Good morning. This week we’re off to Spain, to the vibrant city of.…Barcelona!
The vibrant metropolis of Barcelona, located in the heart of Catalonia, Spain, boasts a rich history and a lively city center teeming with an array of attractions. Its energetic streets are adorned with architecturally stunning buildings, captivating art, vibrant markets, and inviting parks. From the awe-inspiring Sagrada Familia to the bustling La Rambla, Barcelona offers a tapestry of experiences, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in its culture, gastronomy, and remarkable landmarks.
Need to know…
✈️ Flight time: 2hrs
⏰ Time difference: +1hr
🔌 Travel adapter: EU Standard Type C
💷 Currency: Euro
🌡️ Weather: Today a high of 28°c
😋 Must try dishes: There’s a huge amount of great food to taste in Barcelona. In fact my mouth is watering just thinking about it all. A few must-haves. Paella is top of the list. Although Valencia is the home of Paella, trust me when I say you can get amazing Paella in Barcelona. Bombas are another must try. Essentially a tapas dish, these deep fried mashed potato balls are filled with meat or seafood and topped with a tangy sauce. Finally, if you’re visiting at the end of January, you might be in luck to taste some Calçots. Basically a bigger, milder spring onion only grown in Catalonia, you can get these grilled to dip in Romesco sauce.
🚲 Getting around: Barcelona can be explored by foot, but it can also be hilly and hot, so consider where you’re visiting before heading out. There’s a great metro network that makes it easy to get around the city, as well as trams and an urban train network (FGC). There’s also lots of buses, and plenty of cycle lanes if you’re planning on cycling around the city. If you’re planning on using public transport a lot during your visit, consider getting a Hola Barcelona travel card.
💬 Key phrases & slang:
Merci (Thank you)
Fem un café? (Let’s have a coffee)
Salut i força al canut! (To health and money (cheers))
Puc veure el menú? (Can I see the menu?)
What to do?
Rub a chubby cat’s balls, or go fairy-hunting in the most magical bar…
⛲ This week we start with the Canaletes Fountain. You can't miss it - it's where the heart of Barcelona beats. Picture this: surrounded by passionate football fans, the energy is electric. I stood there, caught up in the celebration after a big Barça win. The fountain witnessed pure joy and connected us all, locals and visitors alike. There’s also an inscription on the fountain, that if you drink water from it, you will return to Barcelona - so make sure to have a sip as you’ll definitely want to come back!
🍬 Next, let's stroll to Caelum shop and cafeteria. Hidden down a quaint alley, it felt like stepping into a charming storybook. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and the taste of heavenly sweets enchanted my senses. This café stocks a ridiculously huge assortment of religious goodies (mainly sweets and liquors) from nunneries, monasteries and and other religious congregations across Spain. In fact there’s a lot of delicious treats in this store that you can only get at the monasteries and nunneries themselves.
🎶 Next on the adventure list, the musical haven, Casa Beethoven. This hole in the wall store surrounds you with musical history, with probably one of the widest selections of sheet music I’ve ever seen. Looking for some music for a song you love but don’t know the name? The staff pride themselves on being able to tell you the song you’re after if you sing it to them. My voice isn’t great so I passed on that 😅
🏛️ Seeking out some history? You have to check out the remails of the Roman temple devoted to Augustus. Dating back to the 1st century, only 4 columns remain of a temple originally situated atop Mons Taber, the highest point in the city. It’s one of the more unknown sights in Barcelona, but well worth a visit.
🛗 Now, for a panoramic thrill, I highly recommend heading to the top of the Columbus Monument. At the base you’ll find a lift that’ll take you up to the top where you’ll have the most amazing view of the city. From here the city looks like a piece of living artwork.
🏠 Ever visited Casa Vicens? In this mesmerising house (the first major project he designed) you’ll find Gaudí's magic in every corner. The colours and designs were like an artistic dance, a symphony of architecture. If you’ve been to some of his more well-known sites in the city, then this has to be next on your to-do-list.
🌅 Now, a sunset to remember at the Bunkers Barcelona. This suggestion is definitely becoming more mainstream and well known, but still worth including if you want to see the best sunset view of the city. As the sun dips, the sky turns into a canvas of vibrant hues, the city lights began to sparkle, and stood there, I can guarantee you’ll be amazed by the stunning panoramic view. It's a sight that lingers in your memory, a moment of serenity amidst the bustling city.
🐱 For a touch of quirky luck, you have to visit The Cat of Raval. Created by Colombian sculptor and painter, Fernando Botero and gifted to the city in 1987, you’ll find this monument on Rambla del Raval. I promise I’m not just winding you up - but legend has it, if you rub the bronze chubby cat’s balls it will bring you good luck 😂😅
🧚 After that you’ll definitely need a drink, and there’s no place better than El Bosc de les Fades. Stepping into this enchanted forest-themed bar was like entering a fantasy world. The ambiance was magical, with dim lights and whimsical décor - I half expected a fairy to appear! Sipping on my drink amidst the magical setting was pure enchantment.
Where to stay?
Experience one of the coolest rooftop pools in Barcelona
First up, I wanted to tell you about the amazing 5* OHLA Barcelona. 🏨 Imagine a place where modern luxury meets history - that's OHLA for you. As you step in, you're greeted by this sleek, contemporary design that immediately feels like a warm embrace. The rooms? Oh, pure comfort. From the softest beds to the thoughtful touches, every inch whispers relaxation. And guess what? The rooftop pool and terrace? Absolute game-changers. Sipping a cocktail while taking in the panoramic views of the city - it's like a dream come true.
Next on the list, we've got The Barcelona Edition. 🌟 If you're into sophisticated vibes and a touch of glam, this place is your jam. The moment you walk in, you're hit by this chic, timeless design. The rooms are a blend of elegance and comfort - it's like they've nailed the art of cosiness. And the on-site restaurant? Divine. From brunch to dinner, the flavors are a dance on your taste buds. Plus, the rooftop bar? It's like the city's at your feet, and you're on top of the world.
Finally, my third suggestions is SOHO House Barcelona. 🛋️ If you're after that homey yet luxurious vibe, you're in for a treat. The whole place feels like your dream apartment, but with all the perks of a top-notch hotel. The communal areas - a haven for social butterflies. It's like you're in a cosy, stylish hub where conversations flow like good wine. The rooftop pool? The cherry on top. Imagine taking a dip while the Barcelona sun kisses your skin - it's paradise.
The beautiful French city of - Nice
Next week, get ready to immerse yourself in the stunning city of Nice, nestled on the French Riviera. Known for its dazzling azure waters, breathtaking Promenade des Anglais, and vibrant markets, Nice is a traveler's delight. Explore the picturesque Old Town (Vieux Nice) with its narrow winding streets, vibrant facades, and charming cafes. Don't miss out on the iconic Colline du Château for a panoramic view that will steal your breath away. And of course, savor the delectable Niçoise cuisine, from the famous Salade Niçoise to the irresistible socca. Nice is a blend of French elegance and Mediterranean allure that promises an unforgettable journey.🌴
We really want to leverage the incredible travel knowledge from the thousands of subscribers that make up our Porter community. Therefore, if you’ve ever visited Nice, let us know the things you loved doing, or the places you stayed at. If we love your recommendations we’ll feature them in next week’s newsletter.