Barcelona + Ibiza

We’ve been back from Spain for about two weeks now and I’m still having withdrawal. We spent 3 days in Barcelona and 4 days in Ibiza, which was perfect to get a sense of both places. Read on for some of our trip highlights and recommendations!

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BARCELONA

We stayed at Casa Bonay in Barcelona and loved it. Casa Bonay is a boutique hotel with a focus on amazing design, very conveniently located in the center of the city. I’ll admit that their branding initially drew me in, but this hotel exceeded our expectations in most ways. The rooms were simple yet beautiful and we really enjoyed the complimentary breakfast served each morning (fresh breads, lox, eggs, and more). The hotel boasts a beautiful rooftop with a bar/bbq restaurant on one side and a private roof area for guests on the other. Even if you don’t stay at Casa Bonay, I’d highly suggest visiting Satan’s Coffee on their first floor. I’m still dreaming about the iced oat latte I had there!

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If you read any guide to Barcelona, you’ll likely find La Sagrada Familia at the top of the list. This unfinished Roman Catholic basilica was designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí and has been a work in progress since 1882. It surpassed my expectations in every way and we ended up spending nearly half the day there! You can purchase tickets ahead of time and have the option to go to the top of the basilica in one of the towers, which I highly suggest for the lovely views of the city. Just be prepared to walk all the way back down!

Interior of La Sagrada Familia.

Interior of La Sagrada Familia.

 
Tile detail at Park Güell.

Tile detail at Park Güell.

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We also visited Park Güell, an expansive park that Gaudí also designed. We were a little disappointed that the park was under construction when we got there, but the ornate tile work was worth the visit alone. We didn’t make it to the Gaudí House Museum which is on the park, but I’ve heard it’s amazing too!

 
Espadrilles from La Manual Alpargatera, Woven bag from Carolina Blue.

Espadrilles from La Manual Alpargatera, Woven bag from Carolina Blue.

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We only made it to a handful of the restaurants, bars, and shops on our list during our few days in Barcelona, but none of them disappointed. Here are a few of my faves:

FOOD + BEVERAGE:
Bar Jai-Ca: Small and cozy, authentic tapas
Lascar 74: Incredible ceviche in a casual setting (seriously, some of the best we’ve ever had!)
The Paella Club: Learn how to make traditional Spanish Paella in an engaging cooking class. One of our favorite memories from our trip.

SHOPPING:
La Manual Alpargatera: Pick up a pair (or two) of espadrilles from this family owned shop.
La Variété: Home and interiors shop selling handmade woven light fixtures + baskets, textiles, decor and more.
Carolina Blue: Another adorable shop with kitchenware, textiles, clothing, and more.
CLAY Concept Store: Luxury linens, rugs, ceramics, bath products.
Zara Home: Locations throughout the city. They don’t have any stores in the US yet, so I was geeking out.

 

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IBIZA

The Spanish island of Ibiza is actually known for its party scene—they have some of the best nightclubs in the world! But if you’re like me and that’s not your vibe, it is also the perfect place for a serene and peaceful getaway on the Mediterranean. The flight from Barcelona to Ibiza was an easy 45 minutes, and we picked up our rental car and headed straight to Can Domo to check in.

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If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you probably already know how obsessed I was with this place, but it was truly magical. Can Domo is a 17th century farm property that’s been turned into a bed and breakfast. It also has a Michelin-star restaurant that draws people from all over the island. There are only 8 rooms and they are each completely unique.

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We stayed in the “Domo,” which was an old storage structure previously used for the farm. It was gorgeous and comfy, and had a fully outdoor bathroom and lounge area behind the actual dome. If you’re looking for a place to unwind, disconnect (seriously, there’s no internet in the rooms), and relax this is the place to go!

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There are several beach clubs you can visit around Ibiza that offer sun-beds to rent for a day of lounging. Some are more chill than others, and we found Aiyanna to be a perfect setting. The restaurant was delicious and the beach was quiet and peaceful. Others that were recommended but we didn’t make it to were Experimental Beach and Amante.

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Ibiza Town is the capital and port city of the island and worth a visit (or several!). The streets are filled with restaurants, bars, shops, and buzzing nightlife. You can also climb up the Castell de Eivissa (Ibiza Castle) to find stunning, expansive views of the island at the top.

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The food and shopping in Ibiza rivaled anything you’d find in Barcelona. I was blown away by the unique, high-quality spots in such a rustic setting. These were our tried and true places:

FOOD & BEVERAGE:
Can Domo: A splurge for sure, but worth every penny if you’re into experimental, high-quality cuisine.
Mimi Pizza Bistrot: Delicious pizza in an outdoor garden surrounded by mountains. Try to go around sunset!
Sa Finca: Drive up the hill to this restaurant for wide views of Ibiza on their terrace and a classic menu with Dutch and French influences.

SHOPPING:
Sluiz: A magical warehouse-sized store filled with quirky items and beautiful home goods, many designed or made in Ibiza. Look for the circus (you’ll know what I mean once you’ve made it!).
Es Cucons La Tienda: Find furniture, baskets, rugs, clothing in more in this curated shop in Santa Gertrudis.
Can Vinyes: Look no further for woven bags — They have every shape and size at very reasonable prices. Located in Ibiza Town.

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For a little adventure, catch a boat out to Formentera, an island near Ibiza with sandy beaches and crystal clear waters. We bought a ticket for a day-trip with Formentera Explorer, and it included delicious paella for lunch (made on the boat!) and drinks. We stopped at a few different beaches to swim and relax before heading back to Ibiza.

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TravelChloe Heath