Barcelona, Europa, Länder, REISEFIEBER, Städte
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Oh Barcelona, La Gran Encisera…

…What have you done to me…

Three weeks in Barcelona…I don’t want to leave. This city won my heart on the QT, I had no chance to escape, even if I wanted to. The sunshine, the people, the food, the wine..and then there is this bewitching atmosphere that makes you feel a tiny weeny bit tipsy, as if you just had a few sips of tingling cava. No wonder that the poet Joan Maragall described Barcelona as „la gran encisera“ – the great enchantress.

Walking through the narrow streets, every few meters you find something extraoridnary, something that inspires you in a very special way. You want so soak up every single moment, want to have a drink in each of the countless lovingly furnished cafes and bars and want to try every tapa you find on the counters of the small tradional bodegas.

During my time in Barcelona I participated in a travel writing project, which was a great opportunity to get to know this amazing city as intensive as possible. The aim was to create a travel guide for young people who are coming to Barcelona for the first time, either for holiday or for studies. Our group, consisting of European students, explored the city in the daytime and at night as well, always looking out for interesting places, bohemian venues or affordable drinks and food. In the end we had plenty of reviews and features which we put together to an online guide.

Here are some of my favorite places in Barcelona, I was reviewing for the guide and want to share with you.

A Bohemian Village In The Heart Of Barcelona

Explore the Neighbourhood of Grácia

When the residents of Grácia make their way to the city centre, they say they are going “to Barcelona.” Although the area, which used to be an autonomic village, now belongs to Catalonia’s capital, the feeling of independence is still in everyone’s mind and becomes obvious in every single corner. As soon as you get off the metro L3 at Fontana station, which is only a few minutes’ ride away from the bustling center, nothing looks like a big city anymore. Strolling through the quiet narrow alleys, left and right you can find street art on garage doors or house walls and when you look up you see countless little balconies decorated with flowers, flags and political statements, which display the liberal atmosphere of the neighbourhood. From time to time you stumble upon beautiful market places, which absolutely cry out to you to sit down for a coffee and watch the locals, an interesting mixture of students, artists and retirees. In the evenings, the placas are the perfect location to enjoy a drink, for example at Plaça del Sol or Plaça de la Virreina.

Plaça de Rius i Taulet - The bell tower is a symbol for the independency of Grácia which is still in the residents' minds

Plaça de Rius i Taulet – The bell tower is a symbol for the independency of Grácia which is still in the residents‘ minds

Houses with countless little balconies are typical for the Grácia neighbourhood

Houses with countless little balconies are typical for the Grácia neighbourhood

Watch out for artisitic details in every corner

Watch out for artisitic details in every corner

Charming little alley

Charming little alley

Plaça de la Virreina - the best place to end an afternoon in Grácia with a nice glass of wine...

Plaça de la Virreina – the best place to end an afternoon in Grácia with a nice glass of wine…

Retirees join up at the Plaças...

Retirees join up at the Plaças…

...next to them young locals meet for "Botellón"

…next to them young locals meet for „Botellón“

Anyone looking for ordinary restaurants or retail chains will feel absolutely out of place in Grácia. Instead, you can find all kinds of organic, vegetarian or vegan food and the variety of international restaurants ranges from Mexican, Greek and Italian to Japanese and African, which reflects the multiculturalism of the area. However, there are also some really cute and low priced local venues, like the Bar Canigó at Plaça Revolució where you get a heaping glass of Cava for €2 and a big plate amazing Patatas Bravas with the best Mojo sauce in town for €3,50. The Plaça Revolució is also a perfect starting point to explore the most famous street in Grácia, the Calle Verdi. Walking along the bustling but peaceful pedestrian area, it is impossible to pass by the colourful display windows without having at least a quick look into the shops. Here, you mainly find vintage fashion and individual pieces made by local designers. Not the best place for bargains, but definitely a must-see for the prettiest clothes is the VOS Shop. The Calle Verdi also hosts many charming cafés and wine bars, however, if you’re interested in very good and cheap wine at a special location, you have to pay a visit to “La Mujer de la Bodega”. Curious? Find out yourself!

The VOS Shop at Calle Verdi

The VOS Shop at Calle Verdi

Vintage Shopping

Vintage Shopping

Vintage Shopping

Vintage Shopping

Bar Canigó

Bar Canigó

Organic Ice Cream

Organic Ice Cream

Cozy little Mexican restaurant

Cozy little Mexican restaurant

Bodega E. Marín where "La Mujer de la Bodega" welcomes her guests every evening. You can get 1,5 liter of regional wine for only €2.

Bodega E. Marín where „La Mujer de la Bodega“ welcomes her guests every evening. You can get 1,5 liter of regional wine for only €2.

Inside the Bodega you find all kind of wine and spirits from the last 100 years

Inside the Bodega you find all kind of wine and spirits from the last 100 years

Even though, one of the most well known sights of Barcelona, Gaudí’s Park Güell, is located in Grácia, the neighbourhood is anything but touristy and an insiders dream! Lovers of the bohemian lifestyle and of extraordinary stuff will lose their heart to Grácia and will want to come back again and again.

View over the city from Park Güell

View over the city from Park Güell

Plaça del Sol – Carrer del Planeta
Plaça de la Virreina – Carrer Santa Creu / Carrer d’Astúries
Plaça Revolució de Setembre 1868 – Carrer Ramon y Cajal
Bar Canigó – Carrer de Verdi, 2
The VOS Shop – Carrer deVerdi, 24
„La Mujer de la Bodega“: Bodega E. Marín – Carrer de Milà i Fontanals, 72

Vintage Shopping

La Carrer Riera Baixa – A Hidden Vintage Paradise

Only a few steps away from bustling La Rambla, nestled in the bohemian neighbourhood of El Raval, you will find one of the hippest places when it comes to vintage and retro shopping. La Carrer de Riera Baixa is only a very small back lane that can easily be overlooked, but what you find inside the colourful shops, which resemble garages, is definitely eye-catching. Upon entering the stores, you will be overwhelmed by all kinds of fashion and accessories from the last several decades in all price categories. You can also find unique pieces from unknown designers who have their ateliers in the back of the shops, like in the shop „…de faralaee…“ (Riera Baixa 9) where the leather artist Tito Pellicer is designing beautiful leather handbags made from Catalan materials. One bag is €200, but they last a lifetime and match every outfit (For more information and pictures see his facebook page ). For the very brave among you, a tattoo studio is located on the street, as well as a hairdresser and a small tapas bar. The bohemian lifestyle of the Riera Baixa becomes even more obvious when looking at the opening times: If one of the owners has a boozy night out, it may occasionally happen that the shop remains closed. A great feature: From September the street will convert into a vintage market every Saturday from 11 am until 8:30 pm.

The small and narrow "Carrer Riera Baixa" is anything but ordinary

The small and narrow „Carrer Riera Baixa“ is anything but ordinary

One of the charming Vintage Shops that are located on the alley

One of the charming Vintage Shops that are located on the alley

Inside the shops you can spend hours rummaging in the retro clothes

Inside the shops you can spend hours rummaging in the retro clothes

The shop "...de faralaee..." at Riera Baixa 9..

The shop „…de faralaee…“ at Riera Baixa 9..

...in the showroom you find all kind of retro clothes...

…in the showroom you find all kind of retro clothes…

...in the backyard Tito Pellicer is designing his leather bags

…in the backyard Tito Pellicer is designing his leather bags

Some of his creations

Some of his creations

La Carrer de Riera Baixa, 08001 Barcelona / Neighbourhood: El Raval / Metro: Liceu (L3) / Hours Vintage market: From September every Saturday from 11 am to 8:30 pm / riera-baixa.com

A Collector’s Dream

Vintage Book Market Sant Antoni

Although the handwriting is faded, you can still read the loving words written by a young Spanish man from the German town of Freiburg to his sister in the year 1910. At the Vintage Book Market in Sant Antoni you can find a huge collection of hand-written postcards like this, each of them telling a story of bygone days and for €5-€10 you can acquire those very special souvenirs. Beside stalls filled with postcards, you will find all kinds of books, vinyl records, old Spanish magazines, photographs and everything else, a collector’s heart desires. The atmosphere at the small but beautiful market, taking place every Sunday, is relaxed and you can spend hours just browsing through the stalls alongside locals of all ages. To make the morning perfect, you can enjoy a hot drink and a delicious pastry in one of the cozy cafés nearby.

Hustle and Bustle at the Vintage Book Market in Sant Antoni

Hustle and Bustle at the Vintage Book Market in Sant Antoni

Here you find all kind of old books, magazines, photos and other bric-a-brac

Here you find all kind of old books, magazines, photos and other bric-a-brac

A very special souvenir are the written postcards you find at the market. This one is from the town of Freiburg and was written in 1910.

A very special souvenir are the written postcards you find at the market. This one is from the town of Freiburg and was written in 1910.

Book Market Sant Antoni, Comte d’Urgell 1, 08011 Barcelona / Neighbourhood: Eixample / Metro: Sant Antoni (L2) / Hours: Every Sunday 10 am – 3 pm

Relaxing High above Barcelona’s Streets

Two Rooftop Bars you should not miss this summer

What better way to end off a hot summer day in Barcelona than with a cold drink at a classy location, while your eyes feast over a stunning view of the city. During the summer months, Barcelona’s hippest hotels open their rooftop bars for the public in the evenings. We found two exclusive bars where you can spend some time relaxing on a glamorous patio, without paying a fortune.

La Terraza at Hotel Villa Emilia

As soon as the elevator doors open at the top floor of the Hotel Villa Emilia, a chilly summer breeze touches your skin and light chill-out music eases you into a relaxing atmosphere that lets you forget about the bustle of the streets beneath you. Palm trees and cozy black and white lounge sofas invite you to make yourself comfortable while enjoying a mouth-watering Mojito and some complementary olives, above you only the shiny blue evening sky and around you the roofs of the neighbourhood Eixample. During Happy Hour from 6 – 8 pm every night, each cocktail and Gin Tonic is €5 instead of the usual €10 and beer on tap is €2,50, which is reasonable considering the size, taste and the remarkable location.

Relaxing a little bit posh...that's the characteristic of the Villa Emilia Rooftop Bar

Relaxing a little bit posh…that’s the characteristic of the Villa Emilia Rooftop Bar

Chilling above Barcelona's roofs

Chilling above Barcelona’s roofs

During Happy Hour all Cocktails and Gin Tonics are only €5

During Happy Hour all Cocktails and Gin Tonics are only €5

Just chillin'

Just chillin‘

Hotel Villa Emilia, Calle Calàbria, 115-117, 08015 Barcelona / Neighbourhood: Eixample / Metro: Rocafort Station (L1) / Hours: Daily 6 pm – 1 am, Happy Hour 6 pm – 8 pm, Thursday Live Music / hotelvillaemilia.com

Skybar at Grand Central Hotel Barcelona

Thank you, Grand Central Hotel, for welcoming non-guests to your rooftop bar in the evenings! Otherwise poor students without the luxury of super-rich significant others couldn’t enjoy the pleasure of the breathtaking view from your luxurious patio. Although, during the opening times (from 7:30 pm until 12:30 am) you’re not allowed to swim in the pool that hangs off the building’s edge, it is pure bliss to just lounge on a deckchair and look over Barcelona’s endless sea of lights while the water in the pool changes colours. A glass of wine is €5, beer €4 and small snacks €3-5 which isn’t ideal for the budget-conscious traveler, however, still acceptable considering the location. The guests are mainly young locals starting out their night at this relaxing rooftop bar.

Young locals relaxing on the pool

Young locals relaxing on the pool

The drinks are not cheap, but for the breathtaking view and the great atmosphere absolutely reasonable

The drinks are not cheap, but for the breathtaking view and the great atmosphere absolutely reasonable

Grand Central Hotel, Via Laietana, 30, 08003 Barcelona / Neighbourhood: Barrio Gótico / Metro: Jaume I (L4) / Hours: Daily 7:30 pm – 12:30 am / grandhotelcentral.com

Snapshots Barcelona

Now book your flight, discover Barcelona yourself and let the great enchantress bewitch you!

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