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Barcelona: four important things to know before you go
With a plethora of architecture to marvel at, plenty of souvenirs to collect and a variety of delicious Spanish fare to fill your belly, you wont run out of things to do in Barcelona. But it's also a place that's steeped with history, below we've listed four fun facts about this spirited city. 1. Who is Antoni Gaudi? Barcelona’s architecture is some of Europe’s most intriguing, thanks to Antoni Gaudí, famed for designing nine of the city’s structures including Casa Mila, Parque Güell, and his magnum opus La Sagrada Família, which he started working on in 1883 at the age of 31. [caption id="attachment_45667" align="alignleft" width="600"] Casa Batllo (House of Bones) is a building designed by Antoni Gaudi in the center of Barcelona[/caption] Though plans for the cathedral were already drawn up, the architect imposed on it his eclectic style of curves, shapes and ornamentation, a unique approach to the Art Nouveau movement. [caption id="attachment_45668" align="alignleft" width="600"] Sagrada Familia is a catholic church in Barcelona[/caption] Consecrated as a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010, construction of La Sagrada Família continues to this day and is set to be complete by 2026, 100 years after Gaudí’s passing. 2. An historic change in 2010... The year Catalonia, of which Barcelona is the capital, became Spain’s first mainland region to ban the ancient tradition of bullfighting on animal cruelty grounds. 3. Care to dance? The incredibly fast-moving Flamenco is often considered Spain’s national dance, however in the Catalan region the traditional dance is the Sardana, performed by a number of people in a circle to a band of 10 wind instruments. It dates back as early as the 16th century and, as the symbol of Catalan culture, it was even banned during the Spanish Civil War. Head to the Catedral de Barcelona to see locals perform the Sardana on Saturday evenings and Sundays at noon. 4. Did you know? Gustave Eiffel originally wanted to build the Eiffel Tower in Barcelona for the 1888 Universal Exposition but the plans were rejected because the tower did not fit in with the plans of the city. It was built in Paris a year later. MORE... What to do in Barcelona with one day spare
What and where to eat in Barcelona
Not sure what the difference between a fideuà and a jamon is? Here's a nifty guide to help you on your way. What to buy Catalan tiles Use these decorative ceramic tiles as coasters to brighten your table. [caption id="attachment_45849" align="alignleft" width="600"] There are at least 13 different tile types around the city[/caption] Porron Drink wine directly from this traditional Catalan wine vessel. Panellets These ancient sweets are the traditional fare of All Saints’ Day. [caption id="attachment_45856" align="alignleft" width="600"] Nothing says Barcelona like panellets[/caption] Espardenyes Catalan for espadrilles; a shoe made from jute rope and linen fabric. What to eat Besides all the tapas, be sure to leave room for these local delicacies... Fideuà Similar to paella but made with pasta instead of rice. [caption id="attachment_45851" align="alignleft" width="600"] If you like a good paella, you will love fideuà[/caption] Pa amb tomàquet Bread brushed with a delicious trinity of oil, tomato and salt. Jamon Similar to prosciutto. Sangria Alcoholic beverage consisting of red wine and fruit. Crema Catalana A sweet dish similar to creme brulee however crema catalana is made with citrus zest and cinnamon. Churros Everything tastes better deep fried and bathed in chocolate, churros are like a dense donut that tick those two boxes. [caption id="attachment_45850" align="alignleft" width="600"] Your trip to Barcelona isn't complete without a good churro[/caption] Where to eat Breakfast Milk For a coffee and a wholesome breakfast, this is Barcelona’s one stop shop. [caption id="attachment_45854" align="alignleft" width="600"] Milk has a little something for everyone[/caption] Enjoy a delicious (and exotic) crab benedict, featuring (you guessed it) crab meat, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce and toasted chapata. Or go for a chorizo hash, with sautéed potatoes, poached eggs, spinach and chorizo sausage. [caption id="attachment_45855" align="alignleft" width="600"] Milk was opened by an Irish couple in 2005 and has since grown to be among the most popular restaurants and cocktail bars in the area[/caption] Milk also offers more humble breakfasts for tourists who are less daring, like the American bagel, French toast, pancakes or fruit and granola. This place has everything you need to fuel a busy day in bustling Barcelona. Xurreria Laietana Skip the wholesome breakfast, and if you’re game, and jump straight to the Spanish churro. Xurreria Laietana offers caramel or Nutella filled churros, which promise a good time. This is a great way to start a day in Barcelona (and a great way to finish it if you come back in the afternoon for seconds). Ugot Bruncherie Add gorgeous interiors (of salmon colored walls, wooden food displays and antique pendant lights) and an outstanding brunch menu, and what have Ugot? [caption id="attachment_45859" align="alignleft" width="600"] Look for the Flamingo Wallpaper and Dreamy Cakes[/caption] Ugot boasts a glorious (and rather exotic) brunch menu of roast beef and truffle hollandaise, eggs and chorizo sausage and a daily round of house made brioche bread. Being a Spanish establishment, the café also has a range of brunch related tapas: grilled tomino cheese, smoked herring and broken olives with garlic. Lunch Although most breakfast places are interchangeable with lunch, thanks to the strong Spanish brunch culture, try these places out for a quick lunch on a day of exploring. The Pans Club A vegetarian restaurant serving bagels, burgers and salads, The Pans Club is a great place to balance out your churro desserts while in Barcelona. [caption id="attachment_45858" align="alignleft" width="600"] Lunch from the Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Barcelona[/caption] This place is famous for their quiches, serving ricotta, bacon and cheese or vegetable varieties (and more!). Their great lunch box initiative, where you can buy a quiche, salad and smoothie combo to go, is a great picnic option to take to the beach, and soak in some rays. With the title of ‘Best vegetarian restaurant in Barcelona’, even the biggest carnivores will be salivating over this menu. Kersol Perfect for a post-siesta late lunch, Kersol serves a great range: salads (quinoa or potato), vegetable curry, grilled capsicum stuffed with pork, vegetable meatballs and even cheesecake, if you’re feeling like a dessert for/with/after lunch. Dinner La Pubilla For an authentic Spanish feast, head over to La Pubilla. Do not let the tired façade fool you, the food is incredible and without fault. Start off with steak tartar or roasted meat croquette, then head to the roast pork belly salad with tomato and herbs or cuttlefish paella for the main. [caption id="attachment_45853" align="alignleft" width="600"] Based on creativity, originality and seasonal product.[/caption] Finish off with a Catalan cheese assortment and a wine. La Pepita A small local tapas bar in the heart of Barcelona, La Pepita is the best place to enjoy authentic Spanish tapas. With tapas including marinated sea bass with spinach and strawberry, roasted artichokes with blue cheese and the traditional patatas bravas (a slightly spicy potato dish), you need to get yourself to La Pepita. The cosy atmosphere and great drinks menu also help to make this one of the best hang outs in Barcelona. Dinner service starts at 7:30pm, but get there early to nab a table, this place is popular. Lab Restaurant Imagine the best culinary experience you have ever had, and then combine that with some hard-core science, and you get Lab. [caption id="attachment_45852" align="alignleft" width="600"] Prepare yourself for a thrilling and sophisticated gastronomic experience[/caption] Serving dishes like the crispy lasagna, pasta foie gras and lady figs and messy zarzuela, the creativity in this restaurant will excite you as much as the food does. Where to stay If you're wondering where to stay while in Barcelona, check out our reviews of Hotel Claris and Mercer Hotel. More... Getting ready to go to Barcelona
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