Barcelona’s Street Art – Where to find Street Art in Barcelona

Are you willing to find Street Art in Barcelona? Barcelona is certainly famous for its contemporary arts, especially modern street art. It is prolific throughout the city whether it’s illegal graffiti or commissioned pieces by some of the city’s famous artists like El Pez, who now tours the world painting large murals in every continent.

It’s not just spray-paint art though.  Today’s street art uses anything and everything to display a message or communicate a feeling.  The most common forms of Barcelona’s Street Art are just as likely to be mosaics or stencils and some even use recycled materials collected from the street’s refuse.

It changes every night too!  The best place to view some of the best and more historic street art pieces on your Barcelona trip are actually on shop shutters.  But they are normally only visible at night after the shops shut, or on a Sunday.  Below we have suggested some areas in the city where you will see major pieces of Barcelona’s Street Art work… maybe even in action!

Barcelona Street Art in El Raval

If you take a trek through this district, Barcelona’s Street Art is everywhere.  A good place to start is the MACBA – the Barcelona Contemporary Museum of Modern Art – but no need to go inside, just scout around the surrounding area to see really fantastic pieces of work!  There are also a lot of older pieces as you move deeper into the Raval district.

Barcelona Street Art - Street Art in El RAval

Street Art in Jardins de les Tres Xemeneies

Easy to find, just head to the where you see the 3 big chimneys breaking the skyline on Avinguda del Paral-lel .  Art creation is actually encouraged here, so you are allowed to paint, so you should be able to see and talk with some of the artists as they paint.  Head further down Paral-lel where it meets Plaça de les Drassanes, you will find another public park space called Jardin Walter Benjamin.  Artists can paint legally here as well and there are always new and interesting murals on display.

Street Art The Gothic & Born Quarters

Start at Carrer Ataulf (with Carrer Templars) and then head into Carrer Milans.  By just walking along these two streets alone, you could potentially take hours to see all the art within them.  There are also some old treasures by legendary Barcelona Street Artists El Pez, Kram & Bombzone.  The Born is nearby.  Just cross Via Laietana and head down to Carrer de l’Argenteria.  The art is not only on the street, visit some of the local galleries that exhibit and sell work by Barcelona’s street artists.

Barcelona Street Art - el born

Street Art Walking Tour

There is even a world famous Barcelona Street art walking tour – the Barcelona Street Style Tour.  It has reviews by virtually every newspaper culture section on the planet.  We highly recommend it!  Also it’s free, but if you feel the tour gave good value, you can always donate when it ends.  You would expect to pay about €8-10 for any informative and enjoyable walking tour.  They even have an additional bicycle tour that takes you to Poble-Nou, where some of the city’s largest murals are.

Barcelona’s Street Art brings many visitors and artists to the city every year.  To make your stay more enjoyable, why not see our selection of holiday rental apartments in the areas mentioned above to be right in the middle of all the action.

5 ideas to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona

Fans of ghosts, ghouls and ghastly guises wishing to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona are in for a treat. We´ve scoured Catalonia´s capital for the best spooky celebrations on offer and have scouted out some great fancy dress shops to ensure that you are dressed to impress.

Whilst not traditionally a Catalan tradition, Halloween is now celebrated in Barcelona in the days leading up to 31st October. The celebrations also extend to 1st November for All Saint´s Day where you can also enjoy La Castanyada (chestnut festival) which sees people gather together to remember the deceased and eat seasonal fruits, such as chestnuts.

With so much on offer, choosing where to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona can present quite a challenge. Read on for our selection of the best events on offer.

5 ideas to celebrate Halloween in Barcelona

  • Phenomena Cinema

Film fans wanting to spook themselves on the creepiest night of the year should head to cinema Phenomena for a Halloween-themed movie marathon on October 31st. Films such as Child’s Play and Pet Sematary will be shown in original version with Spanish subtitles.

Phenomena Cinema Barcelona

  • Halloween in Port Aventura

For a more action-packed Halloween, visit Port Aventura theme park for the usual thrill-seeking rides as well as special Halloween-themed parades, performances, a haunted lake and creepy forest.

Halloween Port Aventura

  • Enigmatium Experience

From 29-31 October, Enigmatium restaurant offers a truly spooky dining experience with mysterious cocktails and Halloween-themed dishes. Diners will also experience live, interactive theatre shows.  Visitors with children should visit the family-friendly events on 30th October and 1st November. Booking is recommended.

Enigmatiu Halloween

  • Poble Espanyol for grown ups and for kids:

Dance the night away in Poble Espanyol on 29th October at “Un Brunch terrorifico”. The attraction, which comprises architectural styles from across Spain, will play host to DJs and musicians for a night of Halloween-themed fun from 16:00-04:00.

On Saturday it’s time for families to celebrate Halloween. There will be workshops, activities outfit contests and much more.

halloween_poble_espanyol_2016

  • Razzloween:

Party fans could visit Razzmatazz, a very famous disco in the city, for Razzlloween on 31st October from 1am onwards.

Halloween Razzmatazz

  • Where to hire/buy your outfits in Barcelona:

No Halloween celebration would be complete without a creepy costume. Famous costume hire store Menkes (Gran Via de Les Corts Catalanes, 642) has a brilliant range of costumes to hire to get you in the party mood. Atuendo for Fun (Roger de Llúria,25) is similarly equipped with a variety of hire costumes to suit your party needs.

For those wishing to purchase an outfit, we recommend visiting La Bolsera (Xuclà,15)  but if you are simply looking to accessorise, head to one of the Claire’s stores at various locations across the city.

Once you’ve got your hands on the perfect outfit and picked your party destination, we are sure that Halloween in Barcelona won’t disappoint!

 

 

 

 

 

what is cava

What is Cava?

Cava is a champagne style sparkling wine made in Spain, and is known for being a more affordable choice for your celebratory occasions like New Year’s Eve and weddings. If you’re a fan of bubbly but have always wondered what the difference is between all these varieties like Champagne, Prosecco and Cava, we’re here to give you a little more information.

Naturally, we will be highlighting our Spanish preference and trying to answer the pressing question, what is cava? Because, well, we’re biased. We can only do so, however, in light of the other varieties, so get ready for your annual wine lesson – something it’s good to study up on at least a little before visiting Catalonia.

What is Cava?

Cava is a simple aperitif made primarily from three Spanish grape varieties. It is neither as sweet as Italian Prosecco nor as nutty as Vintage Champagne, making it the perfect middle ground and crowd pleasing bubbly beverage to serve your guests. While it typically uses Spanish varieties of grapes rather than French varieties, Cava is produced in the traditional French Champagne method. What makes Cava different, essentially, is that it is made in Spain with Spanish Grapes.

How Is Cava Made?

What sets sparkling wines apart from their counterparts is all in the bottling process, which is when the bubbles are formed. After being bottled, cava wine continues to ferment for months or even years. The bottles are capped with crown caps (like those used for beer bottles), and slanted down to allow all the yeast to settle in the neck of the bottle where the pressure will build up the most. After fermentation the tip of the bottle is then submerged in a freezing solution and a few inches of it are turned to ice, at which point the cap is removed, and the pressure in the bottle will actually expel the ice plug that has formed. The vintner will then top the bottle off and cork it.

Types of Cava

Finally, you probably want to know what all the different types of Cava are in your quest, asking questions such as “what is cava brut?” There are three types of Cava, all of which are made with a blend of the three main grapes used in cava production, which are Macabeu, Parellada, and Xarel-lo, all of which are white varieties. Brut and Brut Nature Cava is a fruity style that has become popular because it is lower in calories than the other styles. It is fruitier also, making it the perfect aperitif. Cava Rosé is, of course, pink, meaning that vintners add other grapes into the mix to get this color, which is most likely the Spanish Garnacha and Monastrell varieties. Pinot Noir is also becoming a common addition. Finally Vintage and Aged Cava is more in line with the original French Champagnes and is known for having a more nutty and toasty flavor with zesty aromatics like apple and almond.   

Now you are ready for your cava drinking experience here in Barcelona, which you’re sure to find at any cocktail hour or included in many a sangria recipe. You can either be spared having to ask your bartender, “What is cava champagne?” or you can boldly ask away and learn even more!

 

Avinguda Diagonal – Diagonal Avenue Barcelona… Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Sun loungers on the Avinguda Diagonal in Barcelona, next to Plaça Francesc Macià

On this last weekend of August in Barcelona… today, a unique sun is my ally, my best spotlight… a great part of Diagonal Avenue Barcelona, or to use its Catalan name Avinguda Diagonal Barcelona, is closed to traffic, so I get my phone and a pair of sneakers and invite you to join me in the adventure of finding unique buildings, hidden places and relaxing corners.  So sew your shadow to my feet Peter, and up we go “second to the right and straight on till morning”.

palm trees and benches in the Diagonal
nice wide sidewalk in Barcelona Diagonal, where pedestrians have a prominent place
large windows on the first floor of this building
classic façade next to a modern building sharing together a place in the Diagonal

Let’s start our journey at Plaça Francesc Macià.  I follow the characteristic pavement pattern, onto this urban catwalk.  The design of the paving sett is determined by the general concept being deployed in the Diagonal project.

I have to be careful not to miss a thing… sleek modern buildings next to old classics and Gaudi’s trademarks, make for beautiful patchwork.  The awesome Casa Sayrach (Avinguda Diagonal corner with Enric Granados), stands so elegant, as one of the last buildings of Barcelona modernism. Curved shapes characterize its façade.

the plane tree leaf defines the transformation of an expressway for through traffic into a green corridor where pedestrians have a prominent place in the leafy shade of the trees that grow along the avenue. Project Diagonal by Terrades Arquitectes 2015
the palm trees shadow over the pavement
Barcelona is an example of modern architecture
the awesome Casa Sayrach (Avinguda Diagonal corner with Enric Granados)

Back to the avenue, amongst luxury shops and nice cafés and restaurants, I get to the terrace, of José Luis, a classic in Barcelona, the restaurant with posssibly the best “tortilla de patata” in town.

(UPDATE 2020: Jose Luis has now ceded this space to the famous Tapaç 24 by Carles Abellán, who has added this venue to serve the Barcelona district of Sant Gervasi-Galvany, here in Diagonal-Tuset. By the way the tortilla de patata is just as good 🙂 and don’t forget to try the “Bikini”). 

Next to it, “Ajo Blanco” (Carrer de Tuset), the other side of the coin, a cool new designer restaurant.  Diagonal-Tuset-Granados… the most interesting edge, an explosion of architecture … La Casa Mas de Miquel, La Casa Sayrach, and the stunning Metro 3 building, where the Habitat store (designer furniture) is located.

update 2018, this Michael Kors Store is now closed in Avinguda Diagonal.  The Passeig de Gracia store still remains open in Barcelona
wide spaces represent the character of the Avinguda Diagonal
Costa Cofee a place to have your favourite delight when strolling in Avinguda Diagonal in Barcelona
terraces alfresco for tapas in Barcelona Diagonal Avenue
building façade in Diagonal Barcelona
Metro 3 building a model of design for architecture lovers in Barcelona
the Habitat store (designer furniture) is located on the ground floor of the Metro 3 building
electric charger for vehicles in Diagonal Avenue, enhances the ecological commitment of Barcelona

Now I run into the “Barcelona Equestrian circle” (Círculo Ecuestre de Barcelona, on Diagonal corner with Balmes) – SPOTTED:  I’ve heard that you can belong to this select club for a small fee of 12,000 euros, plus the endorsement of four partners and, of course, you must pass a test prior to admission.  Then the doors of the Barcelona Equestrian Circle will never be closed to you.  You can get together with the economic and social elite of Barcelona, enjoy an exquisite coffee or a drink until the wee hours of the morning… but yes, YOU HAVE to wear a tie [at least of you’re a gentleman]. The Circle completely renovated the interior in 1992, including a full gym, a rooftop pool & café and 16 rooms for members and guests.

The club is hosted in the palace “Casa Perez Samanillo” built in 1910, and what catches the eye is one of the most striking elements of the building, a huge oval window overlooking Diagonal… locals call it the “fishbowl of Barcelona”.

a huge oval window overlooking Diagonal… locals call it the “fishbowl of Barcelona”.
there are many restaurants, bars and cafes on both sides of the Diagonal Avenue
buildings in the corner of Diagonal and carrer Balmes
while strolling along the Diagonal, look up and discover the buildings' penthouses
Barcelona stands out in design and a sample of it are the streetlights in the Diagonal
detail of what is hidden over the tree tops

This is amazing!!! No traffic and I’m walking in the middle of the street!!!  I’m arriving at Pilma, one of my favourites deco shops. Not far in distance, now I can see the obelisk marking the cross between Diagonal and Passeig the Gràcia.  To my right, the building of the Barcelona Provincial Council, advising the beginning of another great promenade, the boulevard of Rambla de Catalunya.

crossing Avenida Diagonal on a clear, sunny day
Barcelona Provincial Council is a public institution in Catalonia that provides direct services to citizens, it is located in the corner with Rambla Catalunya

A little further along are the Jardins del Palau Robert and in front of it, on the other side of the avenue, between two glass monsters, the headquarters of the Chamber of Commerce and Deutsche Bank

(UPDATE 2020: in the last quarter of 2020 the exclusive Mandarin Oriental Residences will open their doors in Barcelona in this same building that for many years, was the headquarters of Deutsche Bank… the new Zeitgeist “from bank to luxury residences…”)

Respectively, the Pompeya Church, a jewel of Neo Gothic contemplates the passage of time, unperturbed by its big neighbours.

the Chamber of Commerce and Deutsche Bank coexist with the Pompeya Church, a jewel of Neo Gothic
update 2020 - a few years ago this building was occupied by Deutsche Bank but in the last quarter of 2020 the Mandarin Oriental residences will open their doors in Barcelona in this same building where Avenida Diagonal crosses Passeig de Gracia
Palau Robert is a neoclassical building on Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia with Diagonal Avenue
An oasis of vegetation in the heart of Barcelona, this is how the Palau Robert gardens could be defined

Those deck chairs are so inviting… I’m done, hope you found it so appealing that you are eager to get your ass away from La Rambla, and discover an attractive brand new world!

living outdoors, gathering and enjoying moments together... this is the way locals enjoy life in Barcelona
the most photographed intersection in Barcelona is chaired by a monument to Nothing.  The Obelisk does not have a name and it is popularly known as "el lápiz"(the pencil)
Plaza del Cinco de Oros, this is the name of the square where Avinguda Diagonal meets Passeig de Gràcia

To MWC or not to MWC

Mobile World Congress. Em. Double u. Cee. I finally find myself using the official abbreviation, after holding out for a long time still calling it 3GSM, like an old timer. Back when it started in Barcelona five years ago, it was a different beast. Back then, all the buzz was about highly technical network stuff I didn’t really understand. But there was a promise that it would make mobile internet fast, really fast. Well, I’m not so sure that we have a fast – really, really fast – mobile internet connection anywhere near Barcelona, or that I could afford it if it did.

So fast forward to 2011, and one more MWC – this time around it’s tablets, tablets, tablets… I am writing this on my ipad, finally cutting edge technology even I can understand. Used to be a time when 3GSM MWC week was the only time of the year I didn’t feel completely awkward about carrying two blackberrys, speaking into one, while writing messages on the other… at the same time!

A chance encounter with cool blogger Rob Kerr on Sunday night – his light light up while he tells me and a friend about the new Xperia Play game phone he just saw at the SonyEricsson presentation, and I’m hooked. There might be something in it for me, after all.

As anyone who’s ever innocently tried to book a Valentine’s day getaway to Barcelona on the expectation that it is the middle of February, so low season, and couldn’t find an apartment in Barcelona or anywhere nearby knows, this is the highest week of the year in the city. It is an incredibly busy week, everyone is in a rush to set up their booths, go to meetings, tweetups, more meetings… and did I mention the parties?

We often get requests from clients ranging from recommending a catering supplier, delivering a package to our office or getting a hair dryer. All in a day’s work. But what in the world do you tell someone who asks you for a submarine??

Monday 17:00 I walk through the gates of mobile nirvana, only a couple of hours to get my fix. Good. Don’t wanna overdo it, there’s still three more action-filled days to go.

Jaume birra
Free as in free beer, courtesy of Miyowa

Special thanks to Markus Lonka and his great crew at Mixem Solutions for generously providing a pass to MWC.

YOU’D LOVE TO BE IN BARCELONA ON DECEMBER THE 2ND!!

shop, shop, shop… shop til you drop!

At last Barcelona takes the train of the FASHION NIGHT OUT.

New York was the pioneer of the idea three years ago, in a bid to support the fashion industry.

Its original pretense was so simple – extending store hours along with additional incentives, all as remedies to shore up the weakening retail sector in New York City.  However a season later, the idea first facilitated by Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief, the legendary Anna Wintour, is now a global event, with 16 countries participating.

This is now a young classic,

and therefore Barcelona City Council is launching an initiative similar to that done by Vogue in major cities worldwide where it achieved major success, becoming a classic in a very short time period. One of its latest editions was in Madrid.

It is not only shopping, it is fun, shows, famous dj’s, parties and cocktails in all shops, bars, restaurants and hotels participating in the event. Gifts and all sorts of surprises and promotions in bars and participating stores. Barcelona, unable to ally with Vogue Spain because the magazine can only choose one city per country, has teamed up with Harper’s Bazaar which will host a big tent at one of the side roads of Passeig de Gràcia.

The key is buying flowers,

Passeig de Gràcia is the stage where the show is performed and the city will look gorgeous because that precise night the Christmas lighting will be switched on for the first night this year. Get your Shopping Passport and enjoy the shopping night. The passport is the accreditation that allows you the access for shopping at any of the stores that participates in the project -from 8 pm to 12 am-… and even to participate in 5 draws, with 5 fabulous prizes!

You can register during The Shopping Night at one of the two accreditation booths that you will find along the Passeig de Gràcia to get your Shopping Passport. (Rosselló street with Passeig de Gràcia and Gran Via with Passeig de Gràcia. From 10 am)…  Then all stores will open up to the big party.  Each time you buy for a value of 20 EUROS, a flower will be stamped on your Passport. The more flowers you have stamped on it, the more opportunities you have to win at the numerous draws that will take place during the night.

Happy Shopping!

Why Design Loves Barcelona

Barcelona is world famous as a city that emanates culture, creativity, art, trends and design, elements that combine and interact to trace the particular style of an international brand.

poster BCN Design Week
Pic from last edition of BCN Design Week

In the last 25 years, the city has become one of the favourite bases of operation for architects, designers, photographers, illustrators and creative professionals from all over the world.  These artistic professionals have turned design into one of Barcelona’s signs of identity, adding to the talent already in place, an building on the legacy of universal artists such as Gaudí, Miró, Tàpies or Brossa to name but a few.

After putting on one of the most impressive Olympic Games ever, Barcelona confirmed itself as Read more

Homage to Banesto

Did you ever have a wealthy neighbour with a big mansion who fell on hard times, and now the mansion lies empty, dilapidated and almost forgotten?
Such was the case of our illustrious neighbors on Plaça Catalunya, the Banco Español de Crédito, better known as Banesto. Occupying what is arguably the grandest building on the plaza, it was the bank’s Barcelona head office for many decades. Its more recent history is quite checquered, once vacated by the bank, plans first were to turn it into a hotel, then into luxury apartments. Finally, reality and the property market crash left an empty eyesore on the plaza.

Flash back to 1937, and read George Orwell’s first hand account in Homage to Catalonia.

Up at our end of the Ramblas, round the Plaza de Cataluña, the position was so complicated that it would have been quite unintelligible if every building had not flown a party flag. The principal landmark here was the Hotel Colón, the headquarters of the P.S.U.C., dominating the Plaza de Cataluña. In a window near the last O but one in the huge ‘Hotel Colón’ that sprawled across its face they had a machine-gun that could sweep the square with deadly effect.

George Orwell Homage to Catalonia, chapter X

These images of the same spot in Barcelona look eerily similar, even though they were taken 73 years apart.

Hotel Colón on Plaça Catalunya became the PSUC headquarters during the Spanish Civil War
Banesto Building in Barcelona
Banesto building occupied by squatters 2010

Only a few days ago, a group of protesters broke into the Banesto building on Barcelona’s Plaça Catalunya and set up a squatters’ camp to be the headquarters for acts of protest which would culminate in clashes with riot police coinciding with the 29 September 2010 general strike.
The Banesto building has sat empty for many years; now was our chance to see it on the inside, so risking life and limb, Albert grabbed a camera and I followed him in while he shot some footage of the interior.

It was a buildng site, left abandoned by successive would-be developers, whose task was complicated by having to remove the huge armored chambers in the bank’s several basement floors (see a cross-section of the building at 2:37 in the video).