Many would say that Barcelona is “The Capital of the Mediterranean” – And the image this brings up is usually one of creative vibrancy through its amazing arts and culture scene, as well as being a great party city. But there is another side to Barcelona – Barcelona is a wonderful place for health conscious travel. If you are thinking about your next destination to visit or to live, why not make healthy plans in Barcelona and discover it for your Self?
As a travelling yoga teacher, healthy travel is probably the number one thing that I look out for when I plan a trip or long term stay in a city. Barcelona caught my eye from the very first visit and has now become a place that I continue to be inspired by!
Getting around Barcelona offers many healthy options
In many ways Barcelona feels like a big cosmopolitan thriving city – yet it isn’t so big that you have to rely on public transport constantly just to get from point A to B (even though this service is good here too). The opposite applies – This city is great for getting around by foot and bike – even by skateboard if that’s your thing!
It feels like the way that this city is put together makes it very accessible for this form of transport. There are plenty of spaces for pedestrians to stroll along the beautiful streets and a network of well-organized bike lanes across the city. The best thing about this is that it doesn’t actually feel like a chore to walk or cycle because there are plenty of gorgeous distractions that won’t make you feel like you’re actually working out at the same time!
Healthy travel tips:
- Take a pair of walking shoes with you: Most locals wear flat shoes or sports shoes throughout the year because of this.
- Take advantage of the many walking tours on offer: There is always a walking tour that will help you topic that you will enjoy – like culture, food, street art, wine tasting and more.
Fresh delicious food
If you like good food, Barcelona has so many choices for good quality fresh food, to cater to everyone’s appetite. All it usually takes to see the wide display of options is a trip to the local food markets. Along with the food market stalls, there are usually small restaurant spaces to sit and enjoy a meal as you shop around.
If you like to eat organic food, there are also plenty of spots to choose from - Organic food shops, restaurants and cafes are dotted all around the city too. You’re never too far from one.
Catalans celebrate their local food. One way you can see this is by going to festivals that are dedicated to food from across Catalonia. This is a great occasion to actually see the people behind the scenes (like farmers, wine makers etc) and buy or try their produce.
Healthy travel tips:
- Experience Catalan culture: Catalan cuisine (as well as culture and language) is in many ways different to the rest of Spain. To experience everything local and fresh, go to a local Catalan restaurant.
Vegetarian and vegan heaven
On the topic of food, did you know Barcelona has officially declared itself as a veggie-friendly city? If you are a vegetarian/vegan, this city is one of the easiest cities in Europe to find places to eat. Even if you’re not, the veggie food is so delicious here that everyone can enjoy it without missing out on something. Unlike other cities, the wide variety also suits everyone’s budget for healthy travel.
Healthy travel tips - For good quality veggie food at a good price, try these 5 restaurants:
Vegie Garden – Fantastic Asian food and juices.
Maoz Falafel – Get a great meal deal with falafel and a veggie buffet. This is great for take-away option as the place is fairly small for sitting down.
Dolce Pizza & Los Veganos – Who doesn’t love pizza? At a good price you have many vegan and vegetarian options. Not just for pizza too, try the other dishes. This is another take-away spot for picnics.
Woki Organic Market – A collection of places around Barcelona where you can buy organic food and also have a bite to eat. This offers both veggie and non-veggie options.
El Café Blueproject – A creative art space with organic raw vegan food. A great blend to enjoy a good coffee and cake.
Relax and unwind in nature
The beach is a great place to start! It is probably one of the main reasons people come to this city. However, I love that this city does not revolve around it… it’s a city that holds space well. This means, even during the colder seasons, there are way too many other exciting natural spots to explore. Unlike other beach cities, it doesn’t resemble a ghost town when Autumn/Winter kicks in.
The main park in the center is Parc de la Ciutadella. It is easy to travel to and it is always busy with life, no matter what time or season it is. It can get a little too busy sometimes, so if you’re looking for a spot to relax and lie down in the Spring/Summer, go early! The same can be said for the beach.
If you like a bit more space (like I do!), head to the other parks. My favourite is Parque del Guinardó where you can get some beautiful horizon views of the city, especially at the Búnquers del Carmel.
Healthy travel tips:
- Why not plan a hike and picnic? Mixing food with nature is a great way to really tune in to the relaxed energy of this city.
- Try an outdoor yoga and fitness class: If you’re walking around the parks or beach, you will most likely spot one of the many outdoor classes. If you like getting out in nature and keeping fit during your travels, this perfect!
Meet the health-conscious community – Events & Festivals
Barcelona has a great health-conscious community of yogis, fitness instructors, therapists and artists. The city is an ideal spot to thrive and be creative in this way. Along with this, there are always events taking place all year around to share and celebrate this. Enjoy!
Let me share a variety of healthy events and festivals to visit:
Barcelona Yoga Conference – This is one the main international yoga festivals in Barcelona, with teachers from across the world teaching
Festival Organic – A gorgeous hub of therapies, yoga, organic food and talks to keep you inspired!
Vegie World Barcelona Festival – This is where you will meet the vegie lovers in the food industry
Feria Vegana (Vegan Fair) – This regular event is a wonderful excuse to literally munch your way through the whole festival. Celebrate all things vegan!
Mercat Born Gourmet – A collective of people who are passionate about their food. They hold outdoor events where you can relax, have a beer and enjoy music.
Fira Per La Terra (Earth Fair) – At the beginning of spring, this outdoor event brings together everything that reminds me of natural living!
Now you're ready to travel well and stay healthy in Barcelona!
Tera Kaur is an African-Spanish life-long traveller and TCK (Third-Culture-Kid), growing up in different countries. Working as a yoga teacher and holistic therapist (Tera Kaur Yoga), she is currently based in both London and Barcelona. Healthy natural living and travel is her true passion and she loves to share this in her blogs OM Barcelona and Holistic Locs.