My perfect day in Barcelona starts early. It’s a sunny Saturday morning around 7.30 at the end of May. The alarm goes off, even though I would love to stay in bed, I don’t think twice! The Mediterranean Sea and the deserted beaches are calling. I’ll get my clothes on and out the door in no time. Walking my quiet street towards the Ciutadella Park. Here I meet the joggers and dog owners, for a split second we enjoy the silent city together. I turn on to Carrer Wellington, then a left on Av. Icària and then a right on to Carrer Ramon Trias Fargas. Then it’s just straight down and I can smell the sea. As I arrive, I stop for a second, take a deep breath and I start to walk towards the neighbourhood Barceloneta. Half way to the W hotel, I meet the lady that always has her make up perfectly done at this hour, doesn’t matter if it’s Monday or Saturday. Further on I meet the old man jogging a long the beachfront, always with the greatest smile on his face. On the beach in front of the gym Club Natació Atlètic-Barceloneta, the old ladies and gentlemen are preparing for their morning swim. Read the rest of this article…
I’m up early, before the sun, hoping that the coffee grinder doesn’t wake the kids as I prepare a Bialetti full of fragrant Ethiopian Sidamo. The smell of the beans, recently roasted at Cafès Ros, fills the kitchen.
I’ve had my caffeine fix and I park my motorbike near Nova Icària beach. The sun is over the horizon now and it glitters off the sea, throwing a long shadow behind me and making me squint. I put my headphones on and start to run. Along to the Forum, turn around, down to Barceloneta and the W hotel, then back to where I started. The beach is coming to life as the temperature rises, and I people-watch for a while before heading home. Read the rest of this article…
Barcelona is a city of perfect days. Among all the cities I’ve visited, I consider it to be among the most liveable and lovable metropolises on Earth. Blessed with warm weather more than six months a year, flanked by the ocean and mountains, great nightlife and culture, dozens of parks, loads of good museums, bike lanes, citywide free wi-fi, and a broad variety of people from all over the world, each day in Barcelona is better than the last.
Which makes it hard to pick a ‘Perfect Day in Barcelona,’ but for the purpose of this article, I will try. In this edition of A Perfect Day in Barcelona I will try to illustrate not only Barcelona’s variety—food, culture, nature and wide open spaces—but its infrastructure as well.
Barcelona’s city planners prioritize pedestrians over cars. You can see this with its sidewalks that are as wide—if not wider—than the roads for vehicles, and there are lanes and parking stands for bikes everywhere. A city not so big, you can get everywhere on foot, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, or scooter, if you are so inclined. But should your feet fail you, there is Barcelona’s public transport system with buses, trams, and metros which are well-run and are relatively cheap.
Barcelona is a city that is centred on life. Tired? Here’s a bench to sit on. Thirsty? There are water fountains everywhere. Bored? Just go to any plaça and you will find buskers and performers so talented you wonder why they aren’t on television or on stage. Libraries and parks are open to the public so that people can exercise their body as well as their minds. Dogs are welcome in many establishments, and those that don’t, provide cute little leash hooks outside their doors so that man’s best friend doesn’t wander away. Read the rest of this article…
“Fantasy comes from ghosts. Fantasy is the people of the North.
We are concrete. The ideal is from the Mediterranean.
Orestes knows where he is going, while Hamlet wanders lost in doubt.”
“La fantasia ve dels fantasmes. La fantasia és de la gent del Nord.
Nosaltres som concrets. La imatge és de la Mediterrània.
Orestes sap on va, mentre que Hamlet divaga perdut entre dubtes.”
– Antonio Gaudí
I’m not an urban planner or an architect or even a philosopher. I can’t claim to know exactly why one city feels like an overwhelming mess and the next is as well-balanced as BARCELONA. But after 10 years here (living in 7 of her neighborhoods) I recognise that there are a few elements which I believe make her as close to perfection as a city could hope to be. Here they are in a 24 hour experience on any given Summer’s day in BARCELONA. Read the rest of this article…
My perfect day would be a sunny Saturday in early May, when the weather is fine and you notice for the first time the smell of summer in the air.
I get up early and drive my motorbike to the Carretera de les Aigües for a morning jog. This is a beautiful path in the Parc de Collserola where you have an amazing view over the city and at the same time can enjoy the greenery and fresh air. Jogging while watching the sun rise and with the awakening city at your feet is priceless.
After a refreshing shower it’s time for breakfast. I go for a strong fork-breakfast because we have a long day ahead. Can Vilaro is a family run restaurant in the Sant Antoni area where I love to go. Cisco, the owner, is always in a cheering mood. He advises me on what to have. I always plan to try something new, but most of the time end up ordering the same as always: butifarra amb mongetes and some tomato bread on the side. It’s delicious and sets me up for the rest of the day. Read the rest of this article…
My perfect day in Barcelona is perfectly simple. It consists solely of wandering around, stopping only to eat and drink.
I’ve lived in Barcelona for 8 months now after moving here in September 2014 and my favourite thing to do at the weekend is to wander around my local neighbourhood (barrio) whilst stopping off at bars, cafes and restaurants along the way.
The majority of my ‘perfect day’ would be spent locally in the areas of Born, Barceloneta and the Gothic quarter. I love exploring everything this great city has to offer, but I’ll stay close by for the purpose of this article, otherwise I could write for days.
Every day must start with a beautiful breakfast and at the weekend I treat myself by eating out. I’d start at a nearby square, Plaça de Sant Cugat, and sit outside one of my favourite places, Alsur Café. The menu is wonderfully varied. You can opt for the traditional café con leche with a pastry or try something a bit more adventurous like something from their diverse tea range.
It’s been more than 13 years since I landed at the airport of El Prat Barcelona and first started to enjoy Barcelona’s perfect days. Originally from Holland, I was living in Amsterdam at that time, when I decided to do an Erasmus in the Catalan capital. Barcelona was becoming more and more popular, but it had not reached the popularity it knows nowadays.
Over the years my perfect days have changed. In the beginning I enjoyed all the different sightseeing places Barcelona has to offer and I loved to discover the hidden and peculiar places of the city. My first summer here I also spent many hours at the beach, but now I hardly go there at all during the busy holiday season. And of course, I have seen a lot of the fantastic nightlife Barcelona has to offer. Read the rest of this article…