Top 5 Facts about Dining Etiquette in Barcelona

Top 5 Facts about Dining Etiquette in Barcelona

It is almost impossible to get through traveling anecdotes without a tale involving food, whether it be tried and tested dining experiences or perhaps daring attempts in quirky cuisine. While it is a no-brainer to figure out the signature or hallmark dishes of Barcelona, it takes a great deal of consciousness to avoid making light of dining etiquette that could either make or break your dining experiences in Barcelona. 

Here are 5 top tricks for you to try local cuisine AND eat like a local too.

Master the language of knife and fork

Fear not. You are not alone. Getting caught in an awkward situation where you have to make a decision between raising your hand for assistance and serving yourself is a universal experience we all face at some point in time. Such encounters are especially prominent overseas, so picking up the universal language of knife and fork would be handy in getting your requests across. The last obstacle before you can safely exit the restaurant and conclude a successful dining experience would be to ask for the bill. As daunting as it may sound, you must take a leap of faith. Elevate your hand in the mid-air, and let por favor slip off your tongue while signing an imaginary cheque in the air. The waiters should be able to get the hint.


Freedom to Tip

Unlike other European cities, tipping in Barcelona is definitely not mandatory. That being said, tipping is not prohibited and it could be a splendid way for you to show your appreciation of an excellent service. To tip moderately, it is perhaps wise to round off your bill to a whole number, for instance, pay 20 euros if the bill reflects 19.20. For travelers that are on tight budget, you would be relieved to learn that in certain instances such as coffee order and menu del dia, tipping would be considered unnecessary. You are then free to save those few coins for a wish at the nearest wish fountain.

Wait and Watch

While it is not uncommon for travelers to receive invitations to local’s homes, committing a faux pas and driving your hosts up the wall is the last thing you want to do. A usual dining setting involves having the most honored member of the family to be seated at the head of the table, following by the most important guest situating on the right of the host. To err on the safe side, we suggest that you hold your horses and wait till most of the members to be seated down before filling in that vacant seat. Having a small gift like chocolate or wine would definitely put you in a good light as an exemplary guest.

Linger to mingle

If you are being brought up in an environment that prioritizes efficiency over anything else, and living by the principle that every second counts, you might find this teeny-weeny act a challenge. That is to stay put after you are done with your meal. Sobremesa, which literally means ‘over the table’, is the time spent after a meal to hang out with family or friends through the engagement of small talk. To do otherwise would be considered as rude and ill-mannered so you may want to start hitting the books, and read up on 101 ways to hold a meaningful conversation. Alternatively, refer to tip #5 to learn how you can master the art of conversing within a meal’s time.

Learn from the local themselves

The list above is certainly not exhaustive, and what’s a better way to acquire those dining etiquettes than picking it up from the local themselves! Dine away with local hosts in Barcelona simply by picking an experience from seafood barbecue with Nani to a sensory dining experience-dine in the dark with a local host, Pablo. Dining with the locals offers opportunities for you to get an insider’s guide of how to enjoy Barcelona. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous and hands-on, why not try learning the steps in crafting and customizing your very own Tapas with Yves.

The existence of dining etiquettes would no doubt make a huge difference in your dining experience. Hopefully, these tips will be helpful when taking the extra mile in creating a pleasant dining experience. Bon Appétit! 

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5 Handy tips you must know if you are solo travelling in Barcelona

5 Handy tips you must know if you are solo travelling in Barcelona

Home to 9 UNESCO world heritage, it is no surprise that Barcelona welcomes 7.8 million globetrotters from all around the world as of 2014, and proudly acclaims its rank as the top 5 European countries to travel to. For thrill seekers who are planning a solo jaunt, Barcelona promises an adventure of self-discovery and self-indulgence that offers much liberation. To soften any turbulence during your expedition, here are 5 tips that are pulled together to make your trip a smooth sailing one.

1. Be accountable for your own safety

Armed with bulky luggage and disoriented in a foreign land, tourists make easy bait for quick theft. To counteract such unwelcomed guests to your pockets would be to plan well ahead your arrival. It is definitely recommended to schedule your arrival at a new location before the night falls so as to give yourself ample time to navigate your way to the accommodation and deposit your baggage. Also, while it is not uncommon that solo travelers are constantly on the lookout for cheap thrills, never risk your safety while practicing frugality. Flag down a cab if it is pitch dark to make sure that you are safe and sound for exploration the next day. 


2.  Be alert and instinctive

Instead of veering off from famous tourist attractions like La Sagrada Familia or Las Rambles that are hotbed for thieves, read widely on prevalent scams and pickpocketing techniques so that you are regularly in check for your valuables. It is always a wise decision to decentralize your money and place them in different compartments to avoid putting all eggs in a basket. There is no better advice than to listen to your instinct and intuition. If you feel that something is amiss, switch to safer routes and be constantly in the public. After all, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

3. Be solo but open to travel companions

While solo travelling does have its perks, having a travelling companion in your solo trip may be equally rewarding! Finding a travel companion would be a breeze if you are staying in hostels where virtually every person you see is a travel enthusiast and would hop on to any impromptu plan that makes a great addition to their to-do list. Another alternative channel would be to partake in bond activities that bring travelers together, providing a platform for you to mingle and share travel hacks with.

4. Putting on a disguise

Looking fancy is probably something you are not interested in if you are on a solo sojourn, and we suggest you swap those ritzy wallets and Swarovski phone cases to battered ones to lessen it as a target for wallet lifters. In addition, having a phony phone conservation on the cab with ‘somebody’ explaining your location, your estimated time of arrival as well as the car plate license would easily create an illusion that you are accompanied.  Acting as an effective protective measure against ill-intentioned cab drivers, you can be pretty sure that you will arrive at your designated location in one piece.  

5. Worry a little less, enjoy a little more

Perhaps it is your first attempt in embarking on a solo jaunt, and you are in a bundle of nerves. Instead of preoccupying your mind with scenarios and coming up with 101 ways your trip could go wrong, sit back and relax! As much as you have to be cognizant of your surroundings, tap on your identity as a solo traveler and take advantage of solo benefits! One of the luxuries is to be flexible with your itinerary and travel on your own terms, you can even abandon certain sightseeing spots for an afternoon coffee break. It’s your call!

Being a solo traveler is really a privilege that not everyone gets the chance to enjoy, and you certainly do not have to wait for someone to bestow you that entitlement. As the saying goes, ‘Travel is the only thing that you buy that makes you richer’. What are you waiting for? Start packing your bag and take a leap of faith! I promise you that you will not regret it.






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A Family Friendly Barcelona

A Family Friendly Barcelona

Traveling with kids is no easy task. Not always fascinated by stunning architecture or the variety of Tapas and Cava available, Barcelona might seem like an unlikely place to bring your children to for a family holiday. However, Barcelona definitely has more to offer than just architecture and food, that is suitable for travelers of all ages. Here are six activities that can keep both you and your little ones entertained.


1. Tibidabo Amusement Park

The Tibidabo Amusement Park is a must go for families with children. With 25 rides like classic roller coasters and even a haunted mansion to discover, great shows and street theater performances, the Tibidabo Amusement Park promises a fun-filled time for family members of all ages. Plus, get a bird’s eye view of Barcelona on the Giradabo, a Ferris wheel in the park’s Skywalk area. Less than an hour away from the city center by public transport and shuttle buses, the Tibidabo Amusement Park should definitely be visited with your entire family.




2. CosmoCaixa

Why not pay a visit to one of the largest and most exciting museums in all of Spain? With an endless amount of interactive exhibitions that include an exhibition on how sand dunes develop and move, by making your own sandstorm, and there's even a planetarium to explore! Definitely do not miss their 1,000 m² jungle greenhouse which is home to 30 m tall trees from the Amazon, and you can even see animals from the tropics, some of which are even free-roaming! There is certainly bound to be something for everyone in this museum, both children and adults alike.



3. Visit the Aquarium

With 35 different tanks, 11,000 animals and 450 different species of marine life to discover in Barcelona’s L’aquarium, it is definitely an attraction worth visiting for all families. Spend an afternoon in awe, traveling through an underwater tunnel 80 meters long, playing "finding Nemo" with your kids, and observing the myriad of ocean creatures that call one of the largest oceanariums in all of Europe their home. The L’Aquàrium de Barcelona is definitely a must go for a fun family day out.


4. Visit the beach

A trip to Barcelona is not complete without visiting its prized beaches. Enjoy the sun and sand with your little ones as you bask in the glorious beaches of this coastal city. You can even have a picnic day by the beach, with lots of space for your children to run around and play. The best part? You do not have to travel hours upon hours out of the city to have some fun in the sun, with the Barcelona beach only being a mere 20 minutes away from the city center by Metro! 


5. Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is a stunning musical display of colored lights and water acrobatics, that come together to produce sheer magic. Just minutes away from the Espanya metro station, the magic fountain is certainly not one to be missed when you are in Barcelona. Both your kids and yourself will definitely be in for a treat as this visual spectacle is one of the most visited attractions in all of Barcelona.  It should be noted that the fountain does not operate on Mondays, Tuesdays or Wednesdays, and show times vary throughout the year.


6. Take a Cooking Class

Expose your children to the culinary wonders that Barcelona has to offer by taking a cooking class! Get their hands down and dirty through an interactive cooking class that engages both you and your children, while learning about the culture and cuisine of Barcelona. Your young ones will surely have a blast making and eating the delicious food, that they helped to make. Many of our BonAppetour hosts offer cooking classes, like David, who will teach you how to make Paella from scratch! This is certainly a great way for the whole family to learn more about the city, while having delicious and authentic food, straight from a local's kitchen. 

Barcelona is definitely not a city just for adults to enjoy, but for the entire family as well! Hopefully, these tips have helped you plan a fruitful trip to Barcelona. If you think that we missed out something important, do let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear more about your plans to travel to Barcelona.

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