A City for Everyone: Barcelona

Arguably one of Europe’s most relaxed cities, Barcelona is trendy and edgy without even realising. With a eclectic blend of punks, hippies, skaters and a haze of tattoos and piercings; Barcelona is a city teeming with the coolest looking people you will probably ever see. What’s more is that the people of this city are friendly, warm and most enjoy the chance to speak English with us tourists, which is never a bad thing. Our Spanish practice normally comes after a few drinks when we think we are fluent. We probably aren’t…  Barcelona is in a different league to the tourist occupied beaches of southern Spain so if this isn’t your thing, come north! This city is a never ending adventure of things to do and people to meet. However, as with most big cities, it is also important to be careful. Pickpockets will be everywhere you go, you just have to be aware of it. Having been robbed in this city myself (two passports, all cards: trauma), it has not stopped me from enjoying it again and again, just with a more alert mind regarding my belongings and the surroundings I am in.

Barcelona is owner to some of the most stylish bars in Europe as well as one of the largest nightclubs, Razzmatazz. Situated on the Carrer de Pamplona, this insanely big club has five areas, all with a different style of music on offer. There are relaxed rooms upstairs with easy listening while the warehouse style main room is where the heavy music revelers are to be found as well as some of the biggest names in music. There is a machine that dispenses Burger King burgers (Mmm?!) and there are rumours circulating about a room made of just one massive bed….Be aware that it is almost guaranteed you will get lost in this place and do be careful !

Off the left-hand side off La Rambla there are countless bars, one of my favourites is Nirvana, this bar has a relaxed vibrant atmosphere in a small space. There are extreme sport videos on in the background and they give you free popcorn. What more could you want! Well, if you do want something a bit more stylish then head to the beachfront. Carpe Diem is one of the most beautifully decorated restaurant and bar in the city. There are beds that you can drink your cocktails on that are decadently embellished with Moroccan and oriental inspired cushions, drapes and carpets. A very stylish nightclub comes out to play in the evenings and a view of Barcelona’s beach just strides away doesn’t hurt either. A bit further down the beachfront is Barcelona’s Ice Bar, an expensive experience but it is really worth it. Especially if you visit Barcelona in the crippling August heat! The ice bar itself is a containment inside the main bar, there is a time limit in which you can stay in there which is fine because you can only stand so much anyway. Everything is made of ice – the bar, the walls, and, if you order a spirit, it comes in a block of ice! Coats and hats are provided. It is definitely an experience you will remember. Towards the bottom of La Rambla on the left hand side you will find Bosc de les Fades, or, in my mind, THE FAIRY BAR!!!! This bar is one of the most amazing places, there are trees and a little stream inside the bar and everything looks like a fairytale. Seeing is believing! It is expensive though so maybe just for one or two drinks! They also serve lunch type food and tea/coffee. If nothing you have read so far tickles your fancy head to the the trusty Irish bars dotted around the city, cliche but they are always good fun. The Shamrock situated at the top of La Rambla on one of the right hand side streets (good directions, I know) has a fun and lively atmosphere in the evenings. It is also in the middle of all the vintage retro shops that occupy that area, worth a look.

Restaurants are plenty in Barcelona. Finding the good ones can be a bit tricky and it is worth looking up places before committing to somewhere, spend that holiday money wisely because when you do find something good, you will know. Can Cullerates is known as the oldest restaurants in the city, established in 1786. The decor is traditionally Spanish; white and blue tiles dot the walls, there are high ceilings and the tables are impeccably set. It is beautiful and so is the traditional Spanish fare. Los Caracoles is the place you will pass about five times on a side street and notice the roast chickens on a spit in a window display without realising it is a restaurant. Do not skip it, the place is absolutely massive on the inside and the hum of the all male Spanish waiters and families that occupy every inch of this restaurant will make you feel right at home. The chicken is also amazing. Taller de Tapas is the best tapas restaurant I have experienced in Barcelona – try the chorizo in sizzling cider and you will see for yourself. The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueiria has an entrance on the left side of La Rambla and is a must-see. Skip your hotel breakfast and come down here for a punnet of raspberries and a juice amidst the chaos of market life – cheeses, cured legs of different meats, sweets, fish and fruit create an lively atmosphere you won’t want to miss.

Other than food and drink there are countless things to do in the city. Who knew? For culture junkies head to Parc Guell, situated in the Grácia district of Barcelona which was designed by Gaudi between 1900 and 1914. It is colourful, vibrant and is a great haven from city life. It also has the best views of Barcelona city on offer. Sagrada Família is one you don’t want to go home and say you missed, the sheer size of it as you approach on the bus is mind blowing. Inside, the architecture is beautiful and so worth a trip. The Salvador Dalí Museum is situated in the artist’s hometown of Figueres, about 3 hours north of the city by train. The building itself is renowned as being the largest surrealist object in the world. The museum contains countless astonishing, brilliant and surreal works of art such as the 3d Mae West portrait among countless others.

Mt. Tibidabo is situated near the Parc Guell overlooking the city and has the most adorable vintage style theme park, completed with amazing views and pink candy floss! Barcelona zoo is an ideal day trip for families, it is also situated beside the Parc de le Cituadella which has a lake where little row boats can be rented out, very romantic! Down at the beach catamarans can be booked for a day trip on the calm sea surrounding the city. If you are a beach bum and the idea of a city break does not appeal to you then take RENFE and head north, hopping off at whichever amazing beach takes your fancy!

Barcelona is a city that is perfect for everybody; families, couples, friends, city lovers, beach lovers, food lovers and art/culture lovers. I think Barcelona is overlooked often as a city break in favour of perhaps more romantic cities such as Paris, Rome or Venice and I hope this has proved it shouldn’t be!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: