treats galore.

For high-end shopping, Paseo de Gracia is an absolute must. Dense with couture clothing, handbags and shoes, this street is ideal for any fashionista.

Our favorite shop was Kling on Carrer dels Banys Nous, 14. It’s a fabulous local boutique with garments made from Spanish textiles.

Our favorite bars and restaurants included:

The Manchester Bar is situated on Carrer de Milans near the Gothic Quarter. It’s a throwback to the golden era of Barcelona, with great tapas, drinks and music.

La Fonda, at Escu de llers, 10, has fabulous Mediterranean cuisine, Spanish-chic interiors and great prices. It’s perfect for lunch.

Federal is in a hot part of town at Parliament, 39. Its fresh menu changes throughout the day. Our Tip: Make a reservation for a small table on the second floor. It also has a beautiful terrace.

For more on Oceania’s Riviera, see pages 58-60.

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