Barcelona is becoming increasingly popular as an engagement session (or as some call it pre wedding photoshoot) location for people from all over the world. Some of them take advantage of their holidays in my beautiful city to make different engagement photos from everyone else’s at home (best holiday photos ever too… just sayin’) while others fly to Barcelona for the sole purpose of taking these oh so special photographs. I have been lucky enough to meet couples from all over the world and play not only photographer but tourist guide/host to them as well on our sessions (you know how much I love raving about Barcelona… but in case you haven’t see my guide yet, it’s right here! :)) One of the things my clients always struggle with while planning their sessions from abroad, is where to do the photos and it’s always a tricky question to answer. In a city like Barcelona the choices are endless, we have the beach, the mountains, parks, beautiful modernist architecture and the list of places is literally endless.
I always encourage my couples to choose a location that is meaningful to them… they might not live in Barcelona but they maybe have dreamed of visiting the Parc Guell all their lives, so be it! Some of them love spending time on the beach, some of them like cafes and restaurants… you get the idea. While my job is to advise them, in the end they, YOU have to make the decision… so I decided to write this article to merely highlight my personal top 10 favourite places for engagement sessions in Barcelona with the hope it might help you choosing your favourite location for your shoot. I hope you’ll find it useful, inspiring or at least gives you the travel lust to come and visit… so here we go.
- Parc Güell (Gaudi’s Park)
Hands down my personal favourite location. This place for me encompasses everything that Barcelona is. Amazing views, Gaudi architecture, lush gardens and…. waaaaaayyy too many tourists. While I love this location and I shoot here very often, I do have to warn you that it’s not the least intimate so if you’re a bit shy and don’t like to hug or kiss in front of people, maybe another location would be better suited. If however you don’t mind a bit of waiting around between shots to find the perfect, empty bench or column to create some iconic photographs, this might just be the place for you!
2. El Barrio Gotico (the Gothic Quarter)
If I say 2 out 3 couples would like to shoot here I don’t think I am exaggerating too much. And why wouldn’t they? It’s the Barcelona of the postcards, little alleyways, romantic streets, cobblestone walkways, pretty pretty and pretty…. but wait! In this equation pretty equals busssssssy too!!!! While certain areas of the Gothic quarter are fairly unknown some others are buzzing with people and it’s literally impossible to take a photograph without anyone else in it, unless we go very early in the morning or on a national holiday! 🙂 During Danielle & John’s engagement session we got very lucky, it was a national holiday 🙂 If you don’t mind the buzz, the people and you’re happy to get lost in between them and maybe pop in to a few cute cafes and shops along the way too, it could be the perfect Barcelona lifestyle shoot!
My old barrio! Beach, colourful streets, palm trees, fancy bars, surfer dudes and skating paradise. If you’re looking for something more hip (dare I even say hipster), colourful and enchanting Barceloneta could be your place to go! Here is one cute little shoot as an example (also the second part of this one!)
4. Parc del Laberinto
Ah the labyrinth! This is a little bit of a secret place, or let’s say it was until all the barcelona photographers discovered it and started shooting there and thus spreading the news about it. It is a beautiful, huge, perfectly manicured park on the north of the city, off the beaten path. You do find pretty buildings, fountains, chic stone benches and oh well of course… the labyrinth, but while most of the other parks of the city can be overcrowded especially in peak season in the summer, the labyrinth park is virtually empty all year long. I’ve had about 5-10 sessions here in the last 4 years and not once have I met more than a handful visitors apart from us. If you like peace, quiet, romance and beauty I think you’ll like this place. (oh and the golden hour light here is JUST delicious). Here is the link to one of my favourite sessions from this beautiful place and here is my friend Esther’s beautiful little family also shot at the same place. The only negative I would mention that it’s not screaming Barcelona at you… so if you’re looking to show off that you were here, this might not be your jam.
A hop and a throw and a 30 minute train ride away you will find the quaint little beach town of Sitges, which has become a trendy little hot spot in the last decade for fun loving, Spanish architecture adoring beach bums (like myself! :)). Sitges is also known for being a popular wedding location, where I personally get to work a lot in the summer, so it’s only natural that it’s a fun place for a relaxed, beachy and beautiful engagement session too. Here is how Joan and Paul made Sitges look very cool.
6. Costa Brava
A bit of a bigger hop and a longer throw away you’ll fall in love with the little fisherman villages, dramatic cliffs and beautiful beaches of the Costa Brava. Just a little over an hour by car, but a truly mediterranean dream location for an engagement session.
I know if you think of Barcelona you don’t necessarily think of mountains straight away, but we do have them and quite a lot of them! One of my favourite, close to Barcelona hiking and marvelling spot is Montserrat….. if you’re an active couple loving adventure, big hikes, cozy blankets and dramatic ranges this could be the perfect spot for you!
8. Parc de La Ciutadella
I practically live in the Parc de la Ciutadella…… this is where I walk Marley every day, where I work out and go for runs, where I read books in the sun, there is hardly a day I don’t pass by so I know this not-so-well-known little gem like the back of my hand and would love to show you some of it’s beautiful spots as well… Dani and Claudia loved it too! 🙂
Similar to my number one Parc Guell, Tibidabo – majestically looking over Barcelona – provides an amazing viewpoint of the city and a beautiful vintage fun park to get lost in (remember Vicky Cristina Barcelona?). While it takes just a little bit more planning to get to, the views and atmosphere are so so worth it.
This little hill on the south border of the city might just be the most diverse but most underused location for photoshoots in Barcelona. The list of things to do here is very long…. there are the olympic stadiums, a horse riding staple, the magic fountains, a cactus garden and my personal favourite, the Poble Espanyol. I could write a long article just about Montjuic and why it is so beautiful, but my dear friend Google has all the pretty on it, so just consider it would you? 🙂 Here are a few images from Atsu & Nami’s engagement session party shot at Poble Espanyol.
You know I really thought coming up with 10 locations might be hard, but in fact I haven’t even mentioned the grungy cool Raval, the port, the forests around town, or even my favourite hotel roof terraces……. Choosing location is not easy but I hope this article has helped you plan your dream session in Barcelona! Good luck!