The Bunker (or el Turó de la Rovira) is the best kept secret of Barcelona. With it's fantastic views across the city, this old war bunker is not to be missed. There are many places to get great views in Barcelona, but this one is definitely my favourite. It is in the best location which allows you to see everything so clearly, from the mountain of Tibidabo to the right, to the ocean and Montjuic, with all of the city inbetween.
Metro Alfons X, line 4. A slight climb up from the metro is required but totally worth it.
Google map: bit.ly/16Dngtk
After finishing my A-levels, my best friend Lucy and I booked a girls holiday. No, it wasn't to Magaluf or Ibiza. We wanted somewhere that was both cultural, cheap and a good party. After finding flights for a reasonable price, we settled on Barcelona. For around 300 Euros, we stayed in a great hostel just around the corner from La Ramblas, just next to the Metro and within walking distance from all the best night clubs and a short ride to all of the excellent attractions that Barcelona has to offer. We spent a week in the city, beach and parks, managing to find cheap enough places to eat, drink and party. On a budget, we managed to have the best holiday and it's so easy to adapt a trip to Barcelona to your traveling style. There's plenty for families, older couples, friends, everything. I'm definitely planning on taking my parents there in the near future and my own family when I have one. Art galleries, Gaudi, food, anything you're interested in will be in Barcelona and so long as you know where to look, it can be as affordable as you like.
It’s a very nice budget hotel with good sized, modern rooms. Location is convenient, one stop from the Passeig Gracia shopping area, near Plaza Catalunya, the Ramblas and some of Gaudi’s buildings. The staff was really friendly, we had a great time at the hotel.
I love city beaches! The beach at Barceloneta is certainly not as great a beach as some that spring to mind but in terms of location it takes some beating. What better way to relax after a busy day’s shopping or sightseeing than to head over to one of the ‘chiringuito’ beach bars at Barceloneta and watch the world go by.
For better beaches in the area you can take a local train out to Castelldefels to the south or further along the same line to the popular resort of Sitges.
My son and grandchildren live in Barcelona and love it just as I do!
You can walk there from the touristy Ramblas area of the city or arrive via its very own metro stop (Metro Barceloneta).
Google map: bit.ly/10lEqFb
If you want to have a great time in Barcelona, you need to meet J. and M. They are so knowledgeable about the city and they're friendly and helpful! The location of their apartment is beyond perfect. We literally walked to Las Ramblas in five minutes; the Catalunya metro stop was another five minute walk and it takes you evrywhere. We went to the Gothic Quarter in seven minutes - all you do is cross the Las Ramblas main street and you're there. The beach was a short 15 minute stroll. How much better can it get? I can't get over how wonderful the location was! When I look for places to stay, I'm really picky about cleanliness. Their apartment was above and beyond - extremely clean and chic. The personal bathroom was spotless! To be honest, that room is worth way more than what they are charging and we were so lucky to stumble upon them. For anyone going to Barcelona, this is the only place I would recommend.
I would really like to recommend a new restaurant in Barcelona called Llamber. It's situated in the new hip area of Born. It's one of the few places in Barcelona, where you get a free pitxo (mini tapas) with your glass of wine. For the wine lover they have 150 different wines, 30 by glass and they start from only 2,5€. Also they have a really good a la carte menu with different kinds of tapas, tables of cheeses and Spanish ham, dessert etc., all served in a creative and beautiful way.
I love to go there because the food is delicious and it's a really friendly and informal place with beautiful decoration.
A treasure of funeral art, located on the Route of Montjuic on the hill, lies Montjuic Cemetery. This graveyard of about 57 acres boasts sea views and a place of calm away from the city's hustle and bustle. The cemetery, which was featured in Pedro Almodovar’s 1999 film All About my Mother, opened in 1883 after an escalation in the population. Montjuic Cemetery is more than a place of the dead as its modernist architecture, sculptures and beautiful, exotic gardens are works of art. The extravagant design meant the graveyard became a prevalent spot for the rich to be buried and many of them had their own mausoleums built in the cemetery. Indicative of this, the cemetery houses some excellent examples of funeral art that include architecture, sculptures and stained glass creations. This is a great place to visit if you’re interested in modernist art, architecture and sculptures and are looking for a free-of-charge, peaceful way to explore Barcelona.
Just a stone throw away from La Rambla - Barcelona's busiest street - Boadas is a hidden cocktail bar. The oldest cocktail bar in town, is snug and authentic. The cocktails are fantastic, the waiters dressed in tails and the crowd engaging.
Carrer dels Tallers, 1, 08002, Barcelona, Spain
+34 933 18 95 92
Google map: bit.ly/11LIijI
I found this little cocktail bar just off the Ramblas during my last summer in Barcelona. My best friend Lucy and I loved it here. There are no drinks menus, you just tell the suit-clad barmen what you like and they'll invent it for you. It's the perfect place to escape the soaring heat and rat-race of central Barcelona, without walking too far. There is no strict dress code, but it's probably best if you don't wear trainers here. The low jazz music keeps a comfortable mellow vibe running through this small bar and has kept my interest for years.
Carrer dels Tallers, 1, 08002, Barcelona Spain
+34 933 18 95 92
Google map: bit.ly/S9QZ3g
Cal Boter is the right place to try traditional Catalan restaurant food in Barcelona. They cook the kind of food you might find in a restaurant in the country, but they are in one of the most traditional, full of local flavor, barrios of Barcelona.
The Voll-Damm International Festival is back from this weekend to 30 November with local and international artists and bands.
This weekend (19-20-21 October), which unfortunately looks like it will be rainy, has free outdoor concerts between 13.30 and 16.30 at many of the bars and cafés in the city centre. See the website for venues.
* PeterGuest is our Been there local for Barcelona. You can read his profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/barcelona-local-peter-guest.jsp and follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/PeterGuest. Meet more of our locals here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/trails/been-there-locals.jsp
This is a light, airy, neighborhood cultural centre run by an all female French Guatemalan team. La Marelle is dedicated to providing a space for parents and children to unwind, meet and learn. It's divided into various play areas with toys and games galore for the kids, and there are tables and stools for the grown ups to sit at while keeping an eye on their little monkeys. The cafe serves great coffee, brunches (pancakes!!) and cakes. There are also numerous workshops like yoga for kids in English, or story telling in French and other learning and sharing activities.
This is a magnificent fountain that we only found about by a traveler's post on another website. It's free, gorgeous and if you're near a tram line the #4 takes you there. Get there before dark - we barely had time to get some pictures taken - duh!
Passeig de Lluís Companys, 2, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Google map: bit.ly/R3xto0
Bar Avesta is one of the few Zoroastrian themed bars you'll find the world. It's got a great medieval, cozy type feel to it, with its low wooden beamed ceiling and rustic wooden benches. It is located in a converted wine cellar and as well as serving some of the most delicious tapas in Barcelona, it also serves some of the cheapest shots. The bar also serves the famous drink, leche de pantera, a kind of pink alcoholic milk that is pretty delicious.
Eusebi Guell's model industrial village built in 1890 to house occupants of the textile industry. The highlight is one of Antonio Gaudi's key works - the unfinished church crypt. The crypt features brilliant use of leaded stained glass, brick and ceramics.
When in Spanish Catalonia we offered to answer questions for local school children (under supervision of course) to help them with their English language and geography. In return we got some great info about the best local cafes, shops etc. We also learned the cheapest and best way to travel - like the locals.
We were introduced through the hotel reception.
For views of Barcelona minus the crowds head to the Carretera de les Aigües, a track that runs for several miles around the shoulder of Tibidabo, the mountain that dominates the top end of the city. Buy a standard metro ticket, take the Ferrocarrils to Peu Del Funicular then change onto the funicular railway and get off at the next stop up, called Carretera de les Aigües. A left turn at the station entrance and you've got three miles of country track among trees with only the panoramic views, a few joggers, and birds for company. At the end of the track you come out next to the Tibidabo funicular where you can either head up to the very top of the hill or take the Blue Tram back down into town. Before you do either, stop for a quick drink at the Mirablau café, and gaze out through the picture windows at yet another fabulous view of the city.
If you or a friend/family member is a fan of F1, but cannot afford the astronomical costs of going to watch it abroad, how about trying a day at the F1 testing in Barcelona? It takes place over four days, usually early March (in 2012 it was 1st - 4th March) and cost just 20 Euro's per person.
Although "just" testing, we had a fantastic day. The stadium was extremely empty, so we were able to wander around, sitting in the main grandstand and several other areas to try out the view or avoid the direct sunlight. My partner is a huge fan of F1, while I'm a more casual observer, but I must admit that on seeing the cars drive I was both stunned at the speed and skill, and delighted that my slightly leftfield Valentine's gift had gone down so well. Honestly, it's a great day out for relatively little money. Just remember the earplugs!
The circuit is remarkably easy to get to, it's only 20km north east of Barcelona. You just need to jump on a train from one of three stations in the city Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gràcia or Clot and head to Montmelo. It takes about 30 minutes and costs a couple of Euro's. From the station you can walk or take a taxi - I'd recommend the walk as we met and chatted to a number of other fans, and just follow the amazing sound of the cars roaring around the track. I had read that the walk was "difficult" but I'd strongly deny that, 30 minutes at most on quite flat terrain.
Circuit de Catalunya, Carretera Granollers, A PARED, 08160 Montmeló, Barcelona, Spain
+34 935 71 97 00
Google map: bit.ly/NsHWq0
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