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Spain : Barcelona - July 2010

Country Code: Dial ++34 for Spain

Summer in the Catalan capital is a breeze thanks to its position on the Med. With its Grec arts festival in full swing, enjoy cooling drinks at pavement cafés and tasty tapas in the shady medieval streets or simply linger in one of the airconditioned museums. And there are seven beautiful beaches to choose from too. Judy Thomson guides the way

Getting around

El Prat

Bus: The nearest airport is El Prat Airport, about 12km from the city.

MONTJUÏC

This low hill over the port is a refreshing green space, and this month hosts the European Athletics Championships in the Olympic Stadium. The gardens are also the hub of the Grec arts festival.

Sleep soundly – The luxury Hotel Miramar (3 Plaça Carlos Ibañez, tel. 932 811600, hotelmiramarbarcelona.com, rooms from €170) occupies a prime position on the hill, with impressive views.

Culture vultures – Catch Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s dance company under the stars in the Teatre Grec (36 Passeig Santa Madrona) on the 19 and 20 July. By day, see Joan Miró’s colourful art in its best Mediterranean light in the Fundació Miró (1 Avinguda Miramar). Or chill out at the festival’s all-night party Montjuïc de Nit on 3 July with 13 stages of live music, each stage representing one of the city’s music festivals from Sonar to the Jazz Festival.

Must eat – In the bustling area just below the hill are narrow streets full of local bars and restaurants, such as 100-year-old El Sortidor (5 Plaça del Sortidor, tel. 935 188544), serving Catalan food at original marble tables.

Dance the night away – Known for family fun by day, the pastiche Spanish village Poble Español (13 Avinguda Marquès de Comillas) throws open its doors to clubbers by night. Open-air disco La Terrazza is ideal for dancing on a hot summer night, but for slick and high-tech, recently opened The One is the place – it’s at its best around 3am.

AVINGUDA DIAGONAL

This broad, tree-lined avenue cuts diagonally across the city through business districts, smart residential zones and elegant shopping areas, until it reaches the sea in the new Diagonal Mar district.

Sleep soundly – The aptly named Hotel Rey Juan Carlos I (661-671 Avinguda Diagonal, tel. 933 644040, hrjuancarlos. com, rooms from €169) is fit for a king. It oozes luxury throughout its steel and glass structure and has wonderful gardens.

Must drink – Glimpse the world of slick business deals and elegant señoras in timeless café Sandor (5 Plaça Francesc Macià) at aperitivo time.

Shop til you drop – Upscale shopping between Plaça Francesc Macià and Plaça Rei Joan Carles reaches its peak at Jean Pierre Bua (467-469 Avinguda Diagonal), with a large collection of international designers for men and women, balanced by the more affordable Zara (582-584 Avinguda Diagonal).

RAVAL

This is a buzzy area of the old town, where small boutiques and artists’ studios rub shoulders with an increasingly multicultural population.

Culture vultures – The CCCB (Centre for Contemporary Culture, 5 Carrer Montalegre), hosts an International Festival of Dance in Urban Landscapes on 1-4 July.

Must eat – Once a medieval hospital, El Jardí (56 Carrer de l’Hospital, eljardibarcelona.es) sits in an enchanting garden. Surrounded by gothic buildings, it’s a peaceful spot for snacks or drinks any time of day, but is most atmospheric when candle-lit in the evening.

Shop til you drop – Do your green bit by buying bags recycled from the city’s advertising banners at Vaho Gallery (13 Bonsuccés), or in Carrer de Riera Baixa, a street devoted to vintage shops – try Holala Ibiza and Lailo.

BARCELONETA

The beaches of this popular seaside district are lined with seafood restaurants. These are the closest sands to the centre so go in the early morning to avoid crowds, or the late afternoon, when the beach bar DJs start spinning.

Sleep soundly – The new W Barcelona (1 Plaça de la Rosa dels Vents, tel. 932 952800, w-barcelona.com, rooms from €284) has changed the waterfront skyline with its 26 floors of indulgence. More down-to-earth is Sea Point Hostel (1-4 Plaça del Mar, tel. 932 312045, seapointhostel.com, beds in rooms of six from €25), situated right on the beach.

Must drink – After a hard day on the beach, a cool beer at Vaso de Oro (6 Carrer de Balboa) is simply sublime.



Compiled by Judy Thomson

Previous issues for Barcelona
 
   
Whilst every effort is made to ensure accuracy,
please confirm event/venue details in advance.

 

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