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It can all be a little overwhelming, the city may not be huge but the culture, activities, events, eateries etc. is vast. So we have taken it upon ourselves to amalgamate our local 12 years experience in the city via our blog. Whether you are planning on coming over for the festivals, want to find out vegan eats or general insider information, we will keep you in the loop.
El Born – fashionable and cultural district
When El Mercat de Born was inaugurated late last year and it is safe to say that it wasn’t your average market opening in Barcelona. The market was designed by municipal architect Antoni Rovira i Trias and built between 1874 and 1878. In it’s former day, the market was a pivotal part of the wholesale trade, with merchants buying and selling but was closed in 1971. Much was said about a re-inauguration, but all to no avail. In 2013 it finally remerged, but instead of returning as a market, it is a museum, with the original ruins impressively showcased under the glass flooring of the space.
Creativity is normally what comes to mind when many mention El Born. This barrio has extraordinary talent – offering some really unique designs from up and coming local designers, inheriting the past of the many artisans that lived here before. If you want to avoid the tourist strewn high street and go home with a little something special, this is your place. From leather bags, to customised dresses, handcrafted jewellery, this place is dangerous. The fact that it is all surrounded by cute bars and cafeterias makes it all the more easier to spend a day there. We recommend visiting Miriam Ponsa, Coquette for international contemporary brands and heading over to Blow the younger sibling on Le Swing on C/ Bonaire 6 for your vintage fix.
With an abundance of history comes the sightseeing, with the 13th-century gothic church of Santa Maria del Mar which is pretty special and breathtaking if you see a wedding ceremony about to take place. Barcelona’s Carrer Montcada is lined with a succession of medieval, Renaissance and baroque palazzos and can be traced back to the 12th century. A visit to the Picasso museum is a must, with it being one of “the” museums to see the works of a great extraordinaire. Be sure to get your tickets in advance as the queues can get rather long. Palau de la Música, commissioned by the nationalistic Orfeó Català choral society, is an impressive and decadent concert hall. If you are fortunate to have the opportunity to see a live performance, we recommend that you do so as there is something special about the sound in the space. Woody Allen has played there on several occasions.
When it comes to food, Born is brimming with gastronomy from the unique flavours at Saboc that has a menu dedicated to different cooking temperatures, to Llamber a former bodega transformed to a restaurant and owned by avid creatives that also have a restaurant in Asturias. Both restaurants, in addition to Cafe Kafka, are located to the right of the market. Like brunch? Then Picnic is a must, offering an amazing menu you can expect eggs benedict, pancakes and smoked salmon. If you find yourself in the area around aperitvo time, Bormut is a cool little place that serves a variety of vermuts and delicious tapas and is definitely worth visiting. Cal Pep is a classic in the area that is known for its incredible serving of butifarra amb mongetes (sausage and beans in a port wine reduction). The list goes on!
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