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H10 Montcada boasts a fantastic location on Via Laietana, between the Born and Gotico neighbourhoods - both of which have an abundance of bustling bars, traditional tapas as well as cultural sites along their cobbled calles (streets in Spanish). Visit the Picasso Museum, Santa Maria del Mar church and Palau de la Musica in Born, drink at Bar el Born on Paseo del Born and eat at Bar del Pla on Calle Montcada. In the Gotico area I recommend a trip to the Cathedral followed by lunch at Bun Bo and sipping a Vermut at Cala del Vermut on Carrer d’en Copons. H10 Montcada’s special touches include robes and slippers, complimentary Nespresso capsules and iPod docks in the rooms – and don’t miss the views from the roof-top hot tub!
AC Sants has the look of a business hotel, but the simple, clean and modern rooms are equally suitable for couples and families - there is a babysitting service offered and the hotel is fully accessible. AC Sants is peaceful, breakfast offers plenty of options and the staff are perfectly polite. The real appeal of AC Sants is the location - beside the main train station Sants, and close to popular sights of Plaza Espanya and Montjuic. You are well-placed to use the city metro to travel around Barcelona – I recommend purchasing a T10 ticket giving you 10 journeys for around 10 Euros. For a top restaurant within 10 minutes walk of the hotel, try Bangkok Café on Carrer d’Evarist Arnús
Hotel Regina has been thoughtfully renovated to keep the original features and add equally charming modern ones. The rooms are chic, of a good size, light, and some have balcony doors opening to reveal views of Placa Catalunya – request one especially if you can! The location of the Hotel Regina is the real gem however – 2 minutes from the transport connections on the Placa, 5 minutes from the shopping and train station on Paseo de Gracia, and just a few minutes stroll from La Rambla and the Gotico and Raval districts for more shopping, eateries and nightlife. My favourite being the bars on Calle Joaquin Costa in Raval – check out 33-45 for a beverage in a buzzing bar, and then head back to Hotel Regina for a cocktail nightcap in the classy lounge.
Carrer de l'Allada-Vermell is in fact a pedestrianized square as opposed to a street. You can find several good eateries on the square including Tantarantana, Pizza Paco, Yamane and just out of the top of the square on Carrer dels Carders you can find my absolute favorite Asian food restaurant, Mosquito. The square is a hub of dining, drinking and dawdling activity. Great for families - with a playground and space for children, whilst the adults sit on one of the terraces.
Carrer de Sant Pere Més Baix runs from Via Laietana to Arc de Triomf/Carrer Comercial, and transports you from busy traffic-filled city thoroughfare to what has the feeling of a cobbled village passageway in a minute. Sant Pere Més Baix is a typical example of old city Barcelona real-life - this area is my home, and still charms me daily after 4+ years. Take a wander between landmarks and I'm certain it will charm you too.
Ovo is a fast-paced black, white and red restaurant on the edge of the Gràcia and Sant Gervasi districts of Barcelona. Popular for it's mid-week 3-course lunch menu - it attracts local people from nearby businesses as well as residents of this rather fancy area. A 30-minute walk from the city centre or a short Metro/taxi journey - it is worth to enjoy the flamboyance of the host, and the paella, which I favor the most. Monday - Friday from 13:00. 11,50 Euros
Table-clothed and subtly lit, Gessamí offers a mid-week 3-course lunch menu with a large selection of options for 10,10 Euros with wine. The service is on the formal side for such midday venues in Barcelona, and the food is of great quality for the price. A great location for a business meeting or a romantic lunch date. Located in the Sant Gervasi districts of Barcelona, Gessamí is a 30-minute walk from the city centre or a short Metro/taxi ride.
El Jardí's address is Carrer de l'Hospital however it is located inside the courtyard of the Hospital de la Santa Creu itself, with a precious view of the orange trees and arches of the Gardens of Rubió i Lluch. For 9,50 Euros you can enjoy a mid-week lunch of 3 courses with bread, drink and coffee whilst breathing in the history of this 15th-century hospital which now houses the Library of Catalunya.
For a fantastic 13,50 Euros you can enjoy a mid-week 3-course lunch of Miso soup, Spring rolls with salad, a Sushi platter and a fresh fruity dessert including a drink at Doble Zer00. Located in the Born district, close to Santa Maria del Mar church, Santa Caterina market, Palau de la Música and Arc de Triomf - this is one of the best sushi restaurants in the city for day or night dining.
15th-century Hospital de la Santa Creu is found in the Raval district of the city, and is a breath of fresh air and tranquility in a mostly hectic setting. 4 2-storey wings surround a cloister, now know as the Gardens of Rubió i Lluch, and house the Library of Catalunya. A spot to enjoy a stroll, read under the orange trees, lunch at El Jardí or simply pop your head in and admire. Open Monday - Saturday from 10:00 until sunset. Free
Big Fish is truly one of the best fish restaurants in Barcelona. Offering both fresh Mediterranean dishes as well as Sushi, the midday 3-course menu is a great way to sample their specialties on a budget of just 13 Euros. The interior is chic, the terrace is prime people-watching space, and the view from both is of the recently reopened Born Cultural Center. Take a stroll after lunch around the uncovered ruins of the 17th century Born district. Mon - Fri 13:30 - 16:00
Plaça de Sant Josep Oriol is a hub of artists with several markets held in the square. On Saturday mornings you can enjoy a coffee on a terrace, and admire the artists working on their creations and the impressive Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi in the background. The square is home to beautiful boutiques and tasty tapas, and worth a visit day or night. Close to La Rambla, La Boqueria market and Barcelona Cathedral.
Sant Pere is an upcoming area of the Born district with Plaça de Sant Pere at it's centre. It holds the charm of the Paseo del Born with less tourists. Visit the church, have lunch at La Candela, snacks at Santa Piadina or coffee at En Aparté - all sit on the square and the eateries all have terraces. The best time to visit - early evening to enjoy the after-work drinks trend.
Paseo de Gracia runs from Diagonal down to Plaça Catalunya, and is the main shopping street in Barcelona. A stroll down the paseo gives you a look at Gaudí's La Pedrera and Josep Puig i Cadafalch's Casa Amatller amongst other examples of famed Barcelona architecture. My favorite spot on the avenue is standing across from Gaudí's Casa Batlló - visit at night when the crowds have gone and the buildings are lit.
Found at the end of the Paseo del Born is Plaça Comercial. As it's impressive centerpiece is the recently reopened Born Cultural Center - previously the main fruit and vegetable market of Barcelona before the city grew too large for it to be sufficient, and later discovered to be hiding ruins of the 17th century Born district. The square is lined with foodie gems including Argentinian Morelia, winery with tapas Llamber, and my personal favorite for lunch or dinner Big Fish. Cyan Gallery is worth a look too. Visit the Born Cultural Center for free Tuesday - Sunday.
For escapism in the core of the city, my favorite place is Plaça de Sant Felip Neri in the Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. The square has a tragic history - it was hit by a bomb during the Civil War killing those hiding in the church which dominates it's side - but despite this it has an unequaled sense of peace. Take your book and lose a few hours here. Hotel Neri offers a fabulous lunch menu.