By Regina W. Bryan in Barcelona—
You want to take something home to ma and pa from your amazing trip to Barcelona. But what? Here are some ideas to replace the shot glass, refrigerator magnet and cheesy t-shirt.
1. For foodies
Dad loves to cook? How about some Spanish spices to go in his next attempt at paella or tapas? Grab some saffron, red bell pepper powder (called “pimenton,” better if it’s “smoked” – try the Carmencita brand) at the grocery store.
A small jar of “all i oli” is fun, as is a bottle of the very local and very tasty “Salsa Espinaler” which is good to put on potato chips and canned seafood. I’ve also given specialty olive oil as a souvenir which is easy to find at any market.
2. More food
If you have a bit more space in that bag of yours, then an actual paella pan could be a nice souvenir. You can get one (they come in all sizes) at many stores around the city. They’re not too expensive, but they are fairly heavy. To make the “all i oli” that goes with your paella or fideuá, grab a typical Spanish mortar and pestle. Again, this is not lightweight as it’s made of clay.
So you want the t-shirt? Fine! Honestly, I’ve given t-shirts as souvenirs many times, but unique ones (not your typical “I Love BCN” or “My sister went to Spain and all I got was this stupid shirt” sort of thing).
To be truly from Barcelona the shirt should not depict a bull, which is a Spanish symbol, but show a donkey. Yes, a donkey. This is the symbol of Catalonia and you’ll see all sorts of paraphernalia around town with donkeys, from bumper stickers to hats. I recommend Despistarte for one-of-a-kind shirts made in the city.
4. Cultural gifts
For your artsy-fartsy Aunt Jane head to any of the Laie book shops. Laie runs many of the museum gift shops around the city and most of them have eclectic selections of books, goodies and art. I’m not always a fan of gift shops, but Laie is different. The one at the Caixa Forum (which was one of Barcelona’s FREE museums until it started charging admission in 2013) and downtown on Pau Clais are two to look at.
It can be tough to pick music out for some people, but if you know someone who loves new tunes or Spanish music a CD could be the way to go. FNAC on Pl. Catalunya has a huge selection. For something more local visit any of the independent music shops on Carrer Tallers right off Las Ramblas. I recommend Love of Lesbian (local Barcelona band – Indie), Joaquín Sabina (sort of folk-classic and well-known), Maria Coma (local, sings in Catalan) or Concha Buika (flamenco jazz).
Extra tip: No wining
I don’t recommend bringing wine back on the plane (ask your local wine shop guy to explain all the reasons). Drink it up while in town, but skip bringing it home.
Also in our guide: If you’re still hunting around for an affordable place to stay while visiting the city, make sure to read our reviews of the best budget hotels in Barcelona. Each has been visited, inspected and reviewed by our Barcelona-based editor.