Travel Edit: Visit Barcelona
Gaudi, paella, beaches, and more.
This cosmopolitan city-by-the-sea offers distinctive variety to keep you from being bored.
Perhaps best known for its magical display of many of Spain's top artists, culinary arts, and terrific nightlife, Barcelona is home to emerging and established arts in the galleries of the neighborhood of Born and a shopping destination for Spanish and international designer fashions alike. We have compiled a list of our top picks of hidden gems and known yet noteworthy hot spots.
What to see and do?
The most historic architect of BCN is Antonió Gaudi, known for the famed cathedral La Sagrada Familia, Las Piedras and a colorful and iconic park at the north of the city called Parque Guell, made entirely or recycled ceramics. Spanish artists with museums include Miró and Picasso, with more discoverable artists showing in El Born, toward the south. Just an hour outside the city in a town called Figures is the Salvador Dalí museum, which is well worth the drive up the coastline.
Where to eat?
Between 7 Portes historic location and renown menu of paella and Catalan delectables, this emblematic spot will whet your appetite with the Spanish classics with a Catalan twist.
La Boquería market off of Las Ramblas will transport you to a Mediterranean market similar to those found in Rome and Paris, for lunch or a typical snack. Pinoxto Bar is perhaps the most famous known to have hosted the likes of Madonna while on tour in the city.
For a luxurious experience try Hotel Arts on the beach, and enjoy views of the grande La Paix while dining on local cuisine for an international traveler's tastebuds.
Shopping in Barcelona
As the world's fifth top-ranked fashion destination, shopping in Barcelona ranges from classic Spanish brands like to Loewe to native Catalan brands like Massimo Dutti and female designer Sita Murt, whose clothes were woven throughout the movie Vicky Cristina Barcelona. If you can't get to one of the other big cities, this may be a place to grab your Chanel, Valentino, Hermés or Burberry on Passeig de Gràcia or discover something more cultural paired with style on La Rambla, Spanish poet Federico García Lorca's favorite street in the world. In Gràcia, designer Lydia Delgado resides. Her designs have been shown on catwalks in Barcelona and Madrid, displaying a very personal style that is feminine, elegant, and Parisian. Amongst the galleries of El Born, there are some independent boutiques such as Ivori, where Carola Alexandre and Alba Neddermann have set up an exquisite shop to exhibit their label Alexandre Neddermann, defined by the use of vintage fabrics and retro-inspired silhouettes, among a variety of other lesser known unique brands.
One of the most clandestine and esoteric experiences in Barcelona is the hidden gem of a lounge located in El Born right near Basilica Santa María Del Mar. Only second to sunrise yoga in Parque Guell we are certain this will remain a memory of a romantic experience for the foreseeable future.
A visit to this city is not complete without a concert at the Palau de la Música Catalan
A spectacle of visual delights in the modernist aesthetic accompany a variety of music in this spectacular hall that has hosted big and small names including Gustavo Dudamel, the Three Tenors, and a plethora of flamenco shows.
Deserving its own honorable mention in Barcelona is the molecular gastronomy. If you are unfamiliar, molecular gastronomy (or molecular cocktails, for that matter!), is an specialty feature in the experience of the city. Hotel Arts has its own dedicated molecular champagne bar named Frank's, featuring molecularly cultivated beverages and garnishes such as cherries, olives, caviar, and the like, paired with a classic Veuve Cliquot or vodka cocktail which you can find anywhere, just more unique. Restaurants such as Disfrutar (translation: "To Enjoy,"), are highly rated, and offer well-trained chef's takes on some not-so-classic dishes.
Lost? Molecular gastronomy, by definition, seeks to investigate and explain the chemical reasons behind the transformation of ingredients, as well as the social, artistic and technical components of culinary and gastronomic phenomena.
One of the best and most cosmopolitan restaurants in Barcelona that offers its guests a remarkable Catalan Modern decor along with extremely good Catalan classic cuisine, blended with lighter and innovative molecular cooking techniques, is Via Venete by chef Carlos Tejedor. Regardless of which chef you choose, this experience is rare and unique, and gives you something to tell your friends you did which they may not have had the chance to experience.