Barcelona, Spain Guide - - Hotels, Restaurants, Nightlife - Classic Travel
Sophisticated, stylish and hip, Barcelona is a place where luxury travel finds a home. Situated on the Mediterranean coast, the combination of striking Gaudi architecture and ultra-modern buildings defines the visual uniqueness of the city, as do the numerous art galleries and museums that provoked the creativity of Barcelonites such as Picasso, Miro and Dali. Stroll along Las Ramblas, a colorful and vibrant tree-lined pedestrian boulevard, and meander through narrow cobblestone streets filled with gothic architecture, cafes and bars of old-world Barcelona. Browse through this city guide to discover an array of nightly entertainment and innovative restaurants in this cutting-edge metropolis.
La Sagrada Familia
Words like "magnificent" often spill from one's lips without care, but this Gaudi-designed cathedral is an example of a truly magnificent work. The fact that it's unfinished only adds to its beauty and mystique. Though Antoni Gaudi began construction in 1882, pursuing his dream of completing the structure until his death in 1926, 40 years was not enough time to fashion the spindle-shaped towers and detailed facades of this famed basilica. Amid controversy, work on the cathedral continues to this day as architects and builders attempt to guess how Gaudi would have wanted the the finished creation to appear. This site is a must-see for any lover of architecture and all visitors to Barcelona.
Olot 7, Barcelona
Tel. 34/ 93.219.3811
Another one of Gaudi's creations, Park Guell offers breathtaking views of Barcelona. With detailed landscaping and some of Barcelona's most photographed attractions - including a giant, mosaic colored lizard - this is one of Barcelona's most popular attractions. Admission is free; however, there is an entry fee to the Gaudi House Museum, where the artist lived for the last 20 years of his life.
Montcada 19, Barri Gotic, Barcelona
One of Barcelona's most visited museums, it is housed in three medieval palaces. The museum focuses on Picasso's early years, many of which were spent in Barcelona.
The hippest chocolate café in Spain, Xocoa has chocolate candles and incense, chocolate beer, and a chocolate CD in addition to their regular offerings.
Les Flors, 12
Tel. +34. 93.441.1139
Esxpensive but definitely worth the visit to experience "classic" dishes. Try the "gianchette" (fried tiny fish) which many say are the best in all of Europe. It is also a must not to leave with out having dessert!
Chef Sergi Arola brings his two Michelin stars to the table at this restaurant, located at Hotel Arts. Surprising concoctions like a tuna carpaccio drizzled with ham oil will delight every palate. Sit at the exclusive chef’s table or dine on the garden terrace.
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes,442
The upstairs, which is the non-smoking area, is bright and sleekly modern and has a menu with over 60 offerings. All the food is good and some things like the fritters of bacalao are really good.
Hotel Cram, 214 Carrer Arago
Chef Carles Gaig is a master of Catalan haute cuisine, and Barcelonanas have flocked to this recently opened restaurant to sample a delicately simple, traditional style of cuisine. The stunning atmosphere is done in black, rich reds and striking metallics. Be sure to try the rice with pigeon (Arroz de pichon)
Gran de Gracia 81, Gracia
Extremely popular and always busy, enjoy some of the best seafood in city-- as well as a sampling of the Barcelona power scene.
Carrer Rec 79-89, Barri Gotic
Contemporary yet classic best describes the dining experience at Abac, located in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. The food is an imaginative combination of Spanish and French cuisine.
This rustic landmark is one of Barcelona's most visited, but its impressive list of celebrity guests, traditional cuisine and reasonable prices make Los Caracoles a must for first-time sojourners to the city. Specialities include spit-roasted chicken, snails (the restaurant's namesake) and paella.
One of the tiny (10 tables) restaurants that exemplifies the new "bistronomic" trend. The attention is spent on great food instead of decor with the concept that meals will be reasonably priced. Here the tasting meal is 38 Euros and where chefs are artists this is a deal. Here the artists are Fidel Puig and Santi Rebes.
Angli 4 bis
Another "bistronomic" where co-owners Josep Lacambra and Catalina Balleste have turned this tiny local place into a sophicticated bonhomie. Here you will find a 12 and 18 Euro lunch menu that is not the least bit pretentious but a sensory lesson in the pleasures of the new Spanish cuisine.
Passatge Marimon 9
This black and red and not much else decor is one considered one of Barcelona's best culinary bargains with the prefixe lunch at 25 Euros. Here chefs Oriol Ivern and Guillem Pla work their special magic that is quickly contributing to Barcelona's reputation as the "gourmet" eating town of Europe.
Placa Doctor Andreu
It is located high above the city in the square below the Tibidabo cable car and has an outdoor terraces from wich you have a beautiful view over the city.
Carrer del Balmes 175
The signature dish here is kid goat loin. The falling off the bone tender meat is a must. The menu is small but all the Catalan dishes are exceptional. Also try the Brick de Gambas, a featured shrimp dish wrapped in phyllo-like dough.
When in Spain, tapas are a must. Discover the perfect lunch while you enjoy a few tapas paired with a refreshing drink. Some of Barcelona's finest tapas restaurants are listed below.
One does not come here for the atmosphere! Bare and flouescent lighting! However it's here that you will enjoy what many say are the best tapas of Spain. The ham croquettes are a level above those of anywhere else they're served.
Placa de les Olles, 8
Without a doubt one of the best dining restaurants in town. Locals skip the sit-down tables and head straight to the tapas bar for grazing- Spanish style, washed down with plenty of wine. Also try Inopia- Albert Adria’s tapas bar serves the best patas bravas in Barcelona- the ultimate Catalan bar snack. Some say the seafood tapas are the best in Barcelona, including squid, garlicky shrimp and tiny tiny fried fish.
Carrer Comerc 24
This sleek restaurant offers smaller portions, yet the quality is exceptional. An open kitchen reveals a culinary workshop where each sumptuous dish is created, and a separate dining room avails space for private parties any time of day.
10 Carter Caputxes
With delicate cakes and numerous glistening tarts, Bubo resembles a jeweler's shop, and it offers something equally as precious: a pastry created by head patissier Carles Mampel that was awarded Best Chocolate Cake in the World in Lyon, 2005. Savor each sweet treasure in the store, or take it home in specially constructed to-go boxes.
Carrer de Tapioles 53
Tapioles 53 is refreshingly hard to categorize. Its lack of street signs and its reservation-only policy screams exclusivity, but once inside a welcoming décor of miss-matched furniture and original artwork is as welcoming as Mom's kitchen. You get access to the most innovative cusine of Spain with the comfort of home. Australian chef, Sarah Stothart designs the weekly changing menu according to her equally mutable taste buds' whims.
Passeig de L'exposicio,85
Close to the Lliure and Mercat de les Flors theatres, this airy restaurant specializes in Venetian cuisine.
C/Pau Claris 192 (and Av. Diagonal)
Terrific but tiny retro tapas bar. A great place for breakfast or just your morning coffee. Later in the day, delicious tapas abound with good wine, cheeses and cooked dishes all around. If you're in the shopping district of the Diagonal in the Eixample area, its a good choice for a tapeo stop.
Tel. +34 93.295.5513
Great for cocktails and tapas. Massive mojitos. Located close to Santa Maria del Mar church.
Head downstairs through the emporium of man-bags and motorcycle helmets to the hottest men’s and women’s fashions in Barcelona, featuring Spanish and Catalan lines and international labels. Check out the 380-euro Kohno mud-dyed jeans.
Calle Blai, 28
This Workshop of 17 designers will work with you to design and craft the perfect piece of jewelry.
La Rambla 91, Raval
Hours: Monday-Saturday 7am-8pm
The most impressive of all of Barcelona's food markets, also known as Mercat de Sant Josep, La Boqueria is located just off of La Rambla. Stalls are teeming with fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, fish and every imaginable dessert. Best advice: if you'd rather not purchase everything in sight, don't come hungry.
Placa de les Olles 7
The flagship store offering trendy clothes that cater to the international club set, you'll soon see more of this boutique worldwide.
Santa Caterina Market
Avinguda Francesc Cambo
Renovated in 2005, this three-level structure is topped with a wave-like roof, created by 325,000 colorful ceramic tiles that resemble a magic carpet. Inside, more than 100 stalls offer everything from fresh vegetables and meats tp traditional delicacies. The market is definitely worth a visit for its eye-catching architecture and unique detail.
With an eye for detail and exquisite taste in fabric, Catalan designer Josep Font is famous for his very feminine, slighlty-gothic designs. Sharp, yet pretty, and with only a slight reference to current trends, his pieces are timeless.
Como Agua de Mayo
Carrer Argenteria, 43
Young Catalan fashionistas rave about this off-the-beaten treasure chest. Located right by El Born, this gorgeous boutique stocks everything from shoes to eclectic clothing and accessories.
This is Barcelona's City Online Magazine. Find out everthing that's happening and more including restaurants and special events of the moment.
Carrer Aribau 16-166, L'Eixample
Considered by many to be one fo the world's best cocktail bars, Dry Martini's reputation extends far beyond Spain's borders.
Carrer Deu i Mata 105
Even though it's not in the center of town and has been around for awhile, night owls still flock to Bikini. Two dance floors offer Latin and salsa fusion and pop/techno/house music, and in another section of the club, Dry Bikini offers cocktails, snacks and of course, grilled cheese sandwiches or bikinis.
Avinguda Marques de l'Argentera 19
This sophisticated jazz bar sets a unique tone with Soul and Latin music. Open Thursday through Saturday from midnight until 3am, Nao Colon also offers Mediterranean-style food.
Carrer Lincoln 15
A classic Barcelona night scene, this venue hosts VIP parties and big-name concerts, but also provides multiple dance floors and three different dance styles.
Carrer Arc del Teatre 3
This slick warehouse club spins house, techno and electronic music daily from midnight until 5am. Check for varied concerts which tend to start around 11:30 am.
Carrer de Vilai Vila,99
This century old theatre was reopened two years ago after have been closed since 1997. It's current show is "Burgesque Fever"
La Vinya Del Senyor
Placa Santa Maria 5
Grab a table and sample the cava, which is the Spanish version of champagne and a slice of coca, similar to pizza. Since it can be difficult to get Cava abroad, this is the perfect place to get this Spanish bubbly. The constantly updated wine list features heavenly Spanish whites like Galicia’s Albarino, plus Priorat or Cigales.
Still fishing for what to do in Barcelona?
Check out our special suggested itineraries from Virtuoso, the Specialists in the Art of Travel
Fine art, architecture, and a lunch that you prepare alongside a
Michelin starred chef are all on the menu today.
After checking into your luxurious hotel, and enjoying an exclusive amenity, you’ll view Gothic, Romanesque and Modernist buildings and
experience the unique artistry that sets Barcelona apart. You’ll whet
your appetite at La Boqueria Market and enjoy a classical concert
at the famous Palau de la Música Catalana.
After a quick breakfast at Cafetería-Pastelería, you’ll head to the
Gothic Quarter. Once surrounded by high walls, these narrow,
winding streets feature several unusual buildings, highlighted by
an impressive cathedral. Next, explore more architectural marvels in
the labyrinth-like streets of the Plaça del Rei. Wander on La Rambla
to catch the rhythm of the city as you shop the vendors’ stalls and take
in gorgeous examples of Baroque and Renaissance architecture.
Now it’s on to the famous Picasso Museum. You’ll marvel at the collection of art from Picasso’s student years, and exciting exhibitions of artists inspired by Picasso’s genius. Indulge your senses at the historic Boqueria Market — recently named the best open-air market in the world — where a Michelin starred chef helps you select ingredients to prepare a delightful lunch. Head to his restaurant for a hands-on demonstration of the preparation of Catalan cuisine and then revel in savoring the fruits of your labors.
Return to your hotel for some rest and pampering, then indulge in tapas
or “little plates” Cal Pep before a concert in the magical setting of the
Palau de la Música Catalana. Your evening ends sweetly at Espai Sucre, the fi rst dessert restaurant in Spain, and a true gastronomic adventure.
Breakfast at local favorite Mauris, then begin at Gaudi’s Casa Milá “La Pedrera.” Next it’s on to the Casa Batlló, followed by a look into the world famous Sagrada Familia church. Gaudi worked on the church until his death in 1926, and construction continues today. You can view more of Gaudi’s artistry at Guell Park, and the Gaudi House Museum, which hosts a collection of Gaudi’s art
and belongings along with works by Miro, Gimeno, Picasso, Mani and
other famous artists.
For lunch today it’s La Dama, with its unique cuisine and setting in an
enchanting Art Nouveau building. Once you’ve refueled, it’s time to
shop. The glamorous Passeig de Gràcia and Avenida Diagonal offer
clothing by the likes of Alessandro dell’Acqua and Marc Jacobs. For
amazing interior design items, head to Vinçon. Full of whimsical treats
for the home, the shop is the former apartment of Modernista painter
Ramón Casas. Next return to your hotel for a little relaxation, then off
to the Opera in grand style at Gran Teeter del Lice.
Dinner tonight after the opera is at the fabulous Michelin starred
restaurant Jean Luc Figures. It’s situated in a house once owned by
the famous Spanish couturier Balenciaga. Much of the menu derives
from traditional Catalan cuisine, to which Chef Figueras brings his
native French culinary technique. Start with a cold cream of garlic
soup laced with oysters, then enjoy sea bass with eggplant and tomato
chutney, and you’ll savor Spain with every bite.
L’Aquarium de Barcelona or a
cable car ride from Barceloneta
The Rose garden at the Parque
Walk to the top of Montjuic, home
to major 1992 Olympic sites.
Hot air ballooning in nearby Vic.
The famous Penedes region is
home to top-fl ight wineries.
Gorgeous sand and excellent
restaurants abound in nearby
Bring home some delicious turron –
almond studded nougat bars, or an
authentic gold and enamel plate
made in the cuerda seca style.
April 23 is La Diada de Sant
Jordi (St. George’s Day) in
Barcelona. For centuries a day
to celebrate love; beginning in the
1920’s, this festival of flowers and
books has also honored Cervantes
and Shakespeare, both of whom
died on this date in 1616.
Today you’ll journey beyond Barcelona to discover the northern part
of Catalonia. Your driver will take you on the one and a half hour trip to
the ancient city of Girona, then on to Figueres and the world of Salvador
Dali. You’ll view sites from the Arab, Jewish and Christian enclaves that
contributed to the rich culture of the area, and there will be ample time
for relaxation and fine food.
After a leisurely breakfast at your hotel it’s off to Girona, the “City of
Four Rivers.” Remains of the original Roman walls, constructed in the
fi rst century B.C., encircle a majestic Cathedral with Romanesque
infl uences and a Gothic nave. It houses the Creation Tapestry, a jewel
of the Catalan Romanesque period. Next you will see El Call, the
Jewish quarter of Girona, one of the best preserved in Spain. Nearby,
a Capuchin convent houses the Arab Baths, graced by a pavilion built
on eight columns and crowned by an octagonal cupola.
Lunch today is in the two-star Michelin restaurant El Celler de Can
Roca, where a cozy atmosphere combines with creative cuisine. Hidden
away in the Girona outskirts, its wine cellar holds over 400 different
bottles from all over the world. After lunch it’s a short drive to Figueres,
known as the home of Salvador Dalí. Here you’ll visit the Dalí Theatre-
Museum, which was designed by the artist himself.
After returning to Barcelona, you will dine at Evo Restaurant in the
Hespería Tower. The fi rst class restaurant has incredible food and
spectacular views of the city and the sea. Then dance your last evening
away at Rivelinos as you bid a fond farewell to the beauties of Barcelona.
Give me a call and I can help you book your trip today. Please note that Virtuoso Perspectives
is simply a suggested itinerary. You may want to follow it exactly, or perhaps personalize it to fit
As your Virtuoso travel specialist, I am always available to help you with your travel
plans. The Virtuoso motto is “We Orchestrate Dreams,” and as your travel consultant it is not only
my job, but my genuine pleasure, to arrange the travel experiences that you dream of. Whether
it’s Barcelona or Bangkok you’d like to visit, together we can turn your dreams into reality.
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