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Destination: Barcelona

Destination: Barcelona

My sister doing an MBA program in Barcelona has given me some great perks—fabulous clothes for my birthday, the role of favorite daughter because I’m closest to home…but visiting her for a week over Thanksgiving was definitely the best treat of all!

For those planning a European getaway this spring, Barcelona is a must-see destination. Tapas, sangria, Gaudi architecture AND it’s on the Mediterranean? What could beat that?

Below I include some of my personal favorite spots should you be headed to Barca anytime soon. Disfrute!

Los Restaurantes y Las Barras:
We wanted to be sure to get our fill of tapas while in Spain. My favorite tapas were from Lolita—a casual restaurant where you sit at the bar and are served your food as soon as the plates are ready. Its very reasonably priced with authentic Catalan tapas—don’t miss the croquettas and patatas bravas!

Another must-eat-at restaurant has a bit of Barcelona history mixed into its amazing menu and décor. Els Quatre Gats was frequented by Spanish master Pablo Picasso and has continued to be a hot spot for visiting artists and celebrities.

Barcelona is also known for their delicious seafood. La Paradeta is a fun restaurant where you pick the seafood you want and it is cooked on the spot. Typically there are long lines, but it’s definitely worth the wait! Check out the Born location—a great area of town with lots of nightlife and shops open late.

The nightlife in Barca doesn’t typically start until after midnight and goes until 6am. A fun, interactive bar was La Bolsa (meaning “Stock Exchange”) where the prices of drinks change as the number of people who are ordering them fluctuates. Clearly it was a big hit with the MBA students…

Los Museos y Los Atracciones:
As an art lover, I dragged my brother along to every museum he could stand. My favorite art museum was by far the Picasso Museum. With an extensive collection of Picasso’s works located in a beautifully constructed brick building, this was a must-see for anyone visiting the city. Two interesting exhibits: Picasso’s reworkings of Velasquez’s Las Meninas and Picasso Looks at Degas—a thoughtful exploration of the similarities between these two remarkably different aesthetics.

You can’t go to Barcelona without seeing the Gaudi architecture. A turn of the century architect with an almost impossible to categorize style, Gaudi’s works are astounding. Two apartment buildings located on Passeig de Gracia are a must see—a tour of La Pedrera explains his construction methods and inspiration, and a trip to the roof which is covered in tiled spires with a view of the city. La Sagrada Familia, a massive church that is STILL being constructed (work on the church began in 1882), is an incredible structure that looks like a sand castle with organic motifs. For an afternoon walk, a trip to Park Güell gives you an unbelievable view of the whole city and was designed and lived in by Gaudi (and where ANTM’s runway in Season 7 was filmed!).

We had great weather for late November (mid 50’s and sunny), but if you’re traveling in the spring, make use of the beautiful beaches along the coast in the Barceloneta area of the city. Renting bikes is a great option for enjoying the beach scenery.

Although my Spanish is terrible (even after taking it for five years in middle school and high school…) and I don’t know any Catalan, Barcelona was easy to navigate because of the friendly people, cheap cabs, and idiot-proof Metro system.

If you’re looking for a fun trip with incredible food, culture and art, Barcelona is definitely la mejor cuidad!

Posted by Sarah