SIGHTS in Barcelona:
The smallest part of Barcelona lies between the old harbor and the Platja de Barceloneta. Ahead is just endless sea. Once upon a time, this used to be a very small fishing village. In the 18th century, however, a man arrived with a drawing table and he re-organised the area. That is why the area is full of two-storey buildings with a footprint modelled on a chess board. The beach of Barceloneta is the nearest to the city and therefore popular on a nice day. However, we still recommend it. Especially the proximity to the sea shows the high quality of life of this metropolitan. Tip: in the evening there is a lot happening on this promenade. A few night clubs, bars and restaurants are situated here. If you would like to eat fish ask the locals for their current restaurant recommendation.
The times where El Raval was avoided are definitely over. In previous times, there were many cheap and cheap-looking apartments that immigrants used to start off their lives abroad. Today musicians, sprayers and artists have discovered the beauty of the darkness that surrounds this area. As an example, the mestizo sound of Manu Chao was born here. After the opening of the three temples for contemporary art MACBA, CCCB and FAD, the area was upgraded and turned into a hot spot for tourists, creative and trendy people. Meanwhile, there are many trendy and hip bars and restaurants. Nevertheless, there are still some dodgy people, cheap restaurants and 24-hour shops that keep the area exiting and trendy. Tip: avoid the side alleys especially at night and if you are dressed smart.
Antonio Gaudí has left his characteristic footprint on many squares of the city. Give the eternal Sagrada family, where most tourists tend to queue for an eternity, a miss if you are short on time. Casa Milà, on the other hand, is a must-see. The building, which houses several apartments and business locations, was built between 1906 and1910, but still feels contemporary and modern. The fascinating building surprises with its stretching metal fence and sinuous balconies. The best part is the walk over the roof terrace. The bizarre and often photographed figures can be visited at midnight during the summer months. The walk on the roof and the view of the city at night are just unique.
SHOPPING in Barcelona:
Probably the sweetest shop in the world and a must-visit for people with a sweet tooth. The staff wears hats and headbands made of sugar only on the website and does not exclusively eat caramel sushi; however, these people are real artists with sugar. The colourful and tempting bonbons are presented in a stylish silver bag. Beautiful to look at, but they only last for a short time. Better to buy them in a jewellery glass or trial tube as this way, you get a lot more. The bonbons are funny and colourful but a lot more impressive are the lollipops and ring fingers. A sweet testimony to your love with an expiry date. At Papabubble they are now working with 30 different flavours; everything is colourful and wonderful!
Everybody in search of something special will make a find at Pinzat. For ten years, the creative heads behind the trendy label have worked on their ideas and a considerable range of products. The result: unique bags and backpacks made of vinyl, one of the oldest customary form of plastics. But don't think of stiff and grey plastic bags. The offer ranges from small, medium-sized to big bags which were designed by graffiti artists from all over the world. From motifs with flamenco dancers to landscapes - everything is possible and makes each and every piece unique. In order to guarantee a longer lifespan, the products are sewed twice and an additional strap enables you to wear your bag at the waist and attach it to your bike's handlebar. Also available: more vinyl pieces for the safe transport on your bicycle.
Duduá is not a shop but a network for artists that haven't made it yet. If you are a creative person then don't hesitate to take your work to the Duduá. Here, you'll find like-minded people that will not only share their opinion, but will also organise interesting workshops. If you prefer to watch rather than create then you are also in the right place: small art pieces, limited music, shirts, magazines and a lot of this and that with artistic flair. Careful: time just flies in this shop!
EAT in Barcelona:
What would Barcelona be without chocolate? Still worth a trip, we happily admit that. However, there still would be an elementary part missing to complete your happiness. We recommend whenever possible to take a break at a coffee house and eat a piece of cake and never ever to resist dessert in a restaurant. If that's still not enough than you should not miss out on Bubo?s. In this place sweets are treated like little treasures: chocolates, bonbons, chocolate cakes and cookies are displayed like jewellery in a show window. If you want to start nibbling straight away, you will be served coffee or champagne.
If you prefer eating at home with friends, you will feel comfortable in this restaurant with a living room atmosphere. The best part is that these friends cook amazingly well and certainly do not produce plain ordinary dishes. Try the fois gras with fresh figs, fried pigeon or tuna with tomato ravioli. This Catalonian kitchen is modern and affordable. The huge lamp shades and dark wood create a 80s ambience - without the disco though.
Silenus is a meeting point for artists and intellectual of the city to enjoy an extraordinary dinner. The restaurant hides behind a Jugendstil door and combines the comforts of a coffee house with an excellent gourmet kitchen. The creativity of the Raval area is mirrored in the beautiful food served in this place. Tip: Even though it tastes extraordinarily, make sure you leave some room for dessert. Every single item is a small piece of art that will that will lift you into chocolate heaven.
STAY in Barcelona:
Only 500 metres from exciting Rambla, in a small pedestrian zone of the old town, you will find one of the most charming hotels of the city. The building dates back to the 18th century and has 43 rooms and suites that create a nice family feeling. The rooms are not extraordinary, but are furnished low-key. Banys Orientals is a friendly alternative to top-end hotels and hostel. Double rooms are available from 99,75 euros per night
Altogether there are three of them. Two 987 Hotels are located in Prague, one in the historical centre and the other one is called Soho. The potential mix-up is intentional! The third 987 Hotel can be found in Barcelona, only a few minutes away from the Passeig de Grácia and the Sagrada Familia. From the outside, on the basis of the facade, the city's architectonic heritage cannot be missed. Several architects including the designer of the Barca stadium Camp Nou, Francesc Mitjans have jointly renovated the building in the course of the past century. Inside the 987 delivers what a stylish design hotel in Barcelona promises. Elegant wooden floors, pink light and eye-catchers like the mysterious glitter lamp and the plush chair in the entrance area. The 88 rooms in the Eixample hotel also play with contrasts: stuccoed ceilings and heavy upholstery give the suites a royal touch, colourful glass and matching accessories appeal to the design-oriented Barcelona visitor.
The five Rooms
Yessica had to have this apartment. But because of its 400 square metres, it was just a little too big for one person and so she decided to transform it into a small hotel. How you do that? You take 5 large rooms, furbish them stylishly and wait until a traveller magazine mentions it alongside the luxury hotels of the city. If you are staying at Yessica, it is like you are staying with a friend who is happy to provide you with all kinds of insider tips that you won't find in any guide book. Double rooms are available from Euro 135 per night