The array of churches, parks and museums make Barcelona a must visit. The architecture of the city will leave first timers mesmerised. The landscape is picturesque, with beaches, medieval quarters and plazas. Among the many spectacular cathedrals is Sant Pau Del Camp, which dates back to the 10th century, and Antonio Gaudi’s Art Nouveau La Sagrada Familia.
I have stayed at the Monte Carlo — a 19th century palace converted into a hotel — on multiple occasions. It is centrally located, right on La Rambla and is very close to La Boqueria Market, the Liceu Opera theatre and other museums. The magnificent façade and elegant interiors of the hotel reflects its rich history. Hotel Jazz, on the other hand, boasts a contemporary design and provides a relaxing haven in this vibrant city. For business meetings, I prefer the Cathedral Hotel, which is centrally located.
Barcelona is a food connoisseur’s delight. For a sumptuous dining experience, I would recommend the Cal Pep, a well known tapas restaurant. N°2 is another great place if you have the taste buds for authentic Catalan food. Being a vegetarian, I loved the Spanish tortilla with peas and saffron. Like every other major city, Barcelona too has some Indian restaurants.
Barcelona has one of the world’s most famous pedestrian streets — Las Ramblas. You can get around on a rented bicycle. A tour at leisure will take about three hours and you could ride along the cycling tracks, pedestrian zones, boulevards and parks. The city’s Metro Rail is not just an economical way to get around, but it is also easy to use. Every stop has a map. Of course, there are cabs that work well for long distances.
In my leisure, I like exploring places — such as the Sant Felip Neri Square nestled in the Gothic Quarter — that are not on the city map. You can also take a trip on a sail boat on the sea or visit Camp Nou Stadium, one of the biggest football stadiums in the world.
Like all Spanish cities, Barcelona has clubs and bars that are open till the wee hours of the morning. London Bar plays live music and if stories are true, Picasso frequented it in his days. The Manchester Bar plays English Indie music of the 1990s. Felini’s, El Cangerjo and Pacha are other night spots you could go to.
The best areas to shop at are the Bulevard Rosa arcade, Passeig de Gracia, Carrer d’Arago, the Barri Gothic streets and around the Placa de Sant Josep Oriol. It is a city where you can get some excellent antique art shopping done.
(Coordinated by Deepak Ajwani)