08 November 2015

Barcelona for Vegetarians

Central Barcelona. The view from the Catalonia Barcelona Plaza Hotel

I've always wanted to go to Bareclona. My longing started in my art student days when I studied Gaudi and fell in love with his colourful and sensual buildings. Years went by and I never fitted in a trip.

I'm pleased to say I can now tick Barcelona off my to-do list.

I visited a few weeks ago with my friend Sarah who blogs over at Maison Cupcake. We booked through Travel Supermarket (check out everything they have to offer for a trip to Barcelona) and flew in from Stansted. The trip from the airport was easy and reasonably priced on the Aerobus (which runs from both terminals, there are ticket machines beside the bus stances). It took us straight into the heart of the city in no time.

Catalonia Hotel Barcelona

We arrived at Hotel Vueling, which looked pretty cool inside with an airline theme. Unfortunately we didn't get further than reception as they didn't have our booking, but they were very kind and helpful and we were happily upgraded to the four star Catalonia Barcelona Plaza Hotel on Plaza de España square right in the centre of Barcelona.

We enjoyed a complimentary Prosecco on the roof terrace while we waiting for our rooms. What view of the city. Just stunning.


The rooms were really swish too. Lots of storage, big wardrobe, plenty of mirrors, some nice quality toiletries in the bathroom and a stunning view across the plaza. Just don't do what I did and forget you need a European adapter. I've been going to North Cyprus for too long and forgot in other countries you need an adapter to plug in your gadgets and GHDs. Luckily Sarah came prepared and had a spare.

There was plenty of variety for breakfast, but I missed my baked beans and tattie scones.

Breakfast at the Catalonia Hotel in Barcelona

So what did we do during our weekend in Barcelona?

We walked, we ate and we marvelled at the city coming alive at night and how it was full of families and how friendly it was.

On the Saturday morning we did the Castle Experience and learned a lot about Catalan history on the way to Montserrat Abbey.  The Abbey was stunning, unfortunately the thick fog meant we missed what should have been spectacular views.



After Montserrat we headed to Oller del Mas Cellar to find out a bit more about winemaking in this ancient castle winery. We learned about the vines, production and storage, then we had a wine tasting with tapas. They asked in advance if there were any dietary requirements, so I had some veggie tapas waiting for me. We had a great morning, we packed a lot in and our guide was charming and we learned so much.


We were back in the city by 3 pm, so we took the tube to Sagrada Familia to see some Gaudi. The tube was easy to use, although Sarah was admittedly a dab hand at it. The tube in Barcelona is cheaper than buses are in Dundee and they have a special ticket that two people can share the journeys on.


A tip for visiting the Sagrada Familia. It's very busy but don't be put off, it's a must. Just queue for a ticket and you'll get a time to come back for entry, then just go for a wander or a coffee. When you step inside you'll be stunned. I just stood there with my mouth open, absolutely speechless. I took lots of photos but they don't give an idea of how vast it is, the echoing sound of the choir, the dazzling rainbow of colours or the feel of the place. You must visit!




Sarah kindly ate vegetarian with me over the weekend.

We ate out in veggie restaurants on both nights and stumbled across vegan cafes and bakeries too, which was pretty cool.

So many veggie restaurants, so much choice!

I have a list of places I want to try next time, I've added them to the bottom of the post.




tofu and shitake mushroom patties with salad and a tahini dip. Mine worked out at about £5.50 and Sarah's was £4.20. You may noticed we enjoyed some Prosecco too.


 

This is a very old fashioned style of veggie restaurant. Cheap and cheerful. The food I picked looks very yellow (they don't go into for fancy flourished of herbs on top), but boy it was good. I started with a really tasty dal, then moved on to goats cheese an spinach cannelloni, which was all garlicky and moreish, then I finished with mango ice cream. 

While we were eating a Catalan parade passed the restaurant. Fireworks, drummers and singing, I swear this city is alive!

The 3 courses and drink (I had apple juice) in Amaltea came to just over £10. I'm returning to this one.


On the Saturday night Sarah and I could hear music coming from the street so we headed out of the hotel and found a street festival around the corner from our hotel with stalls, music and dancing. We settled in at a table to drink and take in the atmosphere. Let's just say we didn't get to bed until 2am and everyone was still in high spirits.



I hope you enjoyed my weekend guide to Barcelona. There's so much more to do, discover and eat, but we'll leave that for my next visit, and the next...........

Do you have any great tips or restaurant recommendations 
for Barcelona? If you do leave me a comment below.

Here are two veggie restaurants on my list for next time:


A vegan restaurant that has a European and Indian menu as well as juices and smoothies, salads and filled baguettes for lunchtime.
 
Hospital, 74, El Raval, Barcelona, 08001 
Telephone: +34 934 43 90 82

Daily noon-5pm, 8pm-11.30pm


Bar restaurant serving vegan food who do a special burger every lunchtime, but have an extensive list of them and they are supposed to be amazing. They like their beers too and stock Scottish Brew Dog craft beers on tap. Apparently it has a punky attitude and cats (not real ones)!

Carrer de la Bòria, 17, 08003 Barcelona
Telephone: +34693584700

Mon-Sat 6:30pm-11.30pm for food, but later for drinks. Closed Sunday.



24 comments:

  1. Thanks for putting together such an amazing guide! Barcelona has been on my must see list for quite a while and this is going to make the visit much easier :)

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    1. Oh good, I'm glad it was useful. I loved it.

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  2. I love Barcelona. I went there a few years ago. Such a beautiful city. Sagrada Familia is just stunning isn't it? I wasn't vegan at the time so it's interesting to see how veggie friendly it is there.

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  3. Thanks for letting me re-live some great highlights from Barcelona. Now I have more restaurants to go back and try. They look delicious!

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  4. Wow, I want to go to Barcelona now! Such beautiful pics!

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  5. Really useful info Jac, I tend to look out for vegan restaurants when I'm away purely as I know there won't be any dairy hiding in sauces! Glad you both had a great trip
    Janie x

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  6. A lovely round up! I'll have to show this to my vegan friend who has always wanted to go. I have forgotten my adapter before aswell - I feel your pain! xx

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  7. When Alex studied in London she flew to Barcelona several times to visit her friends who were studying there. She absolutely loved it. Your pictures are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your travels with us. :)

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  8. *envious sigh*
    SO many places we want to see and experience, and Spain isn't until two years from now, but OH, I want to bump it up the list now. Barcelona looks AMAZING!!! I'm well surprised by the seismic shift in food choices now than when we started traveling in Europe just fifteen years ago. I'm hopeful that Norway will have some new choices as well next year...

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  9. I laughed when I read "the tube in Barcelona is cheaper than buses are in Dundee" :))

    The food looks great and the prices are fab. It looked like you had a great time x

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  10. I love Barcelona and I agree, I thought it was such a friendly place. Such a joy. Elinor x

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  11. We packed so much into our weekend and the Sagrada Familia was definitely the highlight!

    I was dead impressed how easy it was to transfer between the airport and the city and will definitely be making a return trip.

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  12. You got great pics, looks like an awesome trip! I've never been off my continent but Spain is on my list of places I'd love to see. I'm glad you can find some wonderful veggie food there!

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  13. Your Barcelona trip looks like so much fun! I'll have to keep this in mind as a guide for when I go there again. Thanks :)

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  14. Fun! I love hearing about all the veggie restaurant options. I think I need to move! :)

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  15. What awesome guide for eating through Barcelona! Your trip looks fantastic, what an amazing opportunity!

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  16. ah, and now *I* want to head to Barcelona! thanks for sharing these fantastic photos, food, and journey - how exciting!

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  17. Barcelona is one of those cities that I really want to visit. I looks like you had such an amazing trip!

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  18. I would love to visit Barcelona one day, it's on my list of places to visit. It's so great to see all those veggie restaurants, definitely useful for the future!

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  19. WOAH!! Hope you had a great time in Barcelona!! I used to live where your hotel was for a couple of months. I jogged up to the castillo around twice a week. Much easier than I thought it was. Unfortunately I only know non vegetarian restaurant tips. But those are really good :-)

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  20. I love Barcelona! I went there seven years ago and I had such a great time! Can't wait to visit again. Thanks for sharing this! :-)

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  21. Love this guide! Haven't been to Barcelona since 2012, really want to go again! :)

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  22. I was in barcelona in 1999 and I loved it despite it being at the end of my travels when I felt quite poor. I remember really enjoying walking along the Ramblas (Ramblers?) and seeing all the fruit and veg markets. And I just loved all the gaudi architecture - I particularly loved Parc Guell (I am rusty on all the spelling).

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  23. Sounds like a wonderful break with so much to do and see.

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I love reading comments, so thank you for taking the time to leave one. Unfortunately, I'm bombarded with spam, so I've turned on comment moderation. I'll publish your comments as soon as I can and respond to them. Don't panic, they will disappear when you hit publish. Jac x