Small, completely unpretentious restaurant/bar serving a stunning selection of tapas, raciones, meals, including great ibérico hams, bull tail, lamb sweet breads etc. Good wines, and low prices.
C/ La Torre, 8 Jerez; tel: 32 29 15
It's a tapas restaurant. Eating out in Lanzarote can be difficult, there's a lot of very average places, but this is a little gem. Very simple food in a very relaxed setting just off the beaten track.
La Geria,, Yaiza, Lanzarote www.el-chupadero.com/bodega/bodega_index.html
Whichever football team you follow, a visit to this stadium will at least make you keep half an eye on Barcelona’s future results. Regular guided tours around the stadium are available, and after seeing all the behind the scenes stuff you get to walk down the players' tunnel and out onto the edge of the pitch. The stadium is a stupendous sight from here; the fans who occupy the uppermost seats must be impervious to vertigo. The tour ends with an opportunity to have your photo taken with a replica European Cup.
Avda de Aristides Maillol;
Nearest metros: Maria Cristina, Collblanc; www.fcbarcelona.com
Perfect for a rainy afternoon, this gallery (Fundacio Joan Miro) has enough stuff in it to keep you occupied until the sun comes out again. He worked in all sorts of different media, so apart from the paintings, you’ll be seeing sculpture in wood, metal and stone, fabrics splayed across the walls and ceramics dotted about all over. The Spanish modernist artists often seem to have a rather hard edge, but also a sense of humour and Miro is no exception. There are also guest exhibitions which change fairly regularly.
Parc de Montjuic - a reasonable stroll from Pl. Espanya;
This is an awesome place in Madrid to drink a coffee or beer, or to have breakfast, lunch, or dinner. They have great salads an desserts (my girlfriend ate more than 4 cakes). I love this restaurant and I love Madrid.
Isaac peral 4 (Moncloa); tel: 34 91 543 2009; www.vangoghcafe.com
Fast, friendly and affordable service from Spain to Tangiers (or 'Tanger'). The day-trips are inevitably formulaic, with set routes round the old city of Tangiers, but led by well-informed and interesting guides. Even if this is a digression from your travel in Spain, try to fit in the FRS package of one night's stay in Tangiers, which is amazingly cheap and lets you make your own way around the old city and find true bargains in the markets and shops.
Designer Japanese bar with an easygoing, modern atmosphere. You will meet a varied clientele trying out the healthy, balanced specials. My favourite is the salmon and mango salad. Like the place itself, it’s minimal and refined.
Passatge de la Concepcio 2, 08008; tel: 00 34 93 487 25 92; nearest metro: Passeig de Gracia
The charm of this place overcomes its theme-park tackiness, despite the fake fairy-tale forest, waterfall and out-of-place four-poster bed which you’re frustratingly not aloud to lie on. Great for a first date as long as it's not a local.
Passatge de la Banca 7; nearest metro: Drassanes
Just behind the legendary Boqueria market, this is best practice in regeneration. It has an eclectic design, sunny terrace by day and discrete candle-light by night as well as best value multicultural dishes. Inclusive and yet trendy. Great brekkie and home-made milkshakes.
Plaça de la Gardunya 7; tel: 00 34 93 3014 163; nearest metro: Liceu
Think Willie Wonka versus Ferran Adria and you get a cosmopolitan, eclectic and mind-boggling menu featuring such random selections as hot chocolate soup with curry and yoghurt ice cream. Beats other neighbouring milk-bars in what is known as the hot chocolate street.
Carrer Petrixol 11, 08002; Tel: 00 34 93 301 11 97, www.xocoa-bcn.com/; nearest metro: Placa Catalunya
Groundbreaking architectural delight, it is located in a secluded part of Montjuic ideal for contemplating the colourful sculptures on the rooftop terrace with the Med in the background. The museum is basically a deconstruction of Miro’s creative DNA with temporary exhibitions by other artists.
Marques de Comillas, nearest metro: Paral.lel
The art scene’s new toy in town – a converted Modernista factory sponsored by the Catalan bank La Caixa, it hosts excellent temporary exhibitions and also features an auditorium.
Casaramona, Avinguda Marquès de Comillas; nearest metro: Paral.lel
White-hot contemporary art museum in the Raval. A landmark which proved the turning point for the infamous barrio – it is the focal point for a whole host of activities.
Plaça dels Angels 1; nearest metro: Universitat; Closed on Tuesdays
A little paradise of a street. Forget Poble Espanyol, this is an authentic tour around the best in Spanish food and drink as well as an assortment of museums. Don’t miss the anchovies or the cava at El Xampanyet, indulge in the Textile Museum’s ice creams, listen to the dulcet tones of an oboe and cello while sampling top-quality whiskey at Espai Barroc and sample the avant garde wines at the Va de Vi.
Banys Vells, No 16; nearest metro: Jaume I
There are no words to describe this Modernist fantasy – Gaudi’s creative DNA deconstructed in front of your eyes and overlooking the Catalan capital. From the largest balcony-bench in the world to the adorned ceramic animals via the mosaic, don’t bother going to the Universal Studios down the Catalan coast, this is the theme park of the future.
Carrer Olot, Metro: Lesseps
This park, formerly a military base, is more interesting for its social life than its botanic and architectural value. There’s a romantic lake where you can hire boats, a cute winter garden and abundant vegetation.
There’s an eclectic bunch of visitors to the park – couples searching for a spot to share some intimacy, old folks feeding the birds and the unmissable improvised percussion jams on Sundays.
Ciutadella Park, Passeig Pujades; nearest metro: Ciutadella-Vila Olimpica
The best advice when it comes to this street is to plunge in, go with the flow and enjoy the constant weird and wonderful activities taking place around you. Let yourself be carried past shoe shiners, cheap pensions, human statues (performers), and people of all types. Let your senses be assailed by the squawking of caged birds, the perfumed air of flower stalls, the chatter of gossips and the shrieks of the fruit markets.
Arguably the best people-watching place in the world. Federico Garcia Lorca said that it was the only street in the world he hoped would never end. It was originally just a path beside a stream that was running through the centre of the old city to Spain’s most famous street. If Plaça Catalunya is the communications hub, Las Ramblas is the emotional hub of Barcelona.
Metro: Plaça Catalunya
It’s another of Gaudi's very different designs (an apartment block) and in my book more impressive than La Pedrera (Casa Mila) further up the Passage de Gracia. Although an extensive renovation rather than design and build, it wowed me on my second visit to Barcelona as much as La Pedrera did on my first. More expensive at 16 euros for a full tour but worth it. A work of art.
Beautiful curvy and colourful designs, light and airy rooms, crafted woodwork, ceramics, glass and light fittings ahead of their time age (1905-7). The view of the exterior from the street alone is amazing (lit at night) and free if you are in a hurry.
Nr 43 Passeig de Gracia, 08007 Barcelona; L'Eixample distrct nearest metro: Passeig de Gracia
In the heart of the little streets that criss-cross the old town is a small museum to Picasso and contains much of his early work, donated by the artist himself in 1970. It’s fascinating to see the sketches and paintings he made in conventional styles, before he discovered cubism, and indeed how accomplished some of them are. The painting in particular of his sister’s first communion is quite superb.
Carrer Montcada 15 - 23; www.museupicasso.bcn.es
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