If Barcelona were a boyfriend, he’d be the guy who whisks you away on his motorcycle for date night, buys you flowers from the man selling them on the street, wines and dines you at a dimly lit bar, then kisses you effortlessly as he drops you off at the end of the night.
That is to say, Barcelona is very easy to fall in love with.
Go for the architecture and gastronomy, but stay for the romance.
Bring a Sharpie. And splurge for a lift ticket to the top.
As we walked down the spiral staircase, we found a nook where couples had scrawled their names on a wall. Nothing says romance like a middle school-style, his-and-her-names-inside-a-heart scribbling. 401 Carrer Mallorca.
Quimet Y Quimet
We bellied up to the counter of this famous tapas joint, where the competition for space gave the room a cozy feel. And competition for the chef’s attention, too: instead of ordering from a menu, we pointed to the ingredients behind the glass and watched him concoct a dizzying array of small sandwiches. C/ Poeta Cabanyes, 25.
Tucked in a corner of the Plaza Reial is the door to this somewhat secret jazz club. We rang a bell, walked up three flights of steps and were transported into something like an old black-and-white movie. We sat in the dimly lit lounge where we could still hear the concert in full swing a room away. Plaça Reial, 3.
There are beds in this bar in the El Born neighborhood, so we could lay down while sipping cocktails. Need I say more? C/ Banys Vells, 15.
At this informal restaurant in the mountains, we had one eye on the sprawling view of the city below, and one eye on the elderly couple dining next to us. We couldn’t help but notice when the husband helped his wife put on her coat after lunch. Chivalry is not dead, and neither is the idea of a long, leisurely lunch cooked on an outdoor wood-burning stove. Font del Mont, 4.
Hotel Omm, Terrace
We used our terrace to momentarily dial in to life back home. One morning when I woke up to this card on my pillow, I Instagrammed it so everyone could see how romantic my boyfriend is.
Looking in love.
Chiringuito Escriba (Barceloneta)
If I remembered my dreams, I’m sure one would involve sipping sangria and cooking paella with the man I love at a wooden-planked restaurant so casual it could pass for a crab shack in the Hamptons. Then we would dip our toes in the Mediterranean and pass out arm-in-arm on the sand. Ronda Litoral, 42, at Platja Bogatell.
Such was the day we celebrated our six-month anniversary: a dream.
Jamie Shupak is a contributor to Travelandleisure.com and a food blogger at TV Dinner.