Barcelona is a city with sunshine almost every day. And a perfect combination of heavenly food, citylife and beachlife. If you need help with arranging a conference or a special trip, contact my friend Jessika at Performance Barcelona. She can fix everything!
Banys Orientals, a small boutique hotel in the Born neighboorhood with good prices. Make a reservation early, the rooms are very popular!
W Hotel situated on the beach along La Barceloneta. A supercool new hotel with fantastic views and a Bliss Spa.
Hotel Omm, a cool designer hotel in the city with a great lounge bar.
Hotel Arts, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the Olympia Village with a great pool area and a view of the Marina. Many celebrities stay here.
There are three different shopping areas to choose from. First, the streets around Plaça de Catalunya, second, Via Diagonal and last but not least; the small streets in Born. Note that some of the stores have a siesta between 12am – 4 pm…
At the square of Plaça de Catalunya there is a big mall with Habitat (Brittish Conran-inspired home decoration store), two floors of French cosmetic heaven Sephora. From the square, you can choose from two shopping streets – Rambla de Catalunya and Passeig de Gracia. Here you’ll find the chic Spanish chains like Zara, Massimo Dutti and Mango, but also the more selective brands.
If you want the most exclusive like Louis Vuitton, Hermès and other premier designer brands, take a cab to Francesc Macia and check out the streets near Turo Parc, like Avenida Pau Cascals, Bori i Fontestà and the main street Via Diagonal. Don’t miss the spacious Gonzalo Comella with brands like Prada, Dolce&Gabbana, Balmain, Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs etc.
On the pedestrian streets of Born there are many small shops. Start at the crossing of Carrer de L’Argenteria and Via Laietana and stroll towards Plaça Santa Maria. Take a glass of cava at the winebar La Vinya del Senyor. La Commercial has three lifestyle boutiques on Calle Rec, for both men and women.
There is one thing you should avoid in Barcelona: the Rambla – only a touristic hangout with pocket thieves… I suggest you’ll have lunch at the beach Barceloneta. Daytime it’s a perfect place to take a walk and have lunch with a pitcher of sangria, preferably at Agua or Bestial.
The dinner hours are very late, so why not take a nap before going out into Barcelona’s exciting nightlife?
Tapas is everywhere and the trick is to find the non-touristic spots… My favorite dishes are the small fried squids. And the manchego cheese of course… At Cerveceria Catalana there are few tourists and when here you just have to order a yellow sangria of Cava! Address: Calle Mallorca/Rambla de Catalunya. Ciudad Condal at the corner of Gran Via/Rambla Catalunya is also one of the best tapas bars in Barcelona.
Another kind of appetizer, the tapas variant from the Basque, is called pinxos. It’s small delicious bites on bread with a toothpick on each serving. The bartenders put the plates on the bar, just grab as many plates as you like, and save the toothpicks – they count them when it’s time to pay. We like Centre Cultural Euskal Etxea (at Placeta Montcada 1-3, near Passeig del Born). We tried Txakoli, a local bubbly white wine, almost muddy… but very fresh! Sagardi is a perfect place if want to try pinxos for breakfast. Argenteria 62 in El Born.
If you get tired of tapas and pinxos and long for some fresh mediterranian food and a trendy crowd, go to Tenorio at Passeig del Gracia next to the Gaudi House.
Several bars are lined up on Passeig del Born, perfect for a bar tour in the old town. At El Copetin the serve cruel mojitos and other exotic drinks.
Barceloneta is a cool party area, next to the sea. At night I can recommend an asian dinner at Shoko. Around midnight all tables disappear and everyone start to dance. Closing time is 3 am, then it’s Catwalk across the street. If you want to, the party continues at the Gay Club Souvenir until 1 pm…
Zara have very good prices in Spain, and the shoes are really fabulous. Massimo Dutti has many classic fashion basics, it’s like a “Spanish Banana Republic“. Hoss Intropia is another Spanish brand, a little more expensive but it’s fashion at it’s best. Check out its lagship store at Paseo de Gracia 44.