Monday, 12 December 2016

A guide to Barcelona

Barcelona is the perfect place for a long weekend away in the sun. It is a charming and vibrant city rich with culture , art, music , food and shopping.

Where to stay
Barcelona has an eclectic mix of luxury hotels , boutique hotels , modern budget hotels plus a great selection of places to stay through Air bnb. We stayed in an apartment just 150 metres from la rambla in a little street called `passatge del rellotge`. The building is old with traditional spanish decor , the apartment itself is modern and super spacious , it has 2 bedrooms with double beds and 1 bathroom. There is also a sofa bed so the apartment can sleep up to 6. The kitchen is really spacious and has beautiful doors that open out to a view of the courtyard below.
The apartment is in a fantastic location right next to all the main bars and restaurants on la rambla and if you turn to your right when you exit the building you can explore bars and shops in the old towns cobbled streets.

The booking website for the apartment we stayed in is under construction at the moment but you can find out full details by emailing Pancho , Pancho looks after the apartments and will be able to confirm availability / send you a quote via email , email pancho@therooftops.net to book your stay . After a date and price is confirmed you just need to pay a small deposit then the rest on arrival in Barcelona. Pancho will greet you on la rambla when you arrive and guide you to the apartment.
http://www.therooftops.net/

Beach & Marina
The beach makes the perfect place to cool down in the hot summer months. It does get really busy so it is best to go early in the morning or late in the afternoon, most people bring their own towels rather than renting beds but there are a few available . From la rambla it is a 10-15 minute walk to the beach.

In the marina you will find some fantastic restaurants from the restaurant group Moncho's. They offer delicious fresh seafood in their restaurants near the marina, it is the perfect location to stop on the way back from the beach for a light meal and drinks. View the menus and book online through here  http://www.monchos.com/en/home



Food
Barcelona is a foodies paradise. If you want to sample some fresh local produce head to Boqueria market , find out more info on the market here http://www.boqueria.info/index.php?lang=en .
In the local food markets you will find an array of cured meats , vegetables , fresh seafood and a fantastic selection of spices for a fraction of the cost that you would pay in the UK. Amongst the food stalls there are small eateries and bars which are perfect for a quick bite to eat.

If you are staying in a self catering apartment a great idea is to buy your own ingredients and try cooking some traditional tapas recipes!
As you explore around the city stop along a few bars along the way to sample a couple of tapas in each place , it is a great way to try out a wide variety.
It can be frowned upon to order a lot of tapas in one sitting as the Spanish reccomend that 1-2 dishes are best enjoyed as a snack with a drink. In one restaurant we visited the waiter was adamant that we could not have more than 6 tapas between four of us but this may have been the personal preference of the Chef there.
Lots of bakeries offer a wide range of deli snacks , fresh loaves and cakes , one bakery worth checking out during your stay is Baluard  http://baluardbarceloneta.com/.



Montjuic Castle
Montjuic castle is an old military fortress situated high above the city of Barcelona. It offers some of the best views of the city , it also houses a military museum and some beautiful gardens.
You can walk up to the castle but it is very steep!! Alternatively there is a tram followed by a cable car that will bring you there directly.

Sagrada Familia
The Gaudi landmark is a must see if you are visiting Barcelona. Six new towers are being added at the moment so there is some construction going on although it does not detract from the experience of seeing the beautiful interior and detailed exterior. It is best to arrive between 8 or 9 am before the queues build up.
Nightlife
We visited the re-known club Razzmatazz on our stay , the club is huge and compromises of 5 clubs in one so it definitely suits all tastes of music! The drinks are cheap and the atmosphere is good , its worth a visit and makes a nice change from the bars of the city centre after a few days.
It is located outside of the city centre , you can walk within 20-30 mins from la ramblas but I would advise getting a taxi if it is late at night.

Parc De La Ciutadella Park & Zoo
The central park is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It boasts some great spots to eat , a zoo , fountains and a lake where you can rent a boat for an hour.

The Gothic Quarter
This is a great area to wander around , it is filled with lively tapas restaurants , independent boutiques and patisseries .
Art
You will find Gaudi's architectural wonders across the city , find a full guide here https://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/gaudi/barcelona-gaudi.html /


Whilst exploring the city you will no doubt come across artists along the streets selling paintings and crafts and street performers.
Every spring Barcelona host a great laid back music festival called Primavera Sound ,  the full line up for Primavera Sound 2017 has been released , view the line up here https://www.primaverasound.com/?lang=enhttps://www.primaverasound.com/?lang=en .






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A guide to Barcelona

Barcelona is the perfect place for a long weekend away in the sun. It is a charming and vibrant city rich with culture , art, music , food ...

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