The best places to eat bravas in Barcelona

20th November, 2014 / / No Comments

Eating patatas bravas is nearly a religion for many in real Barcelona. That’s why you need to know the best places to eat bravas in Barcelona, the most genuine and popular places for Catalans, not for tourists.

With a pint of cold beer or soda, but also vermouth (Remember our post In real Barcelona we prefer vermouth!), patatas bravas are the perfect appetizer at any time. But, what is it exactly? Simple: fried thick potatoes with a spicy sauce. But not really spicy compared to some Japanese or Mexican delicatessen, of course.

Avoid those bars where the potatoes come from the freezer and the sauce is just ketchup mixed with mayonnaise: those are not real patatas bravas. Here’s a list of our favourite places to eat bravas in Barcelona:

  • Bar Tomás (Sarrià)
    This is supposed to be the best place to eat bravas in Barcelona, or at least so says the tradition. The only drawback is that it is a little bit far from the city centre, in Sarrià area. But the trip is only 15 minutes long (by FGC train, Sarrià stop) and it is absolutely worth it: the neighbourhood is cute and the bravas are amazing.
  • Moritz (City Centre)
    Moritz beer’s brewery is popular among tourists and locals to have a niche fresh beer but also to delight your senses with their delicious plates. Bravas are not an exception. You can go either to 300 del Born or to the original brewery
  • Bar Calders (Sant Antoni)
    Right next to Sant Antoni Market, within walking distance from Catalunya square, you’ll find some amazing tapas bars. Calders Bar is one of the best places to eat great plates in Barcelona as well as beautifully decorated and very popular.
  • La Principal (Sant Antoni)
    Excellent patatas bravas cooked with skin and at the oven, with a deliciously spicy but soft sauce. Amazing! And the bar is quite cool too, and close to Universitat square.
  • Mercat de la Princesa (Born)
    This is not exactly a bar, but a market with many small food stalls of all kinds (Japanese, vegetarian, Mexican, Tapas, seafood…). A good place to have dinner in a different environment. And you’ll find amazing bravas there as well!
  • Segons Mercat (Barceloneta)
    This bar is right next to the sea, in Barceloneta neighbourhood. You’ll find delicious patatas bravas there, and many other exquisite dishes and the best seafood. Also, it is within walking distance from Twentytú!

Do you know any other places to eat good bravas in Barcelona? Tell us!

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Cycling in Barcelona

14th November, 2014 / / No Comments

Sustainable tourism begins with using responsible means of transport, such as our favourite: the bike! Today we tell you the basic things you need to know to go cycling around Barcelona, as well as some interesting routes you will love.

Basic advice for cycling in Barcelona

  • – There are bike lanes all over the city. Use them as far as you can, and try to avoid routes where there are no special lanes for bicycles. The city Council has mapped all the bike lanes in a map. If that’s not possible, just respect circulation rules and use your common sense!
  • – If you go cycling around Barcelona’s city centre, be patient with pedestrian and do not rush, just enjoy the views. In this area, most streets are really narrow and crowded, so it is highly important to respect everyone.
  • – Helmet is not compulsory when you cycle inside the city, but it is recommended. Also, if you ride at night, remember to use lights and to be even more careful.
  • – If you need to use public transport, take into account that during rush hours (around 9 am and around 5pm) you can’t carry your bike by metro or train. And also, check out our post on sustainable tourism and green mobility in Barcelona.

Cool cycling routes around Barcelona

We’ve chosen three routes that represent what Barcelona is about: city, beach and mountain. All in one… and by bike!

  • Barcelona seaside
    From Colom monument to Fòrum there’s a great bike lane. You’ll see the harbour and some beaches. Just take it easy and enjoy! This route is especially cool in a bright sunny day.
    Level: super easy and fun.
  • Best views from the top of Barcelona
    You can’t leave this city without having enjoyed a panoramic view from Collserola Mountain. There’s an area there, Carretera de les Aigües (Waters road), which is always full of cyclists and runners. A natural area where to make some sport as well as taking the best pictures of Barcelona.
    Level: medium. 2-3 hours with some pronounced slopes but mostly smooth
  • The city centre by bike
    It is becoming more common to see groups of tourists riding around the narrow streets of Gòtic and Born. Why not be one of them? It’s a different (and faster) way to see the whole old town. But do not forget to take it easy and stop frequently: it is worth it!
    Level: easy, but be careful with pedestrians in narrow and crowded streets.

Where can you rent a bike?
Well, guess where. AT TWENTYTÚ! We offer bikes for rental for 10€/day. Simple and great, isn’t it? Ask at our reception!

See? Cycling is the best way to discover Barcelona and practice sustainable tourism. Get a bike and enjoy Barcelona!

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Weird museums in Barcelona

6th November, 2014 / / No Comments

One of the greatest things about real Barcelona is that it hosts some of the weirdest museums you will ever find. Some of them are even unknown by Barcelona citizens. Here’s a list of our favorites.

  • Perfume Museum
    It was opened in 1961 and ever since then it has been showing the most beautiful perfume bottles. It’s good to have a different view of the history of fashion and style through the finest perfumes. One of those museums in Barcelona that not even local people know that exist.
  • Inventions Museum
    There’s a museum in Barcelona about the best and worst inventions ever. Some of them have transformed the way we live, but some others have never become a reality, although the idea was genius. For example, someone invented a mop with a microphone on top, so that cleaning your home could be much more fun.
  • This is a museum that kids will absolutely love. Some weeks ago we told you about Barcelona museums for kids.
  • Funeral carriages museum
    This is not a joke. There is a museum in Barcelona all about funeral carriages. Transport from church to cementery has been nearly as important as the ceremony itself. That’s why Barcelona’s cementeries have put together this exhibit to discover the history of funeral carriages through the past century.
  • Footwear museum
    Another unknown weird museum in Barcelona: one dedicated to the history of shoes. But not only will you see a wide variety of footwear from all times. There are also shoes that belonged to famous Catalan personalities such as the clown Charlie Rivel or our most international musician, Pau Casals.
  • Music museum
    If you enjoy any melody, don’t miss this museum in Barcelona. You’ll see more than 500 musical instruments of all kinds, as well as other related objects and documents.
  • Automaton Museum (Tibidabo)
    Tibidabo theme park hosts a singular museum: one with many types of automata, vintage mechanical games and toys, coin-operated figures and much more. A great way to go back to childhood!
  • Mammoth Museum
    From all the weird museums that there are in Barcelona, this might be one of the best: everything about the mammoth and other prehistoric animals, especially those who used to live in Catalunya.

Did you like our list of the weirdest museums in Barcelona? If you prefer traditional museums, some time ago we told you about the best art museums in Barcelona and, most importantly, when to visit them for free, in our post Free culture in Barcelona.

Go ahead and enjoy the weird museums in Barcelona!

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La Castanyada and Halloween in Barcelona

31st October, 2014 / / No Comments

It’s Halloween in Barcelona, kids! But for Catalan tradition, the night of the 31st October it’s La Castanyada. What does that mean? We told you about it last year (read our post on La Castanyada).

To sum up: when summer is gone and it starts to get colder, it’s nice to sit by the fire, isn’t it? It’s even better if you’re eating some toasted chestnuts and sweet potatoes, as well as panellets, those little delicious sweets you’ll find in any bakery. That’s what La Castanyada is about!

So here’s what you have to do these days in Barcelona: look for a Castanyera (a lady who sells chestnuts at the street) and enjoy at any time!

Other Halloween plans in Barcelona

Even though according to the tradition we should be celebrating Castanyada and nothing else, Halloween has become popular also in Barcelona. That’s why there are many things to do in Barcelona in Halloween.

  • Pumpkin Electronik: after their big success with Piknik Electronik, these guys are back in town with their Pumpkin Electronik: a Halloween party in Barcelona just for electronic music lovers.
  • Halloween kids: as scary as it might be, Halloween is a fun party for children. That’s why we recommend this Halloween party at Poble Espanyol. If your kids prefer museums, check out this post: Barcelona Museums for kids.
  • Basketween: this is only for basketball lovers. What about seeing an Euroleague match with FC Barcelona… but in a Halloween style? FC Barcelona is decorating the stadium so that you feel the Halloween vibe during the game. And if you like basketball, you’ll also enjoy this post: Real Barcelona for basketball lovers.
  • The night of the souls: at Sagrada Família popular centre, there will be plenty of activities to get to know how different cultures celebrate the night of the 31st October.

So now it’s up to you to celebrate either La Castanyada or Halloween in Barcelona. Or both!

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Souvenirs made in Barcelona

23rd October, 2014 / / 1 Comment

Hey: don’t be regular tourists! As you know, in this blog category we tell you all about the Real Barcelona and how to avoid being a regular tourist and starting behaving as a real Barcelona local! Today we give you some ideas to get the best souvenirs made in Barcelona. So, forget about Mexican hats, fiesta or flamenco and go real!

Cool bookshops in Barcelona

Some of the coolest libraries in Barcelona also sell beautiful books and other souvenurs from Barcelona. Although it might be a little more expensive than in a regular souvenir shop, we guarantee anything you get there will be much more beautiful! Some of them are Laie, La Central or FNAC Barcelona.

If you are looking for something different, The ‘Nerd’ Triangle is your place. As you might know, it is the biggest shopping area dedicated to comic books, ‘manga’ and all sorts of things that nerds will adore.

Beautiful souvenirs shops in Barcelona

In the city centre, among bars and regular gift shops, you will find some shops that are truly an oasis. All sorts of souvenirs from Barcelona but made with love, and many of them made in Barcelona.

A few examples? Art Montfalcon, Itaca, Nuovum or Wawas offer gorgeous gifts to take back home. If you are planning on visiting some museums too, have a quick look at the museum’s shop. Here’s a list of some of the museums we like.

Food & Drinks

What is the typical food in Barcelona? Besides paella and sangría (remember: In real Barcelona we prefer vermouth!), here’s a list of some other products you will really enjoy:

  • Catalan cookies: Birba or Trias brands offer beautiful packaging and delicious cookies. Perfect for gifts, and they are produced in Catalunya!
  • Cava: similar to champagne, cava is the typical sparkling wine that is only produced in Catalunya. You can’t leave without tasting some. And, by the way, we also have some wonderful wines and vermouths. Take a chance!
  • Pork products: fuet, chorizo or jamón are only some of the parts of pork that can be pretty tasteful.

Fashion made in Barcelona

If you walk around Barcelona, you will notice that it is quite a fashionable city. We have great designers and local shops that offer great clothes, shoes and accessories. Where to find them? Just go to El Born (Metro L4 Jaume I) or Gràcia (Metro L3 Fontana) neighbourhoods and enjoy window shopping!

Some recommendations: La Manual Alpargatera (Catalan shoes), OMG Barcelona (they offer many products made by Barcelona designers), Bon Vent (cute Mediterranean fashion), Pinza’t (bags with recycled materials) and many more!

Or maybe you prefer cheaper products and bargains… Then you’ll find your place at second hand and flea markets in Barcelona, as we told you a while ago.

Barcelona souvenirs we don’t like

In touristic areas such as Las Ramblas, you will see hundreds of souvenir shops everywhere. Though you may find beautiful or interesting things there, you will also see some Barcelona souvenirs that local people don’t really approve:

  • Mexican hats: we have nothing against Mexico, but we never wear those, and nor did our ancestors. Then, why is it sold as something typical from Barcelona? It isn’t!
  • Flamenco things such as clothes, statues, magnets and whatever: flamenco is beautiful and many Catalans love it, but it is not from Barcelona neither. It comes from the south of Spain, where there’s a long tradition.
  • T-shirts with fiesta, siesta or paella words on them: you know, we are much much more than just that!

You see there are plenty of beautiful and authentic souvenirs in Barcelona! Go for them!

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The best photo apps for travellers

17th October, 2014 / / No Comments

If you like photography, travel and technology, keep reading: here are some of the best photo apps that every traveller should know. And most of them are free, so there are no excuses!

Instagram
This is the number one photo app, whether you travel or not. It is also one of the most popular social networks among young people. But it is especially useful for travellers, as you can geo-tag your posts or use some of the most popular hashtags in the area you are visiting. If you are visiting us, do not forget to use #twentytu!

SKRWT
Barcelona is full of marvellous buildings you will want to remember. But photographing architecture can be quite tricky: you need to respect lines and perspectives! Here’s an app that will help you make the best shots!

Sktchy
Turn the places you visit into drawings! With this photo app you can make sketches out of your shots, so you will get.

Frametastic
This photo app’s name says it all: just fantastic frames for your photos!

FXCamera
Although Instagram offers lots of filters, for some people it’s just not enough. In this photo app you will find some more filters.

Vintage Deco
Everyone knows that vintage is a trend now, so why not transform your photos into an early 20th century style?

Photoshop Express
If you are a Photoshop user, you might want to keep it up also on your mobile. Here’s a free app by Adobe that features the main functions of Photoshop.

Postagram
Those typical postcards you send when you are travelling could become much, much better with this photo app! Design your own postcard with one of your fantastic photos and a personalised message. You friends and relatives will be delighted!

Photosynth
If cinema is able to produce 3D movies, why can’t you have 3D pictures taken with your phone? Finally a great photo app has been created for that purpose. With Photosynth you can create 360-degree views of whatever you like (our great rooftop chill-out terrace, for example) and share it with your friends!

Trip Journal
You have taken thousands of photos during your trip to Barcelona but they are all stuck in your phone. What to do? Make a digital album out of them! With Trip Journal, you can add photos as well as comments and much more, so that you will remember your trip just as it was.

So you see that travel technologies such as these photo apps can be really useful and fun!

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Rally Catalunya comes to Barcelona!

13th October, 2014 / / No Comments

For those who are into motor competitions and cars, this month there’s a great event just for you in Barcelona: Rally Catalunya (23rd-26th October)! This historical competition was held for the first time in 1916 (almost one century ago!), but the first official Catalunya race wasn’t until 50 years ago. Ever since that moment, it has evolved significantly. And now it’s back in town with a lot of things to do in Barcelona during those days!

The first Rally Catalunya in 1916

The first motor competition that was held in Barcelona in 1916 was quite different from today. Cars belonged to particular owners and they could drive themselves (they would get extra points if they did) or they could hire a mechanic to do so. If there were ladies riding the car during the competition, they would get extra points too.

According to a newspaper of the time (Heraldo Deportivo), some of the drivers cheated (with the weights of their cars), the time was not properly calculated and the roads were not good enough. Can you imagine an official competition under these circumstances?

Rally Catalunya 2014

Things have changed a lot since 1916, and now Rally Catalunya is one great competition for motor lovers! It begins at Costa Daurada (the Southern coast of Catalunya), and you will be able to see it in some of the main venues, all in Tarragona province. Check out more information here.

But the main question will be: who is going to win? After 8 consecutive victories by Sébastien Loeb, last year there was a new champion: Sébastien Ogier. Who will get lucky this year?

The great event in Barcelona: 23rd October

Rally Catalunya is also going to take place in Barcelona, with an official part of the race being held around Montuïc mountain, but also an ehibition and promotional events. Here’s a brief timetable so that you do not miss anything:

  • All day long: Exhibition about the history of motor sports, inside the Arenas Shopping Centre, right in Espanya Square (Metro Espanya L1 L3). It will be open some days before as well, from the 20th October.
  • 2.00pm: rallycars will start to arrive at Espanya. Each of them is going to make two laps around the stage.
  • Afternoon: all sorts of promotional events, such as press conferences, signing autographs…
  • 5.00pm: exhibition of historic rally cars.
  • 6.00pm: the race! Each car will have to make two laps around Montjuïc, driving a total of 3.2 km.

So if you are into motor and cars, do not miss Rally Catalunya this year and its many things to do in Barcelona!

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Second hand and flea markets in real Barcelona

8th October, 2014 / / No Comments

Why buy new products when you can reuse other people’s stuff? In real Barcelona, we love recycling and reusing, not only because we care about the environment but also because we love vintage!

That’s why in real Barcelona (the non-touristic one) second hand and flea markets are becoming more and more popular. And October is a quite busy month for flea markets and second hand markets in Barcelona. Here’s a list of some of the best:

Second hand and flea markets in october

  • BLBCN (Brick Lane Barcelona)
    When? 11th October
    Where? Princesa St, in El Born. (Metro Jaume I L4)
    What? Only vintage and second hand items by particulars.
  • Demanoenmano
    When? 11th October 2014
    Where? At CCCB, in the city centre (Metro Catalunya, L1 or L3)
    What? Vintage and recycled items as well as local artists’ work.
  • Flea Market Barcelona
    When? 12th October
    Where? Drassanes gardens (Metro Drassanes L3)
    What? People selling all kinds of vintage stuff. And lots of bargains!
  • Two Market Second Hand Barcelona
    When? 18th-19th October 2014
    Where? Zamora St. 78, in Poblenou. Very close to Twentytú!
    What? All sorts of second hand and vintage objects.
  • Horror Market
    When? 26th October
    Where? Espai Jove La Fontana, Gran de Gràcia St 190, in Gràcia (Metro L3 Fontana)
    What? Second hand and vintage market but with a theme: Halloween and scary stuff! Real fun!

And some other markets open all year long

  • Dominical de Sant Antoni
    When? Every Sunday from 8.30am to 2.30 pm
    Where? In Sant Antoni Market (Metro Sant Antoni L2 or Urgell L1)
    What? Books, videogames, comic books, magazines, films, music… of all kinds! This market is well-known in Barcelona because it’s been going on for decades. Do not miss it!
  • El Rastro de la Virgen
    When? First Saturday every month from midday to 8pm
    Where? Verge St (Metro Universitat L1 or L2)
    What? Second hand, antigue and ecologic market.
  • Encants
    When? Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays 9am-8pm
    Where? Glòries square, in Poblenou. Very close to Twentytú!
    What? Anything. Seriously.

See? In real Barcelona, away from tourists, there are lots of second hand and flea markets!

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Festa al Cel: a great event near Barcelona

25th September, 2014 / / No Comments

As La Mercè festivity comes to an end, there are still a lot of things to do in Barcelona. There’s a very special event this Sunday to close Barcelona’s main fest until next year: a party at the sky (Festa al Cel). It is a fantastic airshow that has been held in Barcelona for more than 20 years, although this time it takes place in a new venue: Mataró beach.

More than 100.000 people are expected to come to Mataró this Sunday morning to see the oldest and largest airshow in Spain. But what is it about? Aircrafts, speed, expertise, technology, aerobatics… A unique show in the sky!

This year’s edition will count on nearly 50 aircrafts, from the Spanish forces as well as aerobatics champions, international performers and much more. From 11am to 2pm on Sunday, you have a great chance to see some of the best air performers in the world… from the beach!

  • When is it held?
    28th September from 11 am to 3 pm is the official date, but there will be activities all weekend long. Check out the programme here.
  • How to get to Mataró?
    This year is the first time that this show isn’t held in Barcelona beaches (due to issues with El Prat airport). But it hasn’t gone too far: Mataró is just 25 minutes away by train from the city.

Get on a R1 Train in Arc de Triomf station (within walking distance from Twentytú) and get off the train in Mataró. There, you will see signs to get to the beach where the show will take place.

  • What to do in Mataró before or after the show?
    Besides the activities related to Festa al Cel, there are plenty of other things to do in this area near Barcelona. Mataró is a nice, Mediterranean city a few miles North from Barcelona. It is the capital city of Maresme region, a really beautiful area for its beaches, small villages and nature. In Mataró you will find a lovely old town, many shops and great beaches. Check out this website on tourism in Mataró for more information.

If you get tired of it, jump on a train or bus to Vilassar, Premià or Cabrils, also beautiful villages with great surroundings. The main point is that it is not a touristic area, but a lively place where there is a high quality of life and it offers a lot of things to do near Barcelona!

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Things to do in Barcelona in Autumn

18th September, 2014 / / No Comments

Autumn is almost here and there are a lot of things to do in Barcelona these months. Tired of sitting by the window watching the rain fall and feeling melancholic? Go out and do things in Barcelona!

Say hello to autumn with a great festival

La Mercè is almost here! We told you about it last week on this blog, but remember there will be lots of free concerts all around the city and many activities! Check out our post on things to do in Barcelona during La Mercè.

Go to concerts

Whatever your style is, we’re sure you will find your fit! Here is a list of our favourites:
19th – 23rd Sept: Barcelona Acció Musical
1st Oct: Swans
1st Oct: Pharrell Williams
14th Oct: Kylie Minogue
10th Oct – 29th Nov: 46 Voll-Damm Jazz Festival

And one more musical tip: check out which concerts are expected this Autumn at the famous Razzmatazz club: they are good, fun, not very expensive… and only one minute away from Twentytú!

Collserola or Montjuïc are the two most important mountains that surround Barcelona. Both offer great views of the city all year long. But Autumn is a special time of the year: leaves replace their green by other colours from yellow to brown or red. So a walk around a colourful forest is a really good idea! And there are many things to do in these Barcelona mountains.

  • How to get to Collserola? Go to Catalunya (Metro L1 or L3) and pick a FGC train to Baixador de Vallvidrera or Peu del Funicular (depending on which route you want to do). Check out information here.
  • How to get to Montjuïc: go to Espanya (Metro L1 or L3). From there, you can either walk or get in one of the many buses that go up the mountain. Of course, we recommend walking! Check out information here.

Go for something different

  • Are you into motor and cars? Rally Catalunya (23rd – 26th October) is an official competition race that will take place partly in Barcelona, around Montjuïc mountain.
  • Interested in photography and journalism? Ryszard Kapuściński, one of the greatest journalists of all times, witnessed the last days of the USSR and he took hundreds of photographs during that time. Now some of them are shown in an exhibition at La Virreina. See more information here.
  • Missing those summer days? You can still go to the beach! Swimming will be a little less relaxing, but you’ll see that the weather in Autumn is not that bad! See our blog post on things to do in Barcelona beaches.

See? There are still a lot of things to do in Barcelona when summer is over!

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