Spring in Barcelona is perfect. As the sun peeks through Gaudi’s insanely beautiful spires you often stop to wonder why Barcelona isn’t your favorite city in Europe. But you’re here for the tennis, you fancy person you, mingling with the city’s ‘It’ crowd at the Barcelona Open at the clay courts of Real De Club Tennis and at the boxes at Gran Premio De España Pirelli between the 8th and 10th of May. But even if you are just hanging out plebian style, there’s enough to do in Barcelona to keep you occupied through both events. If you’re looking for an itinerary, then start your three weeks with tennis, drive through Andalucia, head to Madrid for more clay action at the Mutua Madrid, and drive back or fly back to Barcelona for some Formula One. Here’s a guide to Barcelona, our well loved, Eat See & Do!
After you spend the day out exploring Gaudi’s many delights after which you decide to max your card out at Masimmo Dutti at La Rambla– I don’t blame you, just cross the busy street and make a beeline for the Bouqueria market. Finding Pinotxo is hard, almost impossible so make sure you’re not painfully hungry because then everything else that is so much easier to find will tempt you. Resist; the scallops are worth it. You need to look for stall number 91. Order a glass of sangria, and get ready to point at every platter you like. You can’t pronounce the dishes or predict the final bill so ensure you have at least a 100 euro on you, just in case. This is also pickpocket friendly, so hold on to that purse and pat yourself down on a regular basis. Other Eats include Arola and the best restaurant in the world, El Celler de Can Roca – no this is not a hyperbole, it was in fact named the best restaurant in the world in 2013.
Where do we start? Well let’s give you the top three you cannot miss. La Sagrada Familia is the roofless, piece de resistance of the eccentric Antoni Gaudí. Why unfinished? Because he was run over and killed by a tram in 1926. Representative of the architectural style modernismo, this cathedral will be the highlight of your trip. Next? The Catalan National Art Museum, which holds the world’s largest collection of Gothic paintings. There is also the Museu Picasso of course, especially if you are an art fan. But beware this is not Picasso’s best collection and you’re not going to be able to see the Guernica because it’s home is in Madrid at the Renia Sofia. Finally do the Gaudi walking tour, because Gaudi is Barcelona. Those who want to pay homage to Barca should head to Camp Nou, Barcelona’s most visited museum. View the trophies, check out the Messi space, get into footballer headspace and run down the player tunnel, right into the green and imagine 100,000 people chanting.
An avid cyclist? Explore the city using a steel donkey, also known as a bicycle. It’s perfect to explore the Garcia district or the old Steel Donkey bike tours old-industrial ruins of Poblenou. Perfect to get lost in because at least you won’t tire as fast. (Steel Donkey Tours, +34 657286854). You can also ride a Ferrari round the F1 circuit. No, really. Want to drive a machine that has 490 horsepower and a V8 engine capable of doing 0-100km/h in 4 seconds? Well then head to the Circuit de Catalunya and do just that. Warning: it’s not cheap.
Or perhaps you plan to stay even longer in Barcelona- you lucky devil, and catch the Primavera, the city’s way of saying ‘howdy’ to Spring. (28th May 2015 to Saturday 30th May) Patti Smith & her band are performing Horses. That’s worth the entire trip alone. Primavera is a music festival pan genre, the best kind. There’s something for everyone. If you happen to be there in June, then you have Sonar 2015 (18, 19, 20th June), a concept concert that melds technology, music and creativity and perfect for EDM fans.
Forget that Lonely Planet and reach for The Shadow of the Wind by Carolos Ruis Zafon which is set in 1950’s Barcelona and is the perfect introduction to this dreamlike city.
For some more flavor of Barcelona:
Reshma got so lost looking for the library in the novel that she treated herself to insanely good flaming chorizos and beer. She doesn’t remember where that was, but she’s certain to find it if you take her with you when you go.