In addition to becoming the perfect venue for several and prestigious international fairs, events and congresses , in recent years the Catalan capital has become one of the most attractive destinations in Europe in the professional field. In fact, Barcelona is the sixth preferred city for business, the seventh for e-business, the seventh most entrepreneurial city in Europe and, according to a recent study by the British organization Nesta, the fourth most innovative city in the world.
Nevertheless, to the undeniable magnetism that Barcelona has for investors, companies and start-ups, we should add itsexcellent climate, privileged location between the sea and the mountains, inexhaustible architectural heritage, wide range of leisure activities and delicious cuisine, among many other attractions that explain why it is one of the most visited cities in Europe.
If you also have to travel for business to Barcelona, below we summarize some of the aspects that you should not miss out on to make your stay in your luxury Barcelona apartments simply perfect.
PLACES OF INTEREST IN BARCELONA
Although its extension is rather modest – the municipality barely reaches 100 km2 -Barcelona treasures a wide range of buildings and monuments constructed since its foundation over more than two millennia, around the year 14 B.C.
In this section, we’d like to highlight the interesting remains from Roman times, including the ancient buildings of the former colony of Barcino, hidden under the Plaza del Rei; the imposing columns of the Temple of Augustus in Paradís Street; some Roman domūs or the open-air necropolis of Plaza Vila de Madrid.
From the medieval period, it is possible to contemplate the old Jewish quarter or Call, some examples of romanesque architecture – such as the church of the monastery of Sant Pau del Camp in the Raval district – or the three most important Gothic buildings in the city: the cathedral, the church of Pi and the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, the imposing XIV century temple that inspired the bestselling novel “Cathedral of the sea”. In the section of Gothic civil art, one should visit the majestic Tinell Hall.
In any case, if there is one reason for the Catalan capital to stand out it due to the footprint left by modernism, visible all over its streets and avenues. No doubt, the artist who exemplified the splendor of this style was the great Antoni Gaudí, an architect of jewels such as the Sagrada Familia or the Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera,
Casa Batlló, Palau Güell, Park Güell or Casa Vicens, are all buildings that are part of the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO. A distinction that two other modernist gems of Barcelona also share: the Hospital de Sant Pau and the Palau de la Música Catalana, that bear the signature of Lluis Domenech i Montaner.
Another must-see is the Montjuic hill, an area that was urbanized for the 1929 International Exhibition. Among its points of interest, it is worth mentioning the Spanish Village, an enclosure that gathers samples of popular architecture from all over Spain, craft workshops, restaurants, nightclubs and even a flamenco tablao, the Magic Fountain, the scene of incredible light and sound shows, the Olympic Ring, numerous museums and the Montjuic castle, from where you get see incomparable views of Barcelona.
Of course, you should not miss stopping by the always lively Ramblas, which are part of the sentimental imagination of the local population and ends in the port of Barcelona, where the iconic statue of Columbus can be found. The same goes for the inexhaustible museum offer of the city, which includes the Picasso Museum, the Joan Miró Foundation, El Born Cultural and Memory Center, the F.C. Barcelona Museum or the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC), the depository of the most important Romanesque painting collection in the world.
FAIRS AND EVENTS IN BARCELONA
Despite the inexhaustible list of monuments that Barcelona holds, much of its magnetism as a business city lies in its enormous and growing role as an organizer of events and congresses. Thus, according to a report by American Express, the Catalan capital is the third most demanded European city to hold conferences and business meetings.
Without a doubt, the most important annual event is the Mobile World Congress, the biggest event in the mobile phone industry, which is usually attended by the leading international gurus in the field of new technologies.
In any case, the exhibition center Fira de Barcelona, on the Montjuic hill, hosts many other events of great significance. For example, we would like to mention the International Auto Show, a biennial event that brings together the major vehicle manufacturers; Alimentaria Barcelona, which gathers key players in the field of food at the end of April; the Comic Fair, which takes place annually in spring; the Nautical Fair, which opens in October at Port Vell, and the Manga Fair, which is on time to meet with its many fans every last weekend in October.
Another higlight in the city is its performing arts programming, with the Festival Grec as a spearhead (it takes place during June and July). In the musical section, one could refer to Primavera Sound, which takes place between the end of May and the beginning of June, and the International Festival of Advanced Music (Sònar), which takes place in mid-June, and revolves around electronic music. In turn, the celebrations of Mercè, patron saint of the city, which take place either before or after September 24, also bring some of the most important solo artists and bands in the national scene.
Other popular festivities of interest are the celebrations of Gràcia, which are held on the third week of August, and those of Sants, which begin a week later. In both cases, the most important streets in both neighborhoods look stunning, as they are decorated by their own neighbors.
Finally, we must not forget that Barcelona and its surroundings also host the best events in the world of sport, such as the F-1 Grand Prix and motorcycling, the World Championship or the Open Banc Sabadell Trofeo Conde de Godó tennis tournament, the oldest in Spain, included in the ATP World Tour 500.
BARS AND RESTAURANTS IN BARCELONA
Catalan gastronomy and Mediterranean cuisine reach their maximum expression in Barcelona, where it is possible to taste the creations of many Michelin-starred chefs. The list includes Martín Berasategui, responsible for the first restaurant which was awarded three stars in Barcelona, the Lasarte, Sergi Arola, at the Hotel Arts, or Jordi Cruz, in Àbac, without forgetting Carme Ruscalleda, responsible for Moments, at the Mandarin Oriental hotel. Also, from Barcelona, you can easily get by train to her Sant Pol restaurant, in the small coastal town of Sant Pol de Mar, which was awarded three Michelin stars.
In any case, the huge range of bars and restaurants in Barcelona – in 2016 there were 7,400, and mostly concentrated in the district of Eixample – boasts many other legendary venues.
One of them is the restaurant Els Quatre Gats, a centenary corner in the Gothic quarter frequented by writers, musicians and painters of international fame, such as Rubén Darío, Antoni Gaudí, Isaac Albéniz, Enric Granados or Pablo Picasso. It is said that the latter owes a couple of coffees in another of the culinary references of Barcelona: the 7 Portes, opened in 1836, and whose delicious Catalan cuisine specialties were also tasted by figures such as Federico García Lorca, Salvador Dalí, Gabriel García Márquez, Maria Callas, Orson Welles and Woody Allen.
However, the oldest in this area is Can Culleretes, it is the oldest restaurant in Catalonia and second in Spain, according to the Guiness Book of Records (it was opened in 1786).
To this list should be added the seafood restaurants that dot Joan de Borbón boulevard, in the traditional fishing district of Barceloneta.
However, if you are looking for incomparable views, nothing better than having dinner or a drink on the terrace of one of the hotels that open their doors on Paseo de Gràcia, or in the W Barcelona hotel, famous for its unmistakable sail-shaped silhouette, and located on the beach. Montjuic mountain also has two other restaurants of category that offer panoramic views from the heights: the Xalet and Miramar.
However, any corner of the city is perfect for tasting traditional tapas or the indefectible pa amb tomàquet, one of the starlets of Catalan gastronomy.
And one last tip: when it comes to sipping a cocktail, it’s worth getting up to the Torre Rosa, an old Indian house with a beautiful garden and perfectly connected to the center by bus, subway or suburban Renfe train.
USEFUL APPS TO VISIT BARCELONA
When on a trip to an avant-garde and innovative city like Barcelona – that even has its own technological district, the 22@, located in Poblenou neighborhood, where you will find our apartments in Poblenou-, you should try out some apps that help you get to know the city better. Below, we mention, in alphabetical order, the top 10 apps to discover Barcelona that are a must for any visitor, available for both Apple and Android devices.
• AMB Taxi Barcelona. Abusive prices are over: with this app, jointly developed by the Barcelona City Council and the Autoridad Metropolitana del Transporte (AMB), the user will be able to know how much a taxi ride costs on average between two specific points.
• 22@Barcelona, the district of innovation. This official hour-long audioguide reviews the history of an old industrial district that has become a hotspot for technological companies and start-ups of great international projection in the last two decades. You can listen to it in Spanish, Catalan, English and French.
• Barcelona Official Guide. It is an interactive application that brings the city’s sigthseeing spots to the user. In addition, it is multilingual, as it is available in Spanish, English, French, German and Italian.
• Barcelona Metro Walks. This official audioguide proposes seven itineraries organized by proximity and easy acessibility by public transport. Available in Spanish, Catalan and English.
• Barcelona Restaurants. The official guide to restaurants in Barcelona, prepared by Turisme de Barcelona, is now available in app format. With it, the foodies will have access
to a selection of 170 gastronomic establishments with an excellent value for money. As in the previous case, it is a multilingual edition in Spanish, Catalan, English, French and Mandarin.
• Barcelona Then and Now. This unique app shows images of how the Catalan capital has evolved in the last century, and compares old photos of the main places of interest with their current equivalent.
• La Barcelona de Gaudí. It offers an hour-long audio guide covering 11 of the most important constructions that Antoni Gaudí bequeathed to the city. In this case, it can be used in Spanish, Catalan, English and French.
• La Barcelona Medieval. This mobile application offers a journey in time to take the traveler to the XIIth century, and reveals the main Romanesque and Gothic buildings of the Catalan capital. It is in Spanish, Catalan, English and French.
• mTrip. In addition to providing information on monuments, it allows you to create personalized tourist itineraries. Its price is 4,99 euros.
• TMB App. The application of the consortium Transportes Metropolitanos de Barcelona is perfect for calculating the shortest route by public transport (in metro, bus, tram, train) between two points in the city and the various municipalities in the metropolitan area. Also, you can check schedules, frequency, routes …