8am: Rub your eyes as you sit sleepily in Granja de Viader, the oldest family-run business in Barcelona. It’s not the flashiest place to look at, but then that’s not the point here. Order a thick hot chocolate with churros (heavenly Spanish doughnuts) and dip away in the presence of 140 years of history.
10am: Meander down to the heart of the city, where you’ll find La Boqueria, Barcelona’s most famous food market. Prepare to marvel at the exotic and brightly coloured fruit displays. As you near the centre, hundreds of fishy faces will greet you, as will the scent of the finest catches of the day and the loud calls of the fishmongers.
11am: Take the metro to Glories, home to Barcelona’s kookiest flea market ‘Els Encants Vells’ (the old charms fair). Shuffle along with the crowds and barter in the beating sunshine for incredible finds from antique furniture to an old lady’s collection of lace and family photographs.
2pm: Suculent, a restaurant in the slightly more erratic but fascinating Raval area of the city, is brand spanking new to Barcelona. Chef Romero offers wonderful rice dishes including the sweetest prawns from neighbouring Tarragona and sea anemones. Share a bowl… you’ll be needing the space for dinner.
6pm: As the heat of the day dies down, follow the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter, steeped in a rich history dating back to the Roman settlements. Discover nooks and crannies and shadows full of secrets. In keeping with the area’s diversity of architectural styles, there’s an awe-inspiring jewellery shop – La Basilica Galeria – offering delights crafted by the most clever of hands.
8pm: The Adria brothers are two of the most famous chefs in the world. Fresh from the closure of El Bulli, they have recently opened two new projects in Barcelona; Tickets, a well-known tapas bar (we wrote a review of Tickets, here) and the quieter, shyer but far superior 41 degrees. With an intimate, exclusive air, 41 degrees is a gastronomic experience with no less than 41 carefully created courses. This could take a while…
Sleep: Once suitably satiated, blow the budget and head to the W hotel, soaring into the sky and poignantly poised on the seafront. Spend the small hours enjoying cocktails and people watching on their roof terrace, which comes complete with swimming pool and breathtaking views. For an affordable stay without compromising on style, try the Hilton Barcelona for a hip hotel in the centre with modern Catalan dining and dazzling contemporary interiors.
Words by Sally Rosetta Gurteen.
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