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Barcelona, the cosmopolitan capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is known for its art and architecture. The fantastical Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Antoni Gaudí dot the city. Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró feature modern art by their namesakes. City history museum MUHBA, includes several Roman archaeological sites.
Its patchwork of architectural styles displays dark, Gothic façades next to the harlequin buildings of the Modernistas and the skyline-piercing constructions of Jean Nouvel or Herzog and de Meuron, and a day spent admiring them can be topped off with a sundowner on one of the city’s seven beaches before dinner at any number of Michelin-starred gastronomic temples or humble, family-run tapas bars.
This is also a city with a proud sense of identity, one which is only increasing as the campaign for Catalan independence builds up steam, and its language, culture and traditional festivals are fiercely guarded.
Barcelona’s beachfront boardwalk stretches for miles. It will take a good hour to get from Barceloneta to Diagonal Mar on foot, but it’s a walk that really helps you understand the city.
The westernmost beaches like Sant Sebastià are busier and more touristy, but are backed by Barceloneta’s tight lattice of trendy shops and bars with terraces and outdoor seating.
As you move along the waterfront after the Olympic Port you’ll find a bit more room and more Barcelona locals.
Finally, just up from Platja de Llevant is the massive and new Diagonal Mar mall, revitalising a former industrial part of the city.
International food is superb in Barcelona, especially when it comes to Japaese-style noodle bars, which have become popular in the last 10 years.
Another trend is pintxos, Basque-style bar snacks in which delicious things like croquettes and fish are served on a piece of bread held together with a toothpick (pincho).
For a typically Catalan snack there’s Pa amb tomàquet, rustic bread covered in a mix of tomato pulp and oil. This often serves as a base for sandwiches or bocatas.
For a main course here on the coast nothing beats arròs negre, rice simmered with cuttlefish or squid, followed by rich crema catalana for dessert. Have a look at the available food tours in Barcelona.
Tip: Have a look at the tours offered by Barcelona City Tellers, they even offer a free walking tour! A great way to start off your visit as you’ll learn more about the city and will get lots of tips on which things to do and avoid during your stay.
This is the best meeting point in the city. It’s right at the bottom of the posh Passeig de Gràcia and at the top of Las Ramblas.
If you’re waiting for friends in the evening for a meal or getting ready for a shopping expedition by day nowhere in the Ciutat Vella or Eixample will be more than a few minutes on foot from this grand square.
Barcelona’s flagship branch of El Corte Inglés is right here, and if you’re new to the city and want to get oriented you could go inside to pick up a map.
Barcelona offers a wide variety of bars, discos and clubs offering all kinds of music, its atmosphere is alive and is different each night, especially at weekends, when the city is much more crowded!
The night in Barcelona starts late: people at dinner 23.00, then it is customary to meet up with friends for wandering from one room to another (“IR de copas”), until you reach some disco, ready to dance until late morning. The clubs of the city Flock very late: indeed, the evening starts around 2.00 and often ends the following morning.
The city is famous for being a party town, full of young people who like to have fun with discotheques for all tastes, by beach clubs on the beach in clubs at the highest level, some of which are almost unknown to tourists, who flock to popular clubs generally.
In the evenings the main (Saturday and Sunday) dominates the electronic music with various international djs who parade in the most prestigious clubs: These include Paul Kalkbrenner, Justice, Steve Aoki, Digitalism, 2ManyDjs, Luciano, Ricardo Villalobos, Tiga, Yall and Franz Ferdinand. In addition to, right here in Barcelona is held the Sonar, an important international festival of electronic music.
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