Spain – Barcelona the Bold!

Without doubt one of my top favorite cities in Europe!  Always great energy, spectacular food, bold art and architecture, wonderful places to stay, and any city on a beach gets my vote – the best of all worlds!

Barcelona also has some of the best food markets in the world. Though many travelers love La Boqueria just off of Las Ramblas (and so do I), but my personal favorite for lunch time is just near the Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter and is called Mercat Santa Caterina.  Here we are bellying up for a some wonderful home cooking.

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The Famous La Boqueria Market off of Las Ramblas
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My favorite market, Mercat Santa Caterina
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Some of my favorite meals were bellying up to the bar at a market for a home cooked meal or some fried fish.
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The freshest of juices in all varieties!
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If only we could shop like this at home, how I would be inspired to cook more!
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The fish is exceptional everywhere in Spain!

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Gaudi, whether you adore or deplore his style, everyone must admit it is mind-blowing architecture and exciting and has left an indelible mark on the beloved edginess of the city.

Climbing the stairs of La Sagrada Familia are still something I love to do time and again when visiting Barcelona. To think that the construction to the sky of this tallest building will still continue on for decades to come.

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Las Ramblas, always a wonderful stroll for people-watching!

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Wear your most comfortable shoes and be ready to walk and walk and walk. Las Ramblas is only the beginning!

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Another spectacular Gaudi creation!
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I think I lost count of the amount of ice cream breaks we had during our 3 week adventure!
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I also lost count of the numerous delicious wines we tried – always an occasion for a tasting! Along side some tomato and olive oil rubbed bread.
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Cheeses to die for!

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Gothic quarter
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There are quite a few wonderful roof top bars, this one at the Claris on Passeig de Gracias. Another great one is the Mercer in the Gothic Quarter.

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My most favorite meal of the trip!  La Pepita – This place is a must!! Ask Sofia to keep bringing you wonderful foods and then just let her know when she needs to stop! She and her boyfriend who is the chef have an incredibly successful formula!!

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La Pepita – the spot!!
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One of my most memorable meals at La Pepita!
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Delicious!

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Hotel Arts towers above the city

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Hotel Recap –

Hotel Arts is fantastic if you would like to be near the beach and they may have the best service in the city – international staff with multiple languages and always someone to assist.  Location is superb for beach, Barcelonetta and the cruise terminal. A bit of a walk to the old town.For top luxury in the thick of things, I would suggest Mandarin Oriental.

Some fantastic boutique hotels abound on Passeig de Gracia and I am glad to make suggestions for these as well as for some terrific apartments which are especially nice for families.

You can not go wrong for dining in this city, but if you are looking for some places that only the locals know about, these are my top picks –

 

Barcelona Personal Suggestions

Llamber

Carrer de la Fusina 5, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: 933 19 62 50

La Pepita

Carrer Còrsega 343, 08037 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: 93 238 48 93 

Flauta – excellent seafood, you stand in line for a table and then you pay at the cashier on way out.  All locals and delicious.

Carrar d’Aribau 23, Barcelona

Tel: 933 237 038 

The other casual but delicious option is to go the Market – Mercat Santa Caterina (near the cathedral). (You can also go to the famous market off of Las Ramblas –  La Boqueria but very crowded and I liked Mercat Santa Caterina actually a bit better!) There is a great spot here with home cooked meals and a stools around a square bar.  (right next to the bakery).

Mercat Santa Caterina – http://www.mercatsantacaterina.com/

 Avinguda de Francesc Cambo 16 Ciutat Vella, Parc, 08003 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: 34 93 3195 740

Drinks –

In Gothic Quarter – 

Wine at this great little spot with literally enough room for 6 people – have a snack. (There is a bathroom hidden behind a wall in case you do need to go)

Zim – http://www.barzimbcn.com

Carrer Dagueria 20, 08002 Barcelona

Passeig de la Gracia –

Roof top at Claris hotel for cocktails in evening with great views! http://www.mercerbarcelona.com/

Shoes

Must buy locally made Espadrilles for men and women

La Manual Alpargatera – Gothic Quarter

Calle Avinyo, 7

www.lamanualalpargatera.com

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