As far as sights go, by far the most spectacular thing here is Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. They sell out of tickets so I would get them NOW http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/tiquets/ This is definitely something u do not want to miss! I don't want to talk it up too much but it was pretty spectacular (and I don't say that about very much)!!
The other things in the city that I recommend/that we really enjoyed were:
- Take a walk down La Rambla, peak into the Placa Reial (you'll feel like you're in Italy :-) Also, while it's touristy, The Boqueria Market is a lot of fun. Get some fresh fruit, fruit juice or a little cone of jamon iberico. I found it to be a little overwhelming but it's a must!
- Get lost in the Barri Gotic area. It's a touristy but fun and lively area of the city.
- Take a walk up Passeig de Gracia. You'll pass some other famous modernista buildings. Have a drink at one of the outdoor cafes and do some people watching.
- We enjoyed all the other touristy things we did in the city including The History of Barcelona Museum and Picasso museum, but I feel like everything paled in comparison to the Segrada familia. I thought the Parc Guell was just ok. The famous Gaudi lizard is there -sort of a symbol of Barcelona- but I still feel like this is easily skipable. We also went to the Palau de la Música Catalana. We did a tour which came with a mini "concert". We liked the tour and I would recommend doing it w the "concert".
We stayed at Le Méridien for 5 nights. It's well located right in the middle of all the action and I highly recommend it. We also stayed at the W on the beach. I really liked the vibe, but I would have been bummed if we had stayed there the entire time because it's about a 20 minute walk to everything. For just a night or 2, I would definitely recommend Le Meridien or somewhere more in the center of the city.
- We really enjoyed eating in Barcelona. Things definitely start late! We went for dinner around 830/9 each night and one night were leaving a place at about 11, and there was a group of people just sitting down.
- There is an outstanding bread/sandwich/bakery called Baluard http://baluardbarceloneta.com/en/principal There's a location in Barceloneta by the beach that is just take out and another location, with a lovely little area to sit, in the Eixample neighborhood. Everything is fresh and delicious. They also have really great coffee and free water at the one in Eixample.
- For dinner we ate tapas every night. Some of our faves were the patatas bravas (Spain's version of french fries), the jamon and/or cheese plate, boquerones/anchovies in vinegar, padron peppers and tomato bread, which is just tomato rubbed on crunchy bread. I also loved the goat cheese salad which comes with walnuts and some little slices of goat cheese with caramelized sugar on top. Each restaurant has other options in addition to the ones I just mentioned. We had an amazing tomato salad at a place and all the produce we ate was super fresh.
- It's hard to recommend just a place or 2 because as I said, everything has been good, but I'll narrow it down. Cerveseria Catalana was very lively with a great vibe, lots of very fresh, great tapas and even cheeseburger tapas (if your kids are picky it's a good option). It's a pretty big restaurant so even if there's a wait, it goes quickly. On the total opposite end of the spectrum is a mostly seafood place called Can Santi. It's in Barceloneta. We got there around 9 and had no problem getting a table, despite the fact that it only has about 7 tables. In the hour or 2 that we spent there, it completely filled up with what seemed like all locals. We told the owner to just bring us a variety of things and everything was fresh and amazing! We all loved this experience! I'd also recommend a place called Ziryab which is a cozy (kind of tight) place in the El Born area of the Barri Gotic. It's a middle eastern/Spanish fusion - think middle eastern dips but also traditional Spanish stuff too. The food and service were excellent.
- We ate a lot of gelato and ice pops, mostly from a place called Gelateria Palau, which was across from the Palau de la Música Catalana. I was obsessed w the stracciatella and my kids loved the ice pops!
- We didn't drink any sangria, but we really enjoyed the "house wines" and beer.