Romantic Barcelona

Who says Paris is the city of love? The Catalan capital offers restaurants with cozy corners, candlelit Arabic baths, and lush green spaces to stroll with your better half. In Barcelona, couples can wander a neoclassical labyrinth to find the Greek god of love at the center, peruse the wares at centuries-old-shops , or just lounge on the beach, staring into the grays and blues of the Mediterranean.

Carrer de les Caputxes, 10, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Our hotel was a few feet away from Bubó chocolate and pastry shop and we must’ve stopped there about 5 or 6 different times while staying in Barcelona. The desserts are outstanding and the chocolate covered salted macadamia nuts make a perfectly delicious souvenirs to bring back home.
Passeig dels Castanyers, 1, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
The oldest garden in the city, the Laberint d’Horta was once the property of the Marquise Desvalls. Explore lush green spaces in search of striking statuary and plant life, then find love—in the figure of Cupid at the center of the garden maze. Above the maze there’s a large terrace overlooking the gardens and a charming pavilion with a reflecting pool full of carp. Pack a picnic, the snack bar is limited and overpriced. Address: Parc del Laberint d’Horta Passeig dels Castanyers, 1 08035, Barcelona
Carrer de Joaquín Costa, 33, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
The Catalan capital has plenty of places to cozy up with your loved one and enjoy your drink of choice, be it a meaty Tarragona red or a café carajillo—the Spanish spin on Irish coffee. Lean your elbows on the marble tables of Casa Almirall, located in Barcelona’s gritty Raval neighborhood and founded in 1860, while nibbling olives and sipping the house vermouth on the rocks. Alternatively, share a bottle of cava at El Bosc de les Fades, a fairytale forest-themed café inside Barcelona’s Wax Museum off La Rambla. With its soft lighting and bohemian ambiance, Andú (c/Correu Vell, 3) is the perfect place to share cava and light tapas in a homely and intimate setting.
Carrer dels Banys Nous, 20, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
L’Arca, formerly known as L’Arca de l’Avia, specializes in recreating historical clothing, especially ball gowns and wedding dresses, but it’s a great place to pick up antique and vintage accessories like lace gloves, Spanish fans, and jewelry, as well as fabrics and housewares. Things here are beautiful, but far from cheap. Of course if you plan on attending a fancy dress ball or getting married, a dress from L’Arca would be an incredible souvenir...
Passeig de Picasso, 22, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
The calming sounds of trickling water, and the smell of cinnamon are the first things I notice when I walk in the door at Barcelona Aire. We’re attended right away by soft-spoken staff, who put on our wristbands--we’ve signed up for a scrub, and a massage and point us to the dressing rooms. They’re spotless, brightly lit and well-equipped with hairdryers, lockers, white terry cloth robes, water shoes, and even hair bands. Downstairs, uniformed staff line up to greet us and show us around. Clear waters are warmly lit under soaring masonry arches--it’s hard to believe this was once a warehouse. There are hot, cold, warm and salt baths, as well as a jetted pool and a sauna. But the spa circuit will have to wait, it’s time for our scrub and massage. An attendant helps me up onto the table for my scrub. It’s easy to lose track of time as I relax into the treatment. I’m almost asleep when I’m gently nudged and told it’s time for the massage. The full-body massages are in a semi-private corner away from the main spa circuit. Any misgivings I have about the privacy of the space are soon forgotten--my muscles have never felt so loose. Post massage, we lounge on heated marble benches sipping Moroccan mint tea, and grapefruit water before starting the spa circuit. Later on, we’re still not ready to face the outside world, so we sit for a while with cava and fresh fruit skewers, savoring the calm.
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AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
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