Insider Guide — In the heart of Barcelona the chill, bohemian life still rules supreme. Rad photographer and calle cat Crista Leonard shows us the best bits.

Crista Leonard is an ethereal photographer based out of Barcelona, Spain. Growing up in beautiful Andorra and specialising in dreamy, analogue imagery that transports you from your desktop to the mountain top or forest, Crista shoots for a range of brands – like Element, where she is also an Element Eden Advocate – as well as her own personal stories of journeys, adventures and experiences in rare locations.

We caught up with Crista earlier this year to get the lowdown on the best places to eat, sleep, party and chill in Europe’s skate Mecca.

What’s Good BCN?

by Crista Leonard


Grey Street/Satan’s Coffee Corner
Calle Peu de la Creu, 25, 12530
Barcelona’s coffee connoisseurs waited long and hard for a proper place to drink proper coffee. Luckily ‘Satan’, aka owner Marcos, answered our prayers and opened up his very own java den in the corner of Amy’s trinket shop, Grey Street, which is a little Aladdin’s cave of photos, tea, vintage threads, wrapping paper, magazines, mini animals and more. Now you can peruse the shop with coffee in hand. Genius.

Ciutadella Park
Passeig de Lluís Companys, 2, 08018
Ciutadella is a really beautiful park next to the Borne district, ten minutes from the centre of Barcelona. There are loads of rare plants and trees and a beautiful Nineteenth Century greenhouse. The alleys are lined with orange trees and to the back of the park there’s a statue dedicated to Neptune, the God of the Sea. The ideal picnic place.

Passeig Taulat, 278, 08019
Music enthusiasts will recognise Forum as the home of Primavera Sound, the annual music festival held in Barcelona to celebrate an eclectic mix of music and the excessive consumption of alcohol. However, Forum is without a doubt my favourite place to be when Barcelona gets too hot in the summer. It’s practically deserted so you can swim in the sea unaccompanied by the usual throng of tourists. Plus, it’s a really nice bike ride from the centre of town.

El Mundial Tapas Bar
Plaza Sant Agusti Vell, 1, 08003
Also situated in the El Borne district, Mundial has an edge on all the other tapas places in Barcelona. Always packed full of locals, the food is good quality and it’s pretty cheap. The decor is a mix of old boxing pictures, tapas and old lamps.

Joaquin Costa, 62, 08001
This Mexican and Indian ‘stuff’ shop sells all kinds of treasures from postcards, ‘Day of the Dead’ skulls, rugs, chairs and magazine racks to masks, bright pink plastic plates, glittery match boxes, Indian tea pots, vintage Chinese pin-up posters and much more. It’s amazing.

Betty Ford’s
Joaquín Costa, 56 08001
Betty’s is pretty well known in Barcelona for playing weird films in the background, putting on exhibitions, and mixing up some sweet cocktails. It’s pretty much where everyone meets before going on a night out.

Hotel Peninsular
Sant Pau, 34, 08001
Hotel Peninsular is more of a hostel hotel, but it’s cheap, basic and right in the centre of the city in the El Raval quarter. The rooms open out onto verandas that look onto a beautiful interior patio, which is full of plants and tiled in classic black-and-white checks. It’s absolutely amazing.

Stereo Bar
Nou de la Rambla, 119, 08004
Skaters rule the city, and this is one of the best skater-owned bars in Barcelona. Beers are cheap and super mega delicious.

Cafe and Gallery Cosmo
Enric Granados, 3, 08007
This cafe-cum-gallery showcases the best of Barcelona’s artistic talent. Next door they have their own print shop where you can print on a plotter at really reasonable prices.

Plaça dels Àngels, 1, 08001
The area around the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is a skate Mecca. It’s good for people watching, drinking street beers and sitting in the sun on long autumn afternoons.

About Arianne
Esquirol, 5, 08003
Arianne has single-handedly revolutionised hip feet in BCN with her leather shoe brand About Arianne. All her unique designs are made in southern Spain, and now she’s opened this adorable little shop on Calle Esquirol, or ‘Squirrel Street’ in English.

Check out more of Crista’s photography work on her website.