Steel Donkey Bike Tours
If you’re in Barcelona and you fancy getting out and about on a bike for a few hours then you could do a lot worse than checking out Steel Donkey Bike Tours.
These guys have been around the block and are consistently recommended on TripAdvisor as a great way to see the city on two wheels.
They kindly asked me to join them one morning, and so, feeling like a modern-day Sancho Panza and on a very comfy set of wheels from Green Bikes, we set off from Plaça George Orwell with our guide whose name escapes me.
This lapse in memory is no reflection on the guide himself. He led the tour extremely well and was always ready to answer my questions. The groups are small, usually no more than 4 or 5, so I certainly felt there was opportunity to pick his brain. Read the rest of this article…
The thing I love about Barcelona is that there are so many areas which offer a different experience of the city. If you need a bit of space away from it all, you can walk down to the port on a quiet morning or if you fancy a browse and a coffee you can head up to the cool neighbourhood of Gràcia and people-watch in one of its sunny squares.
My perfect day in Barcelona involves coffee stops, wandering around, a little shopping and definitely a bit of rooftop drinking. I love it when I have family or friends visiting and I get to share all of this with them. Read the rest of this article…
Mercat de Santa Caterina roof tiles
I think El Born would have to be my favourite neighbourhood in Barcelona. It’s absolutely stunning. It can be a bit touristy at times but there are quiet streets to escape from the hustle and bustle. It is one of the smaller neighbourhoods, part of La Ribera which itself is part of the old town, Ciutat Vella. If you see a beautiful photo of a narrow Barcelona street in the sunlight, then chances are it will be from somewhere in El Born.
The food market for this neighbourhood is Santa Caterina with its beautiful mosaic tiled roof by the architects famous for the Scottish Parliament building. El Born also has my favourite church in Barcelona, Santa Maria del Mar, with its high vaulted ceilings and fascinating history. This church was the subject of the book Cathedral of the Sea. Set in 14th century Barcelona the construction of the church provides the backdrop to a story set at the height of the Spanish Inquisition. Read the rest of this article…
The terrace at Cafè del Born Nou, Plaça Comercial, 10
Choosing a neighborhood in Barcelona wasn’t easy at first. I was moving on after years of living in Madrid, what many call the most genuine Spanish city out there, and I had been warned that my experience in Barcelona might not be the same in that aspect. People told me that its authenticity wouldn’t be as palpable, and that I might have a hard time truly immersing myself into the culture. And this was something important for me.
After much debate and seeing at least thirty different apartments, it so happened that the one I fell in love with was in the Born. This had its pros and cons… the Born is a beautiful neighborhood with an awesome location, it’s lively and bustling yet safe and pleasant… but on the other hand, after the very diverse Raval, the Born is arguably the least “Catalan” neighborhood in the city. Having undergone a recent gentrification, the once seedy neighborhood has become one of the trendiest around, and its population has evolved into a cosmopolitan melting pot of bohemian expats, replanted immigrants, wandering tourists and the like. Read the rest of this article…
The Bloody Mary at Picnic
“My brother and I sometimes play a travel game where you get points for the number of countries you have visited – I’m at 40 whereas he is at 60+ so it’s going to be a while till I catch up, however I do believe that extra points should be awarded if you manage to live in a foreign country; especially one with a different language! Therefore, as a sun-loving Australian and after spending 6 years in grey London, how could I pass up the opportunity to move to and immerse myself in the fabulous city of Barcelona (and try to add to my travel points!).
My perfect day in Barcelona is during summer and begins with brunch at Picnic (c/ Comerç, 1). This is the place where the friendly staff serve hearty Bloody Mary’s in gigantic rustic jars! Disclaimer: Picnic actually opens at 12:30 but as this is my fantasy day it opens early for me! Read the rest of this article…