A great way to fall in love with Barcelona is from on high, with a drink in hand and the stance of an Olympic god or goddess looking out over all you see before you. And what better way to do that than to head up to these rooftop terraces and feel like you're in the heavens? As for the bill... put it on Zeus's tab.
In the Barceloneta neighbourhood, on the fourth floor of the Museu d’Història de Catalunya, you'll find a terrace that doesn't need to be too high up to give you one of the best views of the city you'll find. The restaurant's name refers to the year 1881, when, inspired by the construction of English ports, the building that houses the museum was constructed. The restaurant belongs to the Sagardi group of Basque-inspired restaurants, and their cuisine made with local, Mediterranean products. But what you're really after is the view, and the space presides over a great one of the port of Barcelona with Montjuïc on the horizon.
One of the oldest buildings in the city and one of the most emblematic spots in the neighbourhood of Horta-Guinardó, the Mas Guinardó Bar dominates the area from its height. This priveleged position made it useful to serve as a watchtower during the sieges on Barcelona in the 17th and 18th centuries. These days, following renovations, it's functions as a 'casal' – a type of community centre – for organisations in the neighbourhood. At the back is a terrace with a bar that affords you a fantastic view of the city that, if you're lucky, you can take in along with a bit of live music.
One of Barcelona's most centrally located hotels, the DO in Plaça Reial, opens up its rooftop terrace in the summer months. From June to mid-October, the rooftop bar offers up practically any type of cocktail you can imagine. The space itself is lovely, with a view of the rooftops of the Gothic Quarter that also lets you do plenty of people watching in the square itself. You've probably passed by and through Plaça Reial without ever seeing it from this vantage point before, so definitely take the opportunity when you can.
There are plenty of hotels with rooftop bars in Barcelona, and this is one you won't want to miss. The rooftop terrace at the Pullman Barcelona Skipper boasts the hotel's swimming pool and solarium, and the general public can visit too, sampling from their menu of tapas, sandwiches and drinks over a jaw-dropping view of the Port Olímpic, the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the landmark sculptures on the Barcelona seaside landscape, Frank Gehry's golden fish, created for the 1992 Olympics.
On the buzzing street of Passeig de Gràcia you'll find a singular rooftop terrace. Called 83,3 it's atop the Hotel Royal Passeig de Gràcia, and you'll find a dazzling lookout point that takes in the whole skyline of Barcelona. This impressive 360-degree view of the city will have you playing 'find the landmarks', as you search for the Torre Agbar, the Sagrada Família, the MNAC... And since the terrace is covered, it's open for business all year round for hotel guests as well as the general public.
The rooftop terrace at the Gallery Hotel doesn't have the best view of the city, but it makes up for that with what's on the menu at its restaurant, including plenty of meal and snack options, cocktails, and a vermouth set menu for two that costs less than €20. But the big highlight is the swimming pool, which you can use even if you're not a hotel guest. Ask for the menu options that allow you access to take a dip in this sky-high pool. Just don't forget what your mother told you about swimming after eating.
Don't expect to find sophisticated cocktails or DO wines here. In this park with an enormous pool presided over by a Chillida sculpture, there's a 'xiringuito' (outdoor snack bar, typical on Barcelona beaches) that will delight you especially in the sweaty summertime. In the shade, with a well-poured beer, a good book and a bag of crisps you'll be a working-class hero every warm day of the year. It's the perfect hideaway and of course features postcard-pretty views.
A few years back, some locals in Barcelona's uptown Sarrià neighbourhood got together for the preservation of the Castell de l'Oreneta park and to stop an urbanisation project there. The neighbourhood initiative had quite the raison d'être: the park is one of Sarrià's places of privilege. And there, surrounded by nature, is where you'll find Bellavista – Mirador Forestal, a xiringuito with a splendid panoramic view of Barcelona and El Prat, and with food to feed all appetites.
One of the city's hotels that has breathed the most life into its rooftop terrace is the Pulitzer, where, from May to September the afternoons are filled up with an exhaustive programme of music, including live concerts and DJ sessions, always accompanied by good food and drinks. When October rolls around, the sixth-floor terrace doesn't close down but instead reinvents itself, opening in the afternoons. When the weather turns chilly, the terrace opens on Saturdays and Sundays with a can't-miss combo of DJs, vermouth and snacks, and if you need it, blankets to snuggle down with.
On the eighth-floor rooftop terrace of the Cubik hotel you can get an impressive panoramic view of the city as you lounge around the swimming pool. Not only that, but the gastronomic offering at Atik includes tapas and cocktails that can keep you hanging out there until around midnight. You'll think you're in paradise, and find yourself exclaiming how beautiful Ciutat Vella is from up there.
If we tell you there's a terrace on the top floor with a 360-degree panoramic view, you'll know why this hotel made the list of the top terraces with views. What's more, they've installed binoculars so you can amuse yourself looking for buildings, parks and other spots around the city – maybe even the restaurant you're meeting friends at the next day. If you'd like to stay and admire the views a bit longer, you can also grab a bite to eat or have a drink.
This restaurant is located in a spot that gives you some of the most stunning views of Barcelona you could ask for. In the Nou Barris neighbourhood, near the Torre Baró castle, the Mirador de Barcelona ('mirador' means 'lookout point') lets you take in a panoramic view of the city whether you're sitting inside the restaurant or out on the terrace. You can order mainly from an array of set menus where based on grilled meats and, when they're in season, 'calçots' (a Catalan delicacy, similar to a leek, in season in spring). It's also a great place to go with a group.