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Why go?
Barcelona has been breaking new ground in art, architecture and style since the Middle Ages, and its centre constitutes one of the greatest concentrations of Gothic architecture in Europe. Equally busy are the citys avant-garde chefs, who compete with classicists for the gourmets attention.

When to go
In spring and early summer, Barcelona is full of book and ower stalls, with celebrations reaching their peak on St Georges Day (23 April). For the citys biggest party, go for La Merc, with acrobats, musicians, artists and human castles taking to the streets (bcn.cat/merce; 22-25 September).

MINI GUIDE October 2011

Barcelona,

How to go
British Airways, Monarch and easyJet offer direct ights from Gatwick (from 88), Liverpool (74) and Bristol (from 95; easyjet. com). The R2 Nord train runs from El Prat Airport to the city centre (2.50; renfe.es).
LEFT A view of Park Gell, designed by Gaud. RIGHT A Roy Lichtensteindesigned street sign

Spain
See

Eat & drink


At its bar-restaurant, La Llavor dels Orgens 6 one of the chains two shops in the city has a long menu of small dishes, including pumpkin and chestnut soup or rissoles with aubergine (00 34 933 107531; lallavordelsorigens. com; Carrer de la Vidrieria 6-8; lunch and dinner; mains from 4). Specials at Tapas 24 7 include the bikini (a toasted sandwich with cured ham, cheese and trufe), rice in squid ink and, for dessert, chocolate balls in olive oil (00 34 934 880977; tapas24.net; Carrer de la Diputaci 269; lunch and dinner Mon-Sat; tapas from 8, mains from 12). Getting a seat in Cal Pep 8 can be a problem, so most people are happy to elbow their way to the bar for some of the tastiest seafood tapas in town. Cal, the owner, recommends the trifsic a combo of calamari, whitebait and prawns (00 34 933 107961; calpep.com; Plaa de les Olles 8; lunch and dinner Tue-Fri, dinner Mon and Sat; mains from 12).

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BEST FOR ART 1 The Museu Picasso occupies ve medieval stone mansions with an incredible display of artwork. The collection concentrates on Picassos formative years and specic transitions, such as his Blue period (00 34 932 563000; museupicasso.bcn.es; Carrer Montcada 15-23; 10am-8pm Tue-Sun; 9). BEST FOR PARKS 2 In 1900, Count Eusebi Gell hired Catalan architect Antoni Gaud to create a tiny garden city. In 1914 the project, Park Gell, was abandoned, but not before the architect had created two miles of walks and a plaza in his inimitable style (parkguell.es; Carrer dOlot 7; 10am-9pm May-August, times vary rest of year; free). BEST FOR OUTDOORS 3 In the 18th century, La Barceloneta was a factory workers and shermens quarter. Some shing families remain and the area is awash with seafood restaurants. Barcelonas beaches start on the seaward side. Passeig Martim de

The Olympic Marinas Port Vell has become a focal point for visitors

The W Barcelona Hotels Eclipse bar offers fantastic rooftop views

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la Barceloneta is a pleasant promenade from La Barceloneta to Port Olmpic marina. BEST FOR ARCHITECTURE 4 Pick up the Ruta del Modernisme walking pack from the tourist ofce at Plaa de Catalunya. It contains a guide to Barcelonas 115 modernist buildings, a map and discount vouchers (rutadelmodernisme.com; 10.50). BEST FOR EXCURSIONS 5 Montserrat, 30 miles northwest of the city, is a 1,236m-high mountain chain from where, on a clear day, you can see as far as the Pyrenees (abadiamontserrat. net; 9am-6pm; free).

At the family-run Suquet de lAlmirall 9 , the order of the day is seafood from La Barceloneta market (00 34 932 216233; suquetdelalmirall.com; Passeig de Joan de Borb 65; lunch and dinner Tue-Sat, lunch Sun; mains from 16, tasting menu 38). In an admirable location at the end of a beach, the W Barcelona Hotel 10 offers avant-garde dining in its BRAVO restaurant and incredible views from its rooftop Eclipse bar (00 34 932 952636; w-barcelona.com; Plaa de la Rosa del Vents 1; lunch and dinner; mains from 22).

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October 2011

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mini guide Barcelona, Spain

Find your way


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See

Eat & drink

Sleep

Essentials
GETTING AROUND The easy-to-use Metro has seven numbered and colour-coded lines. FGC runs trains to outlying areas useful for reaching destinations such as Montserrat (9; fgc.net). The Metro, FGC and buses come under one zoned-fare regime (singles 1.20; tmb.cat).

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typical Costs l Pair of espadrilles 8 l Mid-range meal 15-25 l Mid-range hotel 100-199 l High-end hotel from 200

Sleep
On the chic side of Barcelonas LEixample district, and just a short stroll from Plaa de Catalunya, Hostal Goya 11 is no hostel, but one of the best budget options in the city. The brightcoloured rooms have parquet oors. Also on offer are two apartments sleeping four to six (00 34 933 022565; hostalgoya.com; Carrer de Pau Claris 74; from 70). The terrace at Hotel Constanza 12 overlooks the rooftops of LEixample. Single rooms are small but special with broad mirrors and red and yellow fabrics against black furniture. There are also suites and studios (00 34 932 701910; hotelconstanza. com; Carrer del Bruc 33; from 70). Cool blues and aquamarines together with polished parquet oors lend the Hotel Banys Orientals 13 an understated style. Rooms are small but impeccably presented with sleek, dark wood furniture, marble bathrooms and white linen. It also has more spacious suites in two nearby buildings (00 34 932 688460; hotelbanysorientals.com; Carrer de lArgenteria 37; from 87). 132
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Your recommendations
Restaurante Taverna El Glop is an excellent Spanish restaurant. We went on a Sunday evening and it seemed that the whole neighbourhood had turned out for the occasion. The food was excellent and atmosphere astounding. Our integration into Catalan culture was completed by us selecting what everyone else seemed to go for: paella. Delicious (tavernaelglop.com; Carrer de Sant Llus 24; mains from 9). Matt Bailey ROOMS ON LA RAMBLA Stay at the Hotel Onix Rambla. Its in a brilliant location, modern and clean, with a fabulous rooftop pool for a late afternoon dip after a day of sightseeing. Theres a bar across the road on the tree-lined Rambla de Catalunya and a number of tapas restaurants nearby, including our favourite, Ciudad Condal: its rated as three-star but deserves more. Excellent value (hotelsonix.com; Rambla de Catalunya 24; from 142). Helen Jackson

16 CATALAN CUISINE

18 Barcelona is ideal for food

UNMISSABLE SEAFOOD

Cool, understated style at Hotel Banys Orientals

Occupying a former medieval mansion, Hotel Neri 14 combines historic detail with a top-of-therange aesthetic. Rooms are artfully decorated with a mix of period and contemporary furnishings. Theres also a rooftop solarium and an elegant restaurant (00 34 933 040655; hotelneri.com; Carrer de Sant Sever 5; from 210). Casa Camper 15 in El Raval is run by the Mallorcan Camper brand better known for their shoes. In keeping with the arty locality, rooms have a red colour palette and contemporary furniture from Spanish store Vinon (00 34 933 426280; casacamper.com; Carrer dElisabets 11; from 220).

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Find out more Lonely Planets Barcelona guide (12.99) offers in-depth coverage of the city. You can also download the chapter from the Spain guide at lonelyplanet.com (2.99). Carlos Ruiz Zafns book, The Shadow of the Wind (7.99; Phoenix), is set in 20th-century Barcelona. For more practical information, see barcelonaturisme.comm and barcelonayellow.com.

COMPILED BY PAULA HARDY, WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM BRENDAN SAINSBURY AND DAMIEN SIMONIS. photoGraphs: matt munro, shutterstocK

lovers I return every year. Apart from the markets, theres a treat restaurant that I would eat at on every trip if I could. Its essential to book at Ca lIsidre for Catalan food at its best. Let the staff guide you, but the tuna tartare is exquisite, sh is unbelievably fresh and quail with baby broad beans sublime. The citys worth a visit just to eat here (calisidre.com; Carrer de les Flors; mains from 17). Stephanie Tortell