Experience

The 10 most Instagrammable places in Barcelona

Picked by a resident who’s snapped everything

Gemma Askham | 19.10.2019

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Barcelona is one of those cities – no sooner have you stashed your phone away than something else amazing springs up to shoot. The Catalan capital is a magnet for the lens: surreal architecture that needs to be on-screen to be believed, winding gothic alleyways, pool-rimmed rooftops made for papping (plus two Soho Houses to pretend you’re not) – all served with palm trees and a side of golden sand. You’ll capture Barcelona best when everyone else is sleeping off last night’s cava; snooze, and you lose a shot without 17 other people in it, so make these the vital – and viral – ingredients on your hit list.

1/10
La Sagrada Familia

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@marta__sierra

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Elaborate, fantastical, other-worldly – you need a thesaurus to find the words to describe Gaudí’s masterpiece, or let a killer photograph do it for you. The façade is rich in interesting shots – all angular stonework and surprising bursts of colour – but the best composition comes from a small park facing the oldest side: perch on the wall in front of the pond (bonus Likes for reflections). Other notable snaps? Inside, where stained glass produces kaleidoscopic light patterns, or from the rooftop of the Ayre Hotel Rosellón – the best terrace, hands down, for Sagrada shots.

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2/10
El món neix en cada besada (the kissing wall)

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@cmiandrade

The city’s most romantic street art, which translates as ‘The world begins with every kiss’, was only supposed to be temporary. That was in 2014. From afar, it’s an 8m kiss; on closer inspection it’s actually a 4,000-photo mosaic – compiled after artist Joan Fontcuberta asked people to send him snaps of moments where they felt complete freedom. Once located (look for a small square opposite the cathedral), you usually only have to wait a couple of turns to get a solo shot in the limelight – well, lip light.

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3/10
Palau de la Música Catalana

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@pimtdao

If you like colourful mosaics anywhere near as much as architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner did, this choral music hall is like a double espresso for your eyes. From the street, it’s beautiful but hard to shoot – the light never quite works. Inside, however, it is magic. The auditorium is an explosion of roses, chandeliers and drama, while the shot is snapped among the patterned pillars on the terrace off Sala Lluís Millet.

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Barcelona has no shortage of photogenic food haunts: El Nacional for Art Deco interiors (even the loos are sexy), Eat My Trip for fantastic flatlays, Espai Joliu for coffee, cacti and, er, beards. But Baldomero is the one to snap now – a new, under-the-radar beauty of a lunch spot with pink walls, fresh flowers, a palm-y terrace and the warm vibe of your grandma’s kitchen.

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It wasn’t long ago that only locals knew about the epic panoramic cityscape from this old military bunker. Today, it’s an institution for anyone and everyone to clamber up with a bottle of wine or some beers and dangle perilously over the edge at sunset. For attempted serenity, see it at sunrise instead – take bus 22 from Passeig de Gràcia to Gran Vista, or walk 20 minutes up from Alfons X metro station. Brace yourself: it’s steep, but golden – literally.

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Whether you’re inside it or out, there’s no escaping how iconic the W hotel is on Barcelona’s coastline. Shot from Barceloneta beach, it’s like a giant, shimmering shark’s fin that towers majestically above the bathers and skateboarders. Though it’s the view from the bedrooms that really ups the Instagram ante – each room faces out onto the sea, providing on-tap access to the ultimate pastel-hued golden hour. Clear space in your camera roll.

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Despite the designer stores on Barcelona’s glitzy flagship shopping street, it’s Casa Batlló that will truly stop you in your tracks. Beautiful and bonkers, it’s been likened to Claude Monet’s Water Lilies – only with a dragon on the roof. Shoot from across the street for the best perspective. If you’re lucky (ie early), you’ll miss the crowds; if not, aim above their heads and you’ll hardly lose any building in the process. There are attention-grabbing shots aplenty within (particularly the blue stairwell) – but, surprisingly, no great rooftop views.

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8/10
The house with the plants

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@leafandlolo

If Lucky and Inés, the owners of this house covered in more than 60 plant pots, received a euro every time someone papped their front door, they’d probably be on the Forbes rich list. Their notoriety may not have been monetised (yet?), but their El Born address is widely considered the most Instagrammable house in the city – heaving with greenery in that beautiful, bohemian, artistically dishevelled way. And it’s super-easy to shoot as you stroll by.

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Not only found in Paris, Barcelona’s take on a city gate is just as impressive – standing tall and strapping, like a handsome bouncer on the door of the leafy Ciutadella Park. The chance of shooting it people-free is slim-to-none, but that’s kind of the point: capturing the street performers, the older generation playing bowls and the kids and dogs chasing bubbles blown from giant wands is what this pretty pedestrianised area is all about.

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If you want a one-stop shop that’s going to give you the most Insta bang for your buck, it’s Montjuïc. This hill is home to myriad attractions, giving you film fodder for days. There’s the stunning MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya), which sits, palace-like, at the top of a view-rich staircase. Plus a cable car, a botanical garden, a castle, a swimming pool with an insane cityscape (search: Piscina Municipal de Montjuic), plus a very IG-friendly cactus garden called Jardins Mossèn Costa i Llobera. One thing: pick the shoes that feel comfy all day, not the new ones that pinch walking across your hotel room.

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IMAGE CREDIT I SHUTTERSTOCK

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