Well, everyone says it but... Gaudi Gaudi Gaudi. All the Gaudi. So worthwhile. And beyond that... the AMAZING FOOD. And lastly... the gem that is the Parc del Laberint. Honestly, the best parts of Barcelona are by far the less touristy. But when is that not the case?
Antonin Gaudi may be one of my new favorite architects. His work is stunning, and there's just a sense that he's attuned to the importance of nature in architecture. From La Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila/La Pedrera, Casa Battlo, and Park Guell were amazing. My favorite was probably Park Guell because parks are always wonderful, especially in the middle of a distinctly urban city. Obviously, with such a popular architect, it behooves one to get tickets ahead of time, so be prepared.
My favorite spots were scattered around, which I think just means that all of Barcelona has wonderful gems of food.
El Poble Sec: Palo Cortao had the best olives I've ever had in my life, and an amazing eggplant dish that I wish I knew how to make.
Barceloneta: Somorrostro was one of the best meals I've had in a while, possibly better than some of the single Michelin star restaurants. I've decided that 2 stars is far more worth my money than 1, given the likelihood of truly amazing food.
El Born/La Ribera : Pastisseria Hoffman is one of the best pastry shops I've been to. Decadent and delicious, and not overly sweet. A great balance of sugar and butter. Mm mm good. El Diset was also not bad.
Parc del Laberint de la Horta
Finally. My favorite spot in Barcelona. A mere 40 minute metro ride from the city center. A world of beauty. So peaceful, so calm, relatively well manicured, with a stunning overlook. Really, you can't go wrong.