EAT in Barcelona:
The small tapas bar pays homage to the traditional ancestral eatery where Catalonians meet to gossip while eating a snack. Tapas 24 is a modern variation that attracts young people from all over town. If you like lively and authentic places, you will enjoy spending time here. It does not matter if you show up for a coffee, a warm breakfast or a large portion of tapas. You can satisfy your hunger any time as the kitchen is open from 9 in the morning to midnight.
The combination of Bar Lobo/El Japonés includes everything that turns a restaurant visit into an event. The interior is very stylish, but still very comfortable. The people are cool, but very friendly. The food is creative and the offer is huge and colourful. Upstairs they show art exhibitions that change regularly, while serving delicious Japanese food in the evenings. Speaking of evenings: don't leave this place too early on weekends and enjoy a cocktail after dinner. At midnight the restaurant turns into a disco with DJs putting on music..
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.
STAY in Barcelona:
The grand building dating from the 19th century is situated on one of the most beautiful streets of Barcelona. In 2009, the hotel underwent a complete renovation and designers combined and contrasted details of the past with contemporary stylish elements. Elegance meets style, mosaic tiles mirror light installations, playful twirl contrasts with clear furniture design. The sum of those beautiful parts results in a charming boutique hotel. A highlight are the Jugendstill balconies, as most of the rooms have a view to the Rambla Cataluna. Would you like to experience a local habit? Then grab a drink and enjoy it on the roof terrace of a typical Catalonian inner courtyard. Small hint: There is one room overlooking the courtyard. Book it! It is the biggest and most beautiful room of the hotel. A double room is available from Euro 80 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.
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
SHOPPING in Barcelona:
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.
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!
Maria Pascuali and Monica Howe are two fashion designers based in Barcelona that gave Zsu-Zsa their ideas in the shape of young and exclusive fashion designs. One cannot describe their style, as both designers don't want to rely on a specific line or seasonal trend. One finds inspiration on the streets, in music, art, architecture and photography. The great thing about Zsu-Zsa is that these desirable items are affordable - especially in the sale.
SIGHTS in Barcelona:
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.
Parc Güell is very untypical for a popular attractions point for tourist as there are no costs, no waiting time and endless room to enjoy nature and culture. You should be thankful to Eusebi Güell that you can enjoy a beautiful afternoon in this park. The son of a wealthy Barcelonan family wished for a large leisure oasis, where Antonio Gaudí actively contributed the art displayed in the park. Gaudi in fact was so enthusiastic about the idea that even when the city decided to stop the work in 1914, he continued to further develop the park on his own. The result is an amazing mix of nature and art. One can spend hours at the park in peace. The only spot where you could potentially find a crowd of people is in front Gaudí's most impressive building.
The nice side of Place Reial is that you just can't get it under control. In this square, the Catalonian joy of life is celebrated day and night. It can become rather noisy here and only recently the locals took to the streets with huge posters to stop the noise at night. Admittedly, they weren't very successful. It is still rather noisy but somehow the sound has become nicer. The street musicians need to proof in a casting that they are actually able to play before they are allowed to perform on the square. Drug dealers have disappeared, as police officers take more frequent walks through the square. In other words, be it day or night, a coffee or a beer on one of the many terraces is always worthwhile.