Insider Guide BARCELONA by Andrew Forbes

Insider Guide – Barcelona


Hotel Praktik Bakery

Wake up to the smell of freshly baked bread at this simple and chic hotel. Found in the swish Eixample district of Barcelona, this budget-priced boutique property has a working Baluard bakery in the lobby. The minimalist rooms, designed by Lazaro Rosa-Violán, are all white and have comfy king-sized beds and ensuite bathrooms with spacious showers (with striking blue, bespoke octagonal tiles). Other design details include signage on bread panels and humorous Spanish quotes about bread. Delicious location too, close to Gaudí’s La Pedrera (Casa Milà).


Hotel Mandarin Oriental Barcelona

It just doesn’t get any more stylish than Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia; a fusion of New York City’s Fifth Avenue and London’s Bond Street. Here one finds some of Barcelona’s finest hotels and the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona certainly sets the bar in terms of luxury, design, service, gastronomy and ambiance. Home to some of the finest guest suites in town, designed by Patricia Urquiola as well as three of the city’s most illustrious restaurants, this is a fine address to call home whilst staying in the Catalan capital.



Kalipolis Walking Tours

For a true ‘insider’s’ view of the city, then a walking tour with an experienced and registered guide is a sure way to get off the well-beaten tourist trail. Marta Roigé is a friendly English speaking guide and resident that will show you the ‘Kalipolis’ Barcelona that the guide books ignore.


Sant Pau Art Nouveau site

Of course Barcelona is the city of Catalan Modernism and no architect is better known than Antoni Gaudí. His exceptional imagination can be seen across the capital, from the extraordinary Basílica de la Sagrada Família, the playful Park Güell, to posh homes such as Casa Batlló.

Yet for something new and original, pay a visit to Sant Pau. Designed by architect Domènech i Montaner, this former hospital is a wonderful collection of Art Nouveau structures. Now being restored and opened to the public, one can stroll the grounds and visit some of the buildings with a guide.


Encants Market

One of Barcelona’s oldest markets has been given a stylish, architectural boost with a modern, reflective canopy roof, beneath which traders offer second-hand goods, vintage items and antiques – an authentic city flea market and auction place.



El Nacional

A unique city destination, El Nacional is a macro gastronomic venue, home to upscale bars and restaurants. Each with their own distinct style, they make up an integrated experience; definitely on-trend right now.


Fàbrica Moritz Barcelona

Some 150 years ago Louis Moritz founded Moritz Beer which is now iconic throughout the city. The Fàbrica Moritz Barcelona is one of Europe’s largest micro-breweries, as well as a cultural and social space. Bringing together a brewery, wine bar, restaurant, bakery, exhibition space and even a gift store, this is one of liveliest and fun places to eat and drink.


Roca Bar

To enjoy food from Michelin starred chefs like the legendary Roca Brothers need not break the bank. Roca Bar, in the über stylish Hotel Omm, offers tapas, sharing plates, gourmet dishes and a generous set lunch menu too, all at affordable prices.


Restaurante Dos Cielos

Gastronomic chefs Sergio and Javier Torres have been reaching for the stars since they were teenagers learning to cook with their grandmother. Their ‘Restaurante Dos Cielos’ is on the 24 floor of the Hotel Meliá Barcelona Sky and brings fine dining to new heights of creativity.


BistrEau by Ángel León

Andalusian Michelin starred chef Ángel León has brought his passion for the sea to the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona. This informal restaurant with a witty menu makes for a relaxed and enjoyable meal.



Vicens Torrons – nougat

Turrón, the famous nougat confectionary is a favourite in Spain at this time of year. Known as torron in Catalan, some of the very best is found in Barcelona.


Zuazu – jewellery

The El Born district is where one finds some of the city’s best independent boutiques. Félix Llorente Zuazu’s jewellery store is no exception, where he offers his handmade creations.


Room – fashion

This is where young, cutting edge designers meet old school vintage. It’s a great place to find one-off pieces of original clothing or unusual accessories




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