you booked two months in advance. the city break twinkles on your calendar…a shiny, flickering beacon getting you through the arse end of wet, cold, grey winter. then what happens? you get to barcelona and it rains. all weekend. and it’s an average of 5°C colder than london.

but fear not, intrepid traveler! barcelona is not all beaches, park strolls and sangria in the sun. i would take a million rainy days in the catalan capital of culture. this little agenda only scratches the surface of what you can do.

8-10:30am: sleep in

you’re in barcelona, just relax. it’s not going anywhere. in fact, no one’s up and nothing’s open anyway.

11am: pre-culture caffeination

head to the plaça dels angels in raval, home of the MACBA (museu d’art contemporani de barcelona) and the CCCB (centre de cultura contemporània de barcelona), for coffee and a bite to eat to tide you over until lunch. the catalans don’t really do brunch or big breakfasts with the exception of tortilla and the odd pastry. any of the cafes opposite the MACBA are good for a café con leche. try l’original, which is a lovely experience in itself with its creative interior and friendly service.




noon: get your contemporary art fix

walk across the plaza to the MACBA. it’s only about 7 euros for access to all the exhibitions. i just saw the MACBA’s latest exhibitions — joan rabascall, thomas bayrle and cildo meireles — which i’ll review in my next post. the main floor holds the ‘collecció’ but the next three floors are worth it if only to experience the light and air of this stunning white building.

placa dels angels, 1






3pm: time for tapas

next stop: cerveceria catalana. the absolute most authentic, high quality, dream-about-for-days tapas in barcelona. i would move there just to eat at this restaurant once a day. the crowd’s a combination of sophisticated catalan couples and families, local ex-pats and tourists wise enough to take the rambla (slightly) less traveled.

cerveceria catalana
carrer de mallorca 236
tel   +34 93 216 0368          
hours: 7:30am-1:30am every day


if you’re not sure what to order, here’s my usual: una tortilla, pan tomaca, pimientos de padron, brochetas de gambas (shrimp skewer on a piece of bread) and a solomio (small piece of succulent steak on a piece of bread). and of course, una cervesa. if you have any room left, go for the crema catalana and a cafe con leche after. you won’t be sorry.


5pm: art fix, part 2

take a taxi up to montjuïc to the fundació joan miro. the ride’s no more than 6 or 7 euros and is a stunning journey winding through magical gardens and lush green parks (save a walk through the area for a sunny day). the museum is relatively small so you can see both the permanent and new exhibits in about an hour (approx 8 euros)…but if you like miro, you’ll want to spend several hours pouring over every detail of his masterpieces.

fundacio joan miro
parc de montjuïc s/n
tel   +34 93 44 39 470       



6.30pm: birds-eye view of barca

if you’re brave enough, take a left outside the museum and walk 5 minutes to the teleferic de montjuic (cable car) for a 15-minute ride that gives you a sweeping perspective of the the city and the harbour. if the view doesn’t take your breath away, the height will. gave me palpitations, but in a good way. very worth it. the teleferic closes at 7pm, so get there at least 5 minutes before.





8pm: dinner time

right across from the teleferic station is one of my favourite restaurants in barcelona — montjuic el xalet. beside the view, the food, wine and service is superb. it doesn’t open until 8pm, so if you need to kill some time, pop over the equally spectacular hotel miramar for an aperitif.

montjuic el xalet
avinguda miramar 31
tel 93 324 92 70

10pm: nightcap

end the day with a nightcap at the super chill hotel omm just off passeig de gracia in eixample. the lobby has a modern fireplace, bed-like sofas, well-crafted cocktails, attentive staff…what more could you ask for to zone out after all that culture.

hotel omm
roselló, 265