While the Catalans themselves might not really celebrate Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t mean you have to go without. In fact, Barcelona is an endlessly romantic city and a great place to impress a date if you know where to go. Show your special someone a Valentine’s Day to remember with these original date ideas for Barcelona.
A Cava picnic at the Carmel Bunkers
While the Carmel Bunkers may not be the well-kept secret they once were, the fact that Valentine’s Day falls in February means you’re unlikely to find the place very crowded that day. However the fact remains that they offer the most spectacular panoramic view of the city you’ll find. Getting there requires walking uphill for a while, so you’ll need to make sure you’re both dressed appropriately and pack a blanket for snuggling up with upon arrival. Make sure you put the Cava in an ice-sleeve to keep it chilled and splash out on some good quality plastic flutes. A few slices of jamon Ibérico and some Manchego cheese, a little turrón to finish and you’ve pulled off a truly memorable Spanish picnic.
Cocktails in a speakeasy in El Born
Locals and travellers alike are drawn to the nightlife of El Born thanks to its many cozy bars and hip cocktail joints dotted among the designer boutiques and ancient buildings. While everyone may have their own opinion on where the best cocktails are found, there’s no denying that recent addition El Paradiso wins hands down when it comes to concept. Hidden behind the cover of a pastrami sandwich store, this speakeasy boasts a stylish design and cocktails designed by one of Spain’s most celebrated barmen of the moment. Meet for a quick drink and some tapas at the bar in Cal Pep before and then impress your date with a nightcap at El Paradiso.
A lively night out in El Raval
One of the most multi-cultural neighbourhoods in Barcelona, El Raval was once a no-go area rife with drug abuse, prostitution and crime. While the area is hardly a model of sanctity these days, it has overwhelmingly cleaned up its act and today is home to some of the most interesting cultural and artistic projects in the city. If you’re the kind of person who would gladly put up with things being a little rough around the edges for the sake of a genuine experience, a night out in El Raval has much to offer. Start the evening with an authentic flamenco show in 23 Robadors, one of the city’s best independent live music venues. Then head over to La Monroe for some tapas before ending up in a late-night bar on Carrer Joaquin Costa (33/45, Betty Ford’s or Bar Olimpic).
Brunch and vermouth in Sant Antoni
The neighbourhood of Sant Antoni can be considered the birthplace of the brunch scene in Barcelona. This is where Federal Café first started serving poached eggs and Bloody Marys quite a few years ago now. These days Parlament Street is lined with cool cafés (Federal Café, Cometa) and cozy brunch spots (Lando, Tarannà) which are ideal to surprise your love interest with a late-morning date. When you’ve done with coffees and croissants, head over to Els Sortidors del Parlament for a traditional vermouth and by then you’ll be set up for an afternoon of exploring the city hand in hand.
Show off your wine knowledge at Bar Brutal
Located in El Born, Bar Brutal is one of Barcelona’s most celebrated wine bars among lovers of so-called ‘natural’ wines. It also happens to be a hip restaurant with a buzzing atmosphere and some interesting modern tapas. Start the evening off with a glass of wine at nearby Animà del Vi, a French-owned wine-bar with a good selection of wines by the glass. If you’re feeling up to sitting outside, La Vinya del Senor is located just opposite the beautiful Santa Maria del Mar basilica and is well-regarded for its choice of wines. Just make sure you’ve booked your table at Brutal and get there before all that wine goes to your head.
Relive Modernist Barcelona
The turn of the 20th century was the height of the architectural movement known as Catalan Modernism, championed by know famous architect Antoni Gaudí. The recent expansion of the city, known as the Eixample, was the testing ground for some of the boldest designs including the Casa Batlló. Relive this Golden Era by taking your date for a glass of Cava at the glitzy El Nacional on Passeig de Gràcia after a walk past the Casa Batlló at night. Then make your way to Rilke, one of Barcelona’s hottest new restaurants located in a stunningly restored Modernist apartment.
Unearth the Gothic Quarter’s secrets
The oldest and possibly most romantic part of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter is where you’ll find some of the city’s most famous landmarks such as the Gothic Cathedral and Jaume Square. But there’s also a more mysterious side to this ancient neighbourhood. Impress your date by taking them on a private tour of the Gothic Quarter and point out sinister sculptures, hidden symbols and other little-known curiosities. Finish off with a warming hot chocolate and a plate of churros to share on the Carrer Petrixol.