August 30, 2018

Basking in Barcelona

Barcelona: the city of fantastic tapas, sandy beaches, stunning architecture and sunny skies. There's something for everyone here. La Rambla can be a shopper's paradise, but you can easily find splurge-worthy purchases in the old-fashioned Gothic Quarter, too. Food lovers will delight in the many tasty eats like empandas, seafood paella and endless tapas. Here's what you should check out when you're in this Catalan city. —Amanda Nunes


stay. At the Bonavista Virreina Apartments you can sprawl out in the spacious Aparthotel located in the hip area of Gracia. The one-bedroom apartment is the perfect hideaway with its modern vibe, comfortable beds and a compact kitchen (complete with a little welcome bag of kitchen essentials). You'll find everything you need in the surrounding neighbourhood, with bakeries, a tapas bar and groceries just a stones throw away. You can even walk to Parc Güell and Sagrada Família in less than 20 minutes. The best part? After a long day of sightseeing, unwind on the rooftop terrace to catch the sunset. If Spanish isn't your first language, no sweat. When you book with you can grab an ili device for on-the-fly translation. Smaller than a cell phone, ili translates languages offline instantly within 0.2 seconds.


see. Parc Guell is stunning public space designed by famous architect Gaudi. The space is enchanting, full of organic curves and unexpected touches (like a multi-coloured salamander made out of tiles and mosaic walls). It’s a truly unique place that can’t be missed. La Sagrada Familia is Gaudi's towering church that's still under construction (expected completion date: 2030). In the meantime, it’s a breathtaking building to behold with intricate details. The longer you look at it, the more you discover.


shop. The endless stalls at La Boqueria market is heaven for food lovers. Freshly caught fish lie on beds of ice, next to stalls featuring freshly shaved Jamón Ibérico. Bright rows of gummy candy line another, while around the corner fresh zucchini blossoms are sold. If you’re in the mood for a snack, there are lots to choose from. We recommend the fish skewers: cod fish is lightly battered, fried to order and placed still steaming on a wooden skewer. Next, head to the gothic quarter, to La Manual Alpargatera. At this family run shop, rows of handmade espadrilles line the shelves like books. Styles vary from flats to towering wedges to delicate slip-ons that tie around your ankle. They’re available in tonnes of colours, and can be customized if you wish.


eat. You can’t step foot into Barcelona without trying a few delicious tapas. Gatamala is a tiny bar that’s packed to the brim with locals and a few tourists in the know. The friendly owners still follow the traditional tapas formula: one free tapas for each drink ordered. Then, indulge your sweet tooth at Granja M. Viader. Warm churros are served alongside cups of thick, rich hot chocolate topped with fluffy whipped cream. Yum.

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