Stretching along the Mediterranean Sea, Barcelona is the second largest city of Spain. The city’s illustrious historical roots combined with world-class amenities have made it the 16th most visited city in the world. Be it culture, music, sports, fashion or commerce, Barcelona caters to a myriad of interests.
The region’s Mediterranean climate allows it to welcome visitors throughout the year. The city enjoys warm summery weather for almost six months of the year. Winters are mild with temperatures averaging at a minimum of 5°C in January and February.
Barcelona is a city where the nostalgic and the contemporary mesh together to create a vibe that is quite its own. Be it the Gaudi-carved spires of La Sagrada Familia or the bullet-shaped Business centre Torre Agbar or Las Ramblas, the most well-known pedestrian street in the world…in Barcelona each one finds its unique space.
BIG ON STYLE
Young and famed architect Francisco de P. Villar i Carmona spent three years designing a church. But, he was prohibited from building it as his concepts were considered to be too revolutionary. So, when Francisco was approached by the Climent Arola family to build their house, he let his imagination loose to create a building that reflected his innovative ideas…a house that would stand out as one of Barcelona’s loveliest buildings.
Today, the Climent Arola house is a small boutique hotel by the name of Praktik Rambla. Large round balconies, hydraulic floors, sweeping marble staircases and Ionic columns make up this lovely building. The detailing on the mouldings on the ceilings and the walls, the Baroque columns are all from the original structure. One step inside and it feels like you have been transported to the Barcelona of the yesteryears.
While the walls and ceilings wax eloquent of this historic building’s grandeur, the interiors have been redone to provide all the comforts of a modern day hotel. The rooms are minimalist and follow a largely monochromatic palate, providing the perfect canvas for the fun element brought in by the emerald hued tiles in the bathrooms. The hotel also has a terrace area with cosy seating arrangements and large plants…a veritable oasis in the middle of the city.
Legend goes that Francisco still roams the halls of this building, and why not? After all he often referred to it as the house of his dreams.
AROUND THE WORLD
If you are looking for a wind-up toy from Iran, or kitchenware from Ukraine, or baskets from Senegal, then this shop in a quiet street in Barcelona is the stop for you. Fantastik is as fantastical as its name suggests. Walls are lined top-to-bottom with shelves heaving under the cute and bizarre.
Whatever does not find space on the shelves is spread across the floor. The shop is stocked with souvenirs sourced from over 20 countries by the owners and their friends. Fantastik probably does not stock anything that you need but you will find something that you want.
AT THE OLYMPICS
There is no doubting the taste that is plated up at the two Michelin star Arola in Hotel Arts in the Olympic Village, and the location and the tasteful interiors add an extra dimension to the diner’s palate.
No single person has left a more pronounced effect on the architectural fabric of a city as Antoni Gaudi has on Barcelona but it is La Sagrada Familia that towers over all Gaudi creations. Under construction since 1882, the cloud-kissing steeples of this structure can be seen from almost any street in Barcelona.
Gaudi, it seems knew that he would not see the completion of his most ambitious project, and thus made only a sketch of the building leaving the detailing to be filled in by his successors. He wished the final edifice to incorporate different artistic styles, as is already achieved in the two contrasting facades.
Text By : Himali Kothari