SHOPPING in Barcelona:
The decoration of the shop is very colourful indeed: green walls with red highlights and chess-coloured black and white tiles. The loft is as trendy as the hair cut you will get at this place. The exclusive young hairdressers also know exactly what to wear at the next clubbing event and they know where it will take place. If you ask them nicely they will be happy to share their insider tips. If it is just tips you need but no haircut, just go by for a head massage. Mmmh!
Happy tall day. That is the philosophy of the designer team that a few years ago started to transform everyday items into exciting home accessories. In Zeta a strainer becomes a lamp shade and an iron chair turns into comfortable padded armchair. The old-turn-into-new-principle is so successful that Zeta now offers an entire furniture collection. The waiting times for your orders are not long.
Probably the most famous fashion export Barcelona's is mainly one thing: colourful. The eye-catching prints are recognised by everyone who has seen them once. Famous people like Penelope Cruz, Antonio Banderas and Julia Roberts helped the brand gain international fame. Nevertheless, Custo's flagship stores are a rarity in Europe. Take the opportunity to shop in one of the three Custo shops in Barcelona and your friends back home will envy your purchases for sure.
SIGHTS in Barcelona:
Creativity has no place in the underground - not true. At least in Barcelona. That becomes perfectly clear when entering the 1,500 square metre large subway station Drassanes in Ciutat Vella. The walls are covered with white, glass-like light concrete elements that are pulled over the subterranean waiting zone like a second skin. The clean and open area seems very compact due to the evenly high walls and the enamel-like surface conveys the impression of already being in the subway. The lighting increases this impression. An that's what the two young Spanish architects Eduardo Gutiérrez Munné and Jordi Fernández Río wanted to achieve. Because to their mind, the subway itself is everything needed at this place. A special granulate material in the white floor provides for suspension of the vibrations. You should check this on the spot by all means!
The most favourite, beautiful, colourful and best market hall is situated right at the Rambla. The hall was rebuilt in 1914 and is as busy as any high street. Michelin star chefs mix with hobby cooks, housewives and tourists while shopping for their produce. The vegetables and fruits stands are vibrant with their colours and inviting scents. Make sure you take a fresh fruit juice on your journey. Careful: the choice is huge! The fish section is very impressive and the produce very fresh indeed. If you cannot stomach seeing fresh fish that's still moving, you should stay well clear. In addition, there is an irresistible offer of cheeses, sausages, sweets, olives and snacks, which can be eaten straight away. Hot tip: the small restaurants around the market are the place to go to enjoy a glass of wine with some very fresh tapas.
Yes, in Barcelona everyone knows what good looks like. Before Picasso's art was recognised in Paris, he celebrated first successes in Barcelona and built inspiring friendships with other artists. The museum is a must-visit for Picasso fans, while the building itself is very beautiful dating from the Middle Ages. Some of Picasso's early work up until the famous blue and pink periods as well as the studies of to ?Las Meninas' are exhibited here. The first attempts of the young Picasso are so fascinating and are bear witness of the genius that was lurking from within: at just 15 years of age, the artist created a huge oil painting of impressive realism.
STAY in Barcelona:
Don't be scared off by the name: If in the morning, you don't remember whether you are staying in a hotel or a castle, then you are in the La Florida. The grand hotel does not hold back with luxury and has been the accommodation of choice for the rich and beautiful. Service and rooms are top class since the early 20th century. A highlight is the generous private terrace that provides great views of the city. In addition, you'll have a beautiful spa area for relaxing. Double rooms are available from Euro 227 per night.
The urban Suites
These apartments are as beautiful as your apartment back home. Urban Suites offers 16 suites and 4 apartments in the lively Sants district. The best is that even the suites have their own kitchen. If you wish to have your breakfast coffee or cook a delicious dinner with all the tasty produce you bought at the market, you will certainly appreciate it. The community terrace invites you to drink one or two San Miguels in good company. Suite for 1-2 people with kitchen from 117 euros per night. Insider tip: book early or stay long.
No need for a spa, fitness room and hotel breakfast? Then perhaps an apartment is the right option for you. Inside BCN offers stylish apartments in El Born and Sants for everybody on a small budget: the apartment at the Carrer de Sants has 3 rooms and offers space to accommodate the entire family. Party people can get their short nights' beauty sleep in the king size bed of a studio apartment. If you are a business traveller, you just book a 2-room apartment and welcome your business partners in your living room. All apartments are fully furnished and are available for short or long stays. At the Sants Building, a studio costs 69 euros per night while a 3- room apartment is available from 150 euros per night.
EAT in Barcelona:
Vegetarians in Barcelona do not have a particularly difficult life. However, if you don't want to order what's the only vegetarian dish left on the menu but would like to have a choice from an entire menu, you should pay a visit to Venus Delicatessen. Every now and then you'll find a meat dish on their menu, but that is rather an exception. From Bulgur with vegetables to meatless lasagne - everything tastes so wonderful at Venus. In fact even your non-vegetarian friends will be happy to eat here. Additionally this is a perfect spot to watch the world go by as the entire window wall can be fully opened.
In July 2012 Albert Longán kicked off his restaurant Loft212 in Barcelona. The economic crisis has seized the country, unemployment rates are high. But in his restaurant business booms. The guests order tapas - including sushi - and drink Cerveza. In the kitchen Albert's son Daniel Longán creates Spanish bites with an Asian touch, he serves seasonal and regional cuisine for the main courses - from fish to meat (the latter is from the Valle de Cardener and therefore specifically tasteful). And all this embedded in the ambiance of New York lofts from the 1950s. The design comes from Carlos Martinez: bright and dark wood, whitewashed brick walls with black and white photographies, a mix of wooden and aluminium chairs at the bar - long, black, with a counter lighted in yellow colours. Quite comfortable indeed and therefore no surprise that the Spaniards love to spend their money here - for good food and good company. All crises aside!
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.