Cover did a shoot in Barcelona this summer with an incredible photographer, August Solaris (ig @augustus.solaris). Since he lives there, we asked him some questions only a local could answer. Hopefully his insights will help guide you as you plan your next trip over to Spain.
What are some interesting/unique things about the culture people might want to know before visiting Spain for the first time?
I learned the hard way that tapas are not a full meal, they are more like a snack, you need to eat many to be full. So for any tourist looking for a restaurant in Spain when they are really hungry I would tell to never just ask for one tapa, choose at least 3.
Often in stores the cashier will call you guapo/a, which means handsome or pretty. That doesn't mean they are hitting on you or that they actually think you are beautiful, it's just a friendly comment.
Another useful information is to expect stores to be closed for some hours during the afternoon. In Spain people really value their midday nap time which they call "siesta".
It's important to know that when greeting or saying goodbye Spanish give two kisses.
You obviously live there, but what are the best hotels in Barcelona?
Even though I have never stayed in a hotel in Barcelona I have visited many because of their famous rooftops. Many hotels offer access to their rooftops with access to their bar or restaurant. It's perfect for the hot days when you just want to jump in a swimming pool or enjoy a meal while watching the sunset. So if you are looking for a hotel in Barcelona look for one with a good rooftop.
What are some of your favorite restaurants around Barcelona?
For me good food is very important, I'm really picky about where and what I eat. Also I'm vegan so it makes the quest for good food a bit more difficult, but I have been able to find incredible places. The first place I would recommend is El Vato Loco, where you can find the best pizzas in the city with a variety of untraditional flavors. Next would be Equilibrium, especially for breakfast if you are looking for some good pancakes. For lunch and dinner I will often choose Honest Greens, which I recommend for everyone, they have tasty and healthy food for good prices and great atmosphere. And last, I love Flax & Kale for a fancy and relaxing dinner.
What is the best way to get around the city if you don’t have a car?
Walking and Metro. The city is made for walking, there's so much to see on the streets of Barcelona. The architecture is beautiful, there are cool little stores everywhere, street art, sculptures, art galleries on every corner. The city is so vibrant and full of culture, that's why walking around is still one of my favourite things to do, I love revisiting my favorite spots and I always discover new places.
Metro is also a good option in case the location where you are going is far away, it reaches almost every part of the city and it is very well connected.
See & Do:
What are the coolest not-to-miss tourist spots around the city?
It may sound a bit obvious but Sagrada Familia is a must to visit. I remember the amazement I felt the first time I saw it. I couldn't believe the magnitude and beauty in front of my eyes. The exterior is already incredible and the interior will leave you speechless, especially if you go on a sunny day because the sun passing through Gaudi's cathedral glass paints the air in a beautiful way.
My second favorite spot would be Bunkers del Carmel, it's a bunker constructed during the Spanish Civil War on top of a mountain that now can be used to see the best landscapes in Barcelona. It's also a great spot for taking photos during the golden hour and watching the most incredible sunsets.
And last I would recommend everyone to just walk around the city to gasp the different architectural styles in Barcelona, from Gothic to Art Nouveau. My favorite neighborhoods are El Born, The Gothic Quarter and Gracia. And in all of them you can find good terraces for drinking and relaxing.
Do you have a favorite beach around Barcelona for vacation?
One of the best things about Barcelona is that it is a beach city.
My personal favorite would be Garraf beach. It has an immediate acces from the train station and interesting fisherman houses along the beach that create a unique atmosphere. It's a perfect spot for a beach day and a bikini photoshoot.
My other personal favorite would be Platja dels Pescadors. It is probably the closest beach to the city center with a perfect beach vibe. Parallel to the beach runs a long street which is full of palm trees and it's perfect for walking and enjoying some local restaurants, it has a bit of Venice Beach vibe.
Are there any cool shopping areas that tourists might not know about?
There is a wide variety of stores around Barcelona, with different products, from food to clothing or jewelry stores, and of great quality. Because they are local stores each has it's own style and atmosphere, they are great to visit even if you are not buying anything. To find these stores you need to walk around the neighborhoods I already recommended, especially Born and Gracia, and just let yourself be surprised with what you find.