All over the map / Barcelona for Fun and Work
Barcelona for Fun and Work | Jessica VerSteeg image 86
May 16, 2017

Barcelona for Fun and Work

Barcelona has a reputation for being one of the most attractive cities in Europe. The city’s international cosmopolitan vibe makes it a favorite for many. With a wide range of activities and historical landmarks, boredom is something you will not hear about from visitors. Barcelona constantly surprises and inspires me, it’s like Paris, New York, or Tokyo — there’s always something to do, and you’d need a lifetime to do it all. Barcelona for Fun and Work

This trip to Barcelona we only had a few free days before the Mobile World Congress convention and then we had to head back to Moscow, but just because I did not get to do or see everything in this one trip does not mean you have to miss out. Here are a few recommendations (My personal favorites).

What to do in Barcelona

Stroll Las Ramblas: The most famous street in the city is also the most exuberant. A pedestrianized tree lined boulevard that runs along the edge of the old part of the city, reaching from the lively Plaça de Catalunya down to the harbour. Strolling La Rambla is one of the most popular things to do in Barcelona.

Discover the Gothic QuarterThis area has a range of attractions including the wonderful Picasso Museum and the Placa Reial. The Picasso Museum is one of the most famous museums in Barcelona, it give you a glimpse into Picasso’s life, his approach to art, and his special relationship with the city. It is truly a breathtaking collection and some of his most famous pieces are housed there. After touring the museum, don’t forget to visit the courtyard that is sure to take you back in time. The Place Reial has something for everyone at all times of the day or night, be it enjoying the local cuisine at one of the traditional Spanish and Catalan restaurants or checking out one of the many nightclubs in the square.

This iconic spot on the map was designed by Francesc Daniel Molina i Casamajó in the 19th century, in the center of the square there is a large iron fountain named “Tres Gràcies” (Three Graces) that was designed by Antoni Rovira i Trias around the same period as well as two large and highly imposing lanterns,  designed by famous local sculptor Antoni Gaudí, designed to convey a message of  the heroism of medieval Catalan conquerors. The area also has several churches, the most famous in the Bari Gòtic is the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia. It is an excellent example of the Catalan Gothic style with tall, slender pillars. It also houses a marble choir screen sculpted after drawings by Bartolomé Ordóñez, one of Spain’s greatest Renaissance artists.

Speaking of churches stop by La Sagrada FamiliaThe design of this church, the Church of the Holy Family, began in 1882 by Francisco de P. Villar. In 1883, however, the design was taken over by Gaudí. Gaudí drastically enlarged the size from the original plans and redesigned the interior columns of the nave to appear like a forest, using nature as his guiding aesthetic. Except for two pauses, one in 1926—the year of Gaudí’s death—the other in 1940, work on the church has steadily continued. While the spectacular Sagrada Familia is his most famous legacy, sites around the city including Parc Guell, Casa Mila and Casa Batilo are well worth visiting.

Hit the Beach, unless you go in the winter like I just did: The stretch of golden sand faces the Mediterranean and is a great place to work on your tan.

Go to a Fútbol (soccer) game: Spain is a fútbol country, and if you’re a soccer fan or if you’re just curious about another “church” in Spanish, do yourself a favor and head to a game. Barcelona’s football stadium, Camp Nou, is one of the most famous in the world,  a must-see if you have time. If you’ll be visiting Barcelona during fútbol season head to a Barcelona game. Find tickets here.

Art lovers: I love spending an afternoon visiting the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (also known as MACBA) except on Tuesdays, because for some reason they are closed on Tuesdays. MACBA houses some key Spanish and Catalan art pieces, making for a great opportunity to learn more about art from this part of the world.  Also here are a few contemporary art galleries recommended by culture trip : Artevista Gallery, PLOM Gallery, Untitled bcn, Miscelanea, Espai[b], and Galería Sends.

Get a bird’s eye view: The Montjuic Cable Cars gives you a beautiful view of the city.

Best Hotels in Barcelona

Ritz Carlton: Fronted by the iconic fish sculpture known as Peix, this luxe hotel occupies a high-rise building marked by a glass and exposed steel facade. It’s 2.7 km from Sagrada Família and Plaça de Catalunya. Featuring marble bathrooms, upscale rooms with an option for Club-level rooms or suites and apartments. There are 5 restaurants, one of them has a good breakfast buffet and there’s an extensive spa with 8 treatment rooms.

Mandarin Oriental: The luxurious Mandarin Oriental Barcelona features a spa, rooftop pool and wonderful city views. Spacious designer rooms feature a home theatre and 24-hour room service. The spa offers a wide range of treatments. Spa access is free and includes the indoor pool, hot tub, Hammam and 24-hour gym. Also the hotel’s Moments restaurant offers innovative cuisine by world-famous Catalan chef, Carme Ruscalleda. You can dine al fresco in the Mimosa garden, and discover the on-site BistrEau by Angel León, a casual sea bistro.

Omm: Hotel Omm in Barcelona offers stylish accommodations on Passeig de Gràcia, 5-minute walk from Gaudí’s La Pedrera. It features a rooftop swimming pool and a terrace offering excellent views of Barcelona. Each of the Omm’s rooms has chic, contemporary décor. Rooms overlook Passeig de Gràcia, or the hotel’s interior garden. The hotel also has a Michelin-starred restaurant, the Roca Moo, which is managed by the Celler Can Roca and specializes in modern Catalan cuisine. The Roca Bar offers an innovative selection of street food and dishes to share. There is also a nightclub with DJ and live music.

W Hotel: This property is a 1 minute walk from the beach. W Barcelona is a striking sail-like structure next to Barceloneta Beach, offering breathtaking design and fantastic views over Barcelona. It features a spa, infinity pool, rooftop bar and luxurious rooms. The W Hotel’s impressive rooms feature avant-garde design and views of the Mediterranean or the city. The W has two stylish gourmet restaurants; BRAVO24, run by Michelin-starred chef Carlos Abellán, and WAVE. At ECLIPSE rooftop bar, located on the 26th floor, you can enjoy a cocktail with panoramic views over the city and sea. Cocktails are also offered in the W Lounge. The SALT Beach Club & Restaurant has a menu of innovative burgers accompanied by specially designed cocktails to live the ultimate burger by the beach experience.

Majestic: The Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona GL offers luxurious accommodation in a neoclassical building on Passeig de Gràcia. It features a spa, rooftop swimming pool and a terrace with amazing views of the city. The Majestic Hotel Barcelona maintains its original façade and its stylish, modern rooms feature attractive, classic décor. The spa features steam baths, a sauna and offers a range of treatments. There is also a fitness centre. For dinning the hotel has 2 elegant restaurants; The Patio del Majestic Restaurant serves buffet breakfast and an à la carte lunch, whilst Condal Restaurant serves dinner. There is also a piano bar, Bar del Majestic, with live music in the evenings. During the summer guests can enjoy Dolce Vitae Cocktail Bar, which is located by the pool and overlooks Barcelona.

Best Places to eat in Barcelona

Brunch: The Juice House, Marmalade, Picnic, and Brunch & Cake

LunchRestaurant Angle

Dinner: GatsbyABaCThe Boca Grande, Parco sushi, Dos Palillos, Tickets Bar

Where to relax and move on from that jet lag

Aire De BarcelonaDuring the weekdays, you can visit their thermal baths (they’re known for these!) or treat yourself to a massage, they have several different treatments to choose from.

The Pink Peony: I have only had a manicure here but my friend that recommended it said she gets her waxes and facials. Stop in for a quick manicure and you’ll find yourself feeling a bit more put together in no time.

Vanitas espai: Sometimes you just need a good blow out and I usually go to Vanitas.

Quick Tip: While Barcelona is a great place to visit, it also has its fair share of pickpockets. Las Ramblas is a particular hotspot because of high tourist foot traffic.

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On our way
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On these long flights movies are a must!
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Sometimes movies are not enough and I need to stretch, this helps my blood flow the other way.
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When you love him so much you want cuddle even on a flight, yet I squeezed into his bed.

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Flowers waiting for me in the room

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Love is in the air
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Is this what they think American Pancakes look like?
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Starbucks coffee in Spain, it feels wrong, but we did it anyways!

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The view from our hotel roof top

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I love blow outs from Vanitas Espai
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Ummmm yes!

Ready for dinner at Parco, located in the heart of Barcelona at the top of Paseo de Gracia is one of my favorite little sushi spots. Some of my favorites from this dinner were the toro, butter fish, uni, and salmon. The unique creations offered by Parco, are not traditional Japanese, many of the items are more Japanese-inspired. Speaking of unique creations, I highly suggest you order the baked ice cream with the chocolate dip for dessert. Another thing I love about Parco is despite how busy they were the staff was efficient, they got our order right, and more importantly they kept a very friendly attitude and seemed to genuinely enjoy their work.

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Sushi date night at parco sushi
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In Spain, having tea and sushi with the man of my dreams. Life can’t get much better.
Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral
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Being tourists

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kings statue in barcelona
Jaume I ruled as King of Aragon, Count of Barcelona, Lord of Montpellier, King of Majorca, and King of Valencia. His reign outlasted that of any other Iberian Monarch.
king statue in Barcelona
He is remembered in part of his establishment of the Mediterranean as a major port of trade, as well as for helping to establish and develop the Catalan language, strongly supporting Catalan literature.
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They love “American” food here I see.
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The Jewish quarter (El Call), is considered to be the most beautiful part of the Gothic Quarter. Its endless narrow streets are filled with nice restaurants, bars, and cafes. The remains of ancient synagogue are still preserved here.
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This one is always working
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It’s a little chilly to lay out, but hey.

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I feel like I captured a classic Coca Cola photo haha
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Dinner at The Boca Grande

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The next day we Started our Journey in a cable car, checked out Montjuïc Castle, went to the park, and explored more into the heart of Barcelona’s Old Town known as Ciutat Vella.

Montjuïc Cable Car
Montjuïc Cable Car
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Montjuic Cable Cars


Montjuïc Castle
Montjuïc Castle

They have an access bridge at the main entrance and a corridor with two ramps for access to the interior of the castle

_t3a8536 entrada

The courtyard is a rectangular open space located in the highest part of the castle…

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The artillery batteries and dungeons

bateria calabossos2

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America, why? Why can’t we just do a few things differently? The streets / side walks are so beautiful here.
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While he works I take selfies.

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In love with this door
The Barri Gòtic Gothic Quarter
The Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter)
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Back home and almost supper time

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Good morning Barcelona, bacon, and eggs.

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After breakfast I left the boys to do work for tomorrow’s meetings
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I went exploring a bit
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I met up with the boys around dinner time, still working but in a new location.

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randomly woke up starving at 2am so we ordered room service

And today the work starts at Mobile World Congress

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We made it to mobile world congress
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Work is being discussed

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Google fan girl
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The day is done
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and my feet hurt
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All packed and off to bed now xo
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Airport lounge
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A much needed foot massage at the airport
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bye bye


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