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
An old railway line overlooking Paris streets it stretches out for 4.5 km from touristy Bastille to the Bois de Vincennes. To get it to it, go round the back of the Opera Bastille and you'll see the viaduct. Ideal for a jog, brunch or simply getting away from the Parisian hustle-and-bustle. Very Railway Children.
Promenada Plantee, Avenue Dausmenil, 75012
In a street shyly hidden from tourists unless you're returning home after a late one on the Grands Boulevards. Part of this small bar is celtic open-plan, for the usual wide-screen-loving rugby shirts. After 10 pm, the dj turns the turntables on for indiebeatpunkdiscomodeighties music (it's the name of one of the nights). A rare delight for French students looking for a pub "comme a Londres". The crowd's a mixture of self-styled fashion throwbacks and relaxed trendsetters, in an alcohol-fuelled (try the vodka-caramel) but relaxed atmosphere.
10-12, rue Feydeau, 75002: 00 33 (0)140265997: Metro Bourse/Grands Boulevards
Festive carnaval atmosphere at this Brazilian restaurant. Try the native bbq (churasco) and remember not to let go of the delicious fresh fruit caipirinha. Caliente all the way through the week, with special emphasis on carnaval-inspired electro at the weekends. Colourful decor and don't bring muddy shoes, it'll look out of place when you're dancing on the tables.
18 rue du Faubourg du Temple, 75011: 00 33 (1) 40 21 38 14: Metro Republique
For those who want to turn boring weekday nights into party intervals between work - generous happy hour policy, creative cocktail arrangements and eclectic dj workouts. Arrive at ground level, you'll encounter a Parisian Anglophile ambiance (great brunch and anglosaxon press), then go into the basement to impress your English to an unpretentious cosmopolitan crowd, eager to mix with the English enemy in very sense.
18 rue du Bourg-Tibourg, 75004: 00 33 (1) 42 72 81 34: Metro Hotel-de-Ville/Saint Paul
Great Anglo-expat hideout smack bang in the middle of Paris. It's where the French meet their Anglo-Saxon neighbours to have a proper knees up. Although situated in the tackiest location, it has (fingers crossed) kept a hedonistic and cosmopolitan crowd. Overcrowding gives it its charm, but it could be its downfall.
18 rue Saint Denis, 75001: 00 (1) 40 39 00 18: Metro Chatelet
Paris' largest pizza (so large that waiters need to rest it on two plates) - you could almost say two for the price of one. Just round the corner from Moulin Rouge with the added-value of a terrace, this combines great value and great character.
6 square de l'Opera, 75009: 00 33 (1) 40079256: Metro Havre-Caumartin
After crossing a makeshift footbridge, a la Indiana Jones, we entered what I can only describe as floating hedonism. The boat’s interior was decorated as if we were in a Kusturica remake of Pirates of the Caribbean. On deck a gentrified cameo appearance by a random Danube wave caused the tables to bounce about in sync with the dirty electro sounds which had momentarily replaced the dulcet and soulful tones of the local songstress who had accompanied the improvised offerings of the in-house chef.
Savski Kej: Belgrade
This is what every cities should offer, a beach and this beats Paris-Plage. The beach is located on an island on of the two major rivers. The locals who go there to maintain their annual tan have labelled it the Hawaii of Belgrade, the atmosphere is very "spring break", with cocktail bars lined up along the beach, with a random bungee, paintball and trampoline for those who feel twitchy lazing on the beach. Ideal for getting out of the city.
This is a lovely holiday resprt in Belgrade! It is an island on the Sava river. There are many floating houses, rafts, where people have their getaway place, it's very charming and romantic! On the other side of the island, there is a lake with a beautiful pebbled beach, sports playgrounds, cycling and rollerblading paths, a nudist beach, many cafes, restaurants, night clubs, even a bungee jumping site!!! In the middle of the lake there is a geyser fountain going very high up in the sky! Once I saw a rainbow there, reflecting through the water, it was spectacular! It's very worth a visit!
Ada Ciganlija, Belgrade
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