Welcome to our new series of city guides. Every time one of us Owls visits somewhere we like to go on a design trail, discovering interior shops, markets, restaurants and just general beautifully designed spaces.
We are always on the look out for tips when we go somewhere new, so we thought we would share our discoveries with you, our lovely followers!
First up is Barcelona. This city is actually quite special to us as It is the first place that we (Sophie & Simone, aka The Owls) visited together on a university trip many moons ago.
It was me, Sophie, on my own this time though, and I have noted a few of my favourite interior shops, cafes and restaurants that I found through recommendations, research and good old fashioned stumbling across. I basically did all the hard work for you so you have more time for una mas sangria.
I have tried to put it in an order that makes sense if you are going to hit all the spots in one day, but this is quite a lot to pack in so you may want to skip a few things or spread it over a couple of days!
1 / CULTURE: SAGRADA FAMILIA
Carrer de Mallorca, 401, 08013
Beat the queues by going first thing to Sagrada Familia. The unfinished temple was designed by Antoni Gaudi and first started construction in 1858. Today, more than 135 years after the laying of the cornerstone, the construction continues and is expected to be completed in 2026. It’s pretty mind blowing!
2 / BREAKFAST: GRANJA PETITBO
Passeig de Sant Joan, 82, 08009
After working up an appetite go for a hearty breakfast at this beautiful little restaurant. Absolutely delicious food and amazing service with industrial chic interiors – all stripped back walls and vintage chairs. The pink on pink bathrooms are a treat for the eyes too.
3 / MARKET: MERCAT DE LA CONCEPCIÓ
Carrer d'Aragó, 313-317, 08009
Because it is always lovely to look at flowers. A smaller, more local market than the famous Boqueria set in a striking glass and steel building, you can wander past this on the way to the next place on the list.
4 / SHOPPING: MAR DE CAVA
Carrer de València, 293, 08009
Great concept store selling a mix of unusual furniture, homewares and fabulous gift ideas.
5 / SHOPPING (FASHION): BOO
Carrer de Bonavista, 2, 08012
Stylish, ethical clothing store. Go for the interiors as much as the clothes.
6 / SHOPPING (FURNITURE + DESIGN): AMATO SOLE
Carrer Perill, 39, 08012
This furniture store (and workshop) is a feast of the design loving eyes. All designed or picked by owner couple Annamaria Amato, a restoration architect and Ramón Solé, an Industrial designer.
7 / LUNCH: CUINES SANTA CATERINA
Francesc Cambó 16, 08003
Buzzy restaurant selling delicious food on the edge of the bustling Santa Caterina Market. The market, especially its colourful roof, is also worth a peek.
The Picasso museum isn’t too far from here either, if you would prefer a bit of art in the afternoon instead than the below…
8 / SHOPPING + WANDER: EL BORN + GOTHIC QUARTER (BARRI GOTIC) + EL RAVEL
Too many shops in these enchanting neighbouring areas to mention them all but here are a few design led stores that stood out. It is definitely worth taking your time and wandering the streets a bit here – you never know what gems you’ll discover:
CLAY CONCEPT STORE
Carrer dels Banys Vells, 11, 08003
A cool, rough plaster walled, homeware and fashion store run by 3 ceramic designers selling their own products alongside other carefully selected brands. Simple gorgeous.
(Photo credit: appetiteandotherstories.com)
Carrer de l'Argenteria, 41, 08003
A Mediterranean lovers paradise, this shop is filled with baskets, espadrilles and homeware that will instantly remind you of sunnier climes every time you look or wear them!
Carrer del Peu de la Creu, 25, 08001
Super cool concept store selling a mix of clothing, homeware, art and jewellery. Hard not to spend money here! Since we visited BCN they have opened a new one not far from this – we predict that is definitely worth visit too.
Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 62, 08008 Barcelona
Amazing selcetion pottery and vintage furniture. the owners have a great eye
Calle Dr. Dou, 11, 08001
Gorgeous homeware including the dreamiest rattan lampshades, clothing and accessories
A few others around this area that are worth a note are Fantastik, a super kitsch gift shop and Nuovum, a shop selling wares by independent designers from handbags to pottery.
9 / DRINKS: CASA BONAY
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 700, 08010
There are two bars to choose from in the cool hotel. Go for pre dinner cocktail on the beach/jungle shack rooftop bar Chiringuito or post dinner digestif at super stylish King Kong Lady Bar at Libertine.
10 / DINNER: BAR DEL PLA
Carrer de Montcada, 2, 08003
Absolutely delicious - some of the best food I’ve had in Spain (and I’ve had a lot!). Great atmosphere too.
Here are a couple more places that I absolutely love but they may take at least half a day to visit, so better for a longer trip:
The Barcelona Pavilion (also known as the German Pavilion)
Av. Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia, 7, 08038
Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, this tranquil, stunning space is an important icon of modernist twentieth-century architecture.
Antoni Gaudí Casa Batlló
Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007
A particular favourite Gaudi building of mine, the roof top especially spectacular.
There are so many more places to see, BCN is such a vibrant and fun city. Please do comment below or send us your favourite places as I’m sure we have missed off many - and we definitely want to return soon!
Sophie Owl xx