Well known as a cosmopolitan city with its own beach, it´s a great destination for lovers of architecture too. The choice of restaurants and shops is vast. The city is also an important cruise ship destination. It became more popular as a tourist destination after the Olympics in 1992.
If you are lucky enough to head to Barcelona on a business trip or city break, here a few tips for you. I lived in Barcelona for many years and continue to visit the city a few times each year. The mild climate and vibrant atmosphere of the city make it one of my preferred places to spend a weekend.
If you want somewhere with a view, check out Agua o bestiary which are both practically on beach. (Metro Vila Olympica- yellow line)
If you want to taste typical Catalan food. Then head to El Mussol. (The name is the Catalan word for Owl) They have several restaurants around the city. Good quality food and good price vs. quality.
For more contemporary dining choices head to one of my favourites for originality Semproniana in the Eixample district or try El Pla for its offering of local market food, this is not far from Jaume I metro stop.
For drinks or snacks you can´t beat the emblematic Cervecería Moritz. This Barcelona beer factory smells wonderfully of cereals as you approach it. It has a funky shop on site too, selling everything under the sun with their yellow retro label on it. They have different areas for food, drinks, tapas, shop. You can even tour the factory if you have enough free time.
Another must see although quite touristy is the Bosc de les fades on a side street just off the Ramblas. Please be extra careful around Ramblas area and Plaza Catalunya unfortunately pick pockets are rife in this area. They easily spot people with a map, chunky camera or shiny iphone.
Somewhere glamourous to have tea or coffee is the Café Vienes. This is located in the Hotel Casa Fuster. I adore this place. Sumptuous red velvets chairs in a modernist building in Barcelona´s Gracia neighbourhood
If you have time for Shopping at the top of Avenida Diagonal the Corte Ingles Diagonal is one of Spain’s best. They have an excellent range of designer brands and cosmetics. Also on Avenida Diagonal is L´illa shopping centre. In the basement they have a high end food market and some noodle bars & eateries for casual dining. If you prefer alternative or independent boutiques, then best to head over to the area around Paseo el Born.
A very handy beauty contact to have in Barcelona is Masajes a 1000 on Calle Mallorca. They are open 8am til 11pm for waxing, massages, pedicures, hairdressing etc. The benefit is that they are open every day of the year, as well as being reasonably priced. You don´t need an appointment!
Molly Sears-Piccavey was originally from Nottingham but has lived in Spain since 1998. Initially she moved to Barcelona and was there for over eight year. Now she lives in Andalusia, Southern Spain.
Her natural environment is in the Corporate world. She uses her spare time to read and travel. She also keeps a blog updated about life in Spain: www.piccavey.com.
Molly speaks fluent Spanish and English as well as some French and Catalan.