With the summer holidays nearly upon us, STYLEetc are helping you decide on the best locations for your trip. First up, our latest recruit Hope reviews the Spanish city of Barcelona!
Barcelona is found in the north east of Spain, facing the blissful waters of the Mediterranean Sea. With an array of breath-taking sights, a rich history and stunning views, Barcelona is the perfect place for a weekend break. So come with us as we recommend some of the most unmissable things Barça has to offer.
Famed architect Antoni Gaudí helped create some of the most beautiful and unique buildings in the city, including Casa Battló and La Pedrera – two beautiful houses both situated on Passeig de Gracia, a wealthy street leading to Plaça Catalunya, a broad square with stunning fountains and bustling side streets. After poring over the windows of Chanel, Burberry and Valentino, take a seat at one of the many street cafes for a “café con leche” and indulge in some people watching. I recommend Txapela, an authentic tapas chain exclusive to Barcelona. Affordable dishes, a spot on the “Champs Élysées of Barcelona” and a red wine sangria, what more could you ask for?
In the late afternoon, take the metro to Park Güell, another of Gaudí’s creations. The beautiful gardens, featuring stunning views of the city and wonderful architecture can be accessed for free after 6pm, or for a small fee any time before. The park is an absolute must see for any visitor to Barcelona, and is sure to take your breath away.
For an evening meal, Barcelona offers no shortage of delicious restaurants to visit. Plaça Reial, a small square just off the main tourist street La Rambla, offers not only a beautiful spot to watch the world go by, but is full of some highly recommended spots to dine. Quinze Nits, for example is a hotspot for Mediterranean cuisine, and priced between €20-30, is much more affordable than La Rambla. The square is also home to a selection of bars and nightclubs, most notably Jamboree, which plays host to a beautiful flamenco performance on selected nights, and is a great place boogie down on other evenings!
If the heat of the city gets a bit much, a five minute walk from La Rambla will take you to the golden beaches of Barceloneta. Stretching over 1000 metres of blissful sea and sand, it’s easy to find a tranquil spot for a well-earned sunbathe. Or if you fancy being bit more adventurous, the coast is lined with a number of affordable bike and surfboard rentals if you want to see the city from another perspective. And don’t forget any of the fabulous bars that surround the sandy shores, most notably Zahara Cocktail Club (Pg. de Joan de Borbó, 69), which is well known for its summery vibe and delicious menu.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay, the Generator Hostel and Hotel – which has locations in Berlin, Venice and in the near future Rome – has a great vibe for anyone looking for a place to stay in the city. The rooms are modern and well decorated, with a fresh vibe of yellows and oranges, but the downstairs bar which holds events most nights also serves a huge range of food and drink for a low price, thanks to the multilingual and helpful staff. For a touch more luxury, the world renowned Primo Primera Boutique Hotel is absolutely perfect. A sleek and warm interior with just the right balance of cosiness and vintage glamour, the hotel has been recommended by luxury travel advisor Mr & Mrs Smith, and is well recognised for its quality rooms and fantastic staff service.
For retail therapy, look no further than Barcelona! The city is brimming with independent boutiques full of unique pieces you won’t find anywhere else. Try the gothic quarter – El Barri Gotic – for El Bulevard Rosa, an indoor shopping arcade with plenty of treasure troves just waiting to be discovered, or El Raval, another district off La Rambla filled with one-off shops and quirky designers.
And when you’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, be sure to pay a visit to Federal, a gorgeous café in El Raval on Carrer del Parlament, which serves the most delectable cakes; I recommend the Red Velvet, and some beautiful coffees. We’ll see you there!
Hotel image from http://www.mrandmrssmith.com/luxury-hotels/primero-primera