Over the holidays my friends and I were discussing where we had been in Europe and what places were still on our bucket list of places to see and explore. As it turns out none of us had ever been to Barcelona, mainly due to the press and it’s reporting of how along with Venice and Dubrovnik the city was just overrun with tourists.
After having looked into it in more detail it turns out that the overcrowding is due to the massive cruise ships that pull into port during the summer months and unload their thousands of passengers onto Barcelona’s streets for a day of sightseeing.
Having decided that this should not be a problem in the middle of May, my friends and I decided that Barcelona would be a great place to go for a short trip.
With our tickets in hand, we left work early on Friday and headed straight to Luton Airport for our 17:05 easyJet flight to the Catalonian capital.
OD Hotel Barcelona
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When someone asks me to meet them on the Ramblas I’m immediately concerned, it’s a bit too hectic for my liking. But my fears were soon allayed as we headed into the foyer of Hotel 1898 – the former headquarters of the General Philippines Tobacco Company.
Originally designed by Catalan architect Josep Oriol Mestres as the private residence of the López y López family, this beautiful, colonial-style building has many original features and the letters FTC (Filipino Tobacco Company) still adorn the entrance-way. A brief walk through the downstairs lounge and we are out on Carrer del Pintor Fortuny, away from the hectic Rambla and our food tour really begins!
I have been invited on the Savor Spain food tour by marvellous Marwa, owner of Wanderbeak Tours, a company just beginning to make their mark on Barcelona and definitely one to watch out for.
Wanderbeak Barcelona Food Tour
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The beach at Barceloneta
Barcelona will forever be, in my eyes, one of the most beautiful and enchanting cities in the world. Its vibrant atmosphere, laid back approach to life, glorious Mediterranean weather and unique charm doesn’t quite compare to the gloomy and overpriced London (the city where I was born and bred). Without a doubt my perfect day in Barcelona would take place mid-May – the weather is warm, but not unbearably hot, and tourists are beginning to flock in left, right and centre, giving the Catalan capital that vibrant buzz that I so adore. Not to mention, May is the month of my birthday and I’m sure all Taurus’ and Gemini’s would agree with me in saying that May is undeniably the best month of the year.
Whilst students are notorious for being lazy, some may find it ironic that I enjoy nothing more than an early rise and a productive day. Consequently, I would begin my perfect day in Barcelona with a 7am wake up, followed by a morning run along the golden sounds of the nearby Barceloneta beach. Not only is it a great workout and an opportunity to gather my thoughts for the day but I get to enjoy the city in its rare tranquil state. Read the rest of this article…
Parc de la Ciutadella
A massive downpour to clean the streets of the night before – and people. Take an umbrella and walk through Ciutadella Park. Sit by the boating lake, a tiny area of water with about 20 boats that pile up fast like a Friday night traffic jam. Over to the Born and En Aparté for coffee or wine. The service is good, friendly. Predominantly French fare so it’s cheese with ham, cheese with bread, cheese with cheese. Or cheese. Apart from the carrot cake. The coffee’s good. So is the price. There’s the brunch menu at weekends.
Head up to CosmoCaixa for no other reason than to walk through the rainforest. Be attacked by a bird (it happened). Worry that the “thing” wandering around the swamp missed breakfast and that the anaconda’s developed an exit strategy. (It wasn’t asleep and they’re fast). Walk down the hill because you can, past houses that look like a set from The Addams Family. Read the rest of this article…
Enrique Tomás on Carrer de Pelai
My perfect day in Barcelona would definitely start with an Iberian ham sandwich, no tomato please, I might be the only Catalan that doesn’t like pà amb tomàquet – no one is perfect.
Food is a big part of a perfect day, and I would start with Iberian ham from Enrique Tomás on Carrer de Pelai, there’s nothing like good quality Iberian ham.
I would walk down las Ramblas in the morning after breakfast at around 10am, any later will be a battle between tourists and locals. It is a pity that the city centre has become a forbidden place for locals since you know how crowded it would be so you don’t want to fight every step you make. Although this changes with the season, I certainly hope that Barcelona tourism is sustainable and tourism in the future combines the local needs with tourism growth. Read the rest of this article…