Do you know why I love blogging so much? Because one gets to meet absolutely amazing and very nice people. When I wrote Núria, a gorgeous blogger from Barcelona, a short comment asking her to give me some tips on where to go, I did not expect to find a long, professional travel guide with fantastic insider information in my inbox! It is so good, that I feel obliged to share it with the rest of you! Check out Núria's blog, she is just starting out and her outfits are as gorgeous as her pretty self :))
I (Núria) have made a little map of the center of Barcelona, where you can find some of the places I mention with numbers and interesting zones marked. Not all the things I talk about appear on the map, so I give you Barcelona's website, where you can find more information an better maps :)To situate you: down in the Ramblas, there's the sea; up, the mountain.
I don't know if you knew that here in Barcelona (Catalunya, or Catalonia ;) ) we speak Catalan - tt sounds like a mix of Spanish and French, with a bit of Italian. But be sure that everyone will answer you in Spanish or English! Don't be afraid to ask! All the names of the places I'm going to talk about are in Catalan, so it will be easier for you to recognize them. For better orientation: "Carrer" means "Street", "Calle" in Spanish; "Plaça" means "place, square". 1. Tourism -green on the map You must visit Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell designed by Antoni Gaudí, they are absolutely amazing! There are also other Gaudi's buildings that are a must-see, but you will be able to visit them while you make a little shopping tour in Passeig de Gràcia: there are the Casa Batlló (my favourite Gaudi's building) and La Pedrera. The Barri Gòtic (where I took the photos of my last post) and el Born, the neighboring district, really deserve an entire day. While there, you can visit The Cathedral, Santa Maria del Pi and Santa Maria del Mar (they are small churches). Near Santa Maria del Mar you can find Picasso's Museum, in a beautiful old palace, it's really great! But the real charm is in the streets! You can also visit el Palau de la Música ("The Palace of Music") a nice modernist building, with a lovely café - perfect for a capuccino! Another place that is a must-see is the Montjuic. It is a litle mountain in the middle of Barcelona, where you can also find the Barcelona fair. There is a castle and the Nacional Art Museum of Catalunya (MNAC)... Every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 19.00, 19.30, 20.00 and 20.30 one of the most typical shows of the city takes place - the Magic Fountain. It's a show with the bigger fountain of Montjuic (in front of the MNAC), lights and music... and it's free!
2. Plaça Sant Jaume, where there are la Generalitat (the government of Catalunya) and the city council
2. Shopping -red on the map The most commercial streets are Portal de l'Àngel and Carrer Pelayo, where you can find the typical cheap brands like H&M, Zara or Mango (they are a lot cheaper in Spain! and they will be in sales at the beginning of January!), Bershka, Stradivarius, Oysho... Then there is Passeig de Gràcia, where the most expensive brands have their boutiques - Loewe, Channel, D&G, Rabat...and there's also a COS shop! ;) For vintage shopping, there are shops in Carrer Tallers, where you will also come across many punk and gothic shops (FUNNY!). There's a Shop in Ronda Universitat called Humana (the red point) where you can find really cheap coats in great condition, even fur coats! And my favourite place, is, of course, the Barri Gòtic: in the Carrer de la Palla and Banys nous there are lots of wonderful vintage shops. I also recommend you to walk all around the zone between Las Ramblas and Portal de l'Àngel, and even down in the Gòtic (Carrer Avinyó, near la Generalitat has lots of shops and charming restaurants) and the Born: there are lots of litle shops full of amazing stuff!
3. Eating -blue on the map In Barcelona we have got a fast food chain called Viena ( ;) ) that I absolutely recommend: they have great products, yumi-yumi salads... so don't even think of going to McDonald's! Another option for healthy fast food is Wok-to-Walk, where you can choose the ingredients and they cook in a minute in front of you - that's your wok, to walk! (near the Generalitat) A great, really chic restaurant that I love is "El lobo", near the Ramblas, reasonable prices, great food and a really good ambient! But if you want to have a really good dinner, spending time drinking great wine and experiencing typical Catalan ambient, you must go to "Senyor Parellada", in the Born. They serve typical food and it is a very very very nice local - they charge reasonable prices, too. Or, if you can/want expend more money I absolutely recommend you "Els 4 gats": it is an old bar, turned into a lovely restaurant, where all the artists and bohemians of Barcelona used to meet (Gaudí, Picasso, Rosinyol, Albéniz, etc.). Lots of nights there is live music playing in the background (usually the piano), and the food is really nice.
Cerveceria Catalana / Taller de Tapas / La Dolca Herminia
4. Party -yellow on the map In Barcelona you can find lots of different ambients... To have a smart coktail, I recommend you "El lobo" - the same restaurant has a cocktail bar at night - or "Boadas", a really typical bar setted in the corner between Ramblas and Carrer Tallers, that is said to have the greatest cocktails in Barcelona. If you like the punk ambient of Carrer Tallers, there's a great rock club, with special shots for 1€, called Valhalla. The most popular discos are Apolo (in the Paralel, near Montjuic) and Razzmatazz(in Carrer Almogàvers, near the Marina metro station). They both have an indie/cool/modern ambient. I used to go to Razzmatazz... twice a month! You must remember, that here we've got a different timetable, so this discos open at 24.00 and do not close till 6 in the morning. If not interested in these, you can always walk down in the Ramblas, where lots of people will offer you flyers and make you discounts to enter pubs and discos. Guru, City Hall and Boulevard are OK! :D But drinking in Boulevard is very expensive, so it's better go to another place before.
If you have time, it's always a great idea to go for a walk in the Eixample: it's a district with a very tidied distribuition of the buildings, as a grid. It is the zone above Carrer Pelayo (or Pelai), at side of Passeig de Gràcia ( Carrer Provença, Balmes and Enric Granados are some of the nicests streets, and there are also some shops and lovely restaurants. If you like japanese food, in Carrer Provença there is one called "Hannagin" that is cheap and good!). If the day is not too cold, a walk near the beach and lunch in one of the typical sea restaurants of the La Barceloneta (The "fisherman" district) is a great plan. And, to have the best view of all Barcelona, you can go to Tibidabo, an amusement park in the top of the Mountain (you can arrive there with public transport), that you may remember of the film Vicky Cristina Barcelona of W.Allen.
Well, this is all! I hope you enjoy your visit and become a Barcelona lover as I am :)
If any of you would be interested in writing a guest post about your hometown (or the city you are currently living in or have lived in), write me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org! It's a wonderful chance for you to attract more traffic to your site and to help other stylish traveler's get around in your awesome city!