Meeting Barcelona

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The Sagrada Familia basilica rises up from the skyline no matter where you are in Barcelona. The cranes have witnessed the seemingly unending construction. Gaudi architecture takes us to a dream world which, at least for Barcelona, easily becomes a reality.

"Eat, live, love"
 
The Sagrada Familia pulls you in like a magnet and once inside, the delightful surprises don’t let up. There is nothing quite like it in the entire world. Antonio Gaudi’s masterpiece is open to the public in winter from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and between April and September from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Admission is 15 euros and proceeds go to the completion of the temple that has been under construction since 1882.
 
The tour of Gaudi’s modernist Barcelona includes the Casa Batlló, the Casa Milá – which is also open to the public at night, offering an audio-visual light show – and Park Güell, with its famous colourful dragon.
 
But Barcelona is more than just Gaudi. It’s a city dating back 2000 years, where the entire history of the Mediterranean Sea converges. Gothic Barcelona can be seen in all its splendour at the Monastery of Pedralbes, featuring the largest Gothic cloisters in Europe. The Cathedral, dedicated to Saint Eulalia, takes us back to Medieval Barcelona, with its narrow streets, reminiscent of the Mediterranean capital’s Roman, Jewish and Early Christian past.
 
To get around while in Barcelona, the best option is the Hola BCN card. For 14 euros per day, it allows you to travel by underground railway and bus for two days, with options of up to five days available. It is a city of incalculable architectural richness, given the variety of styles that can be found. Its cultural legacy is recognised around the world. The Museo Picasso pays homage to the brilliant Malaga-borne painter who created a good part of his work in Barcelona. You can visit it Tuesday to Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and until 9:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is 11 euros.
 
Barcelona is also a paradise for shopping lovers. The city has become a shopping reference in Europe and Paseo de Gracia is a good example of this fact, where brands such as Valentino, Prada or Vuitton converge. This area has been nicknamed – for good reason – “The Golden Mile”.
 
For music lovers, the Palau de la Música Catalana and the Liceu offer a first-class performance schedule year round. The Palau is a modernist building dating back to 1908 and has been declared a World Heritage Site. The Gran Teatre del Liceu that has given rise to world-famous singers such as Montserrat Caballé and Josep Carreras, has been open since 1847 as an opera house with tickets ranging from 10 to 200 euros.
 
Another of Barcelona’s “temples” is the Camp Nou, the historic stadium where the FC Barcelona plays. Tickets to the Liga Española or Champions League matches can be obtained at the official site. If there are no matches scheduled while you are in town, you can take a guided tour of the museum and stadium for 23 euros. There are seven official Barça shops including the airport shop, the one in Plaza de Catalunya, and the one next to Sagrada Familia on Calle Provença, with the most spectacular being the one inside Camp Nou.
 
For breathtaking views, you can find numerous lookout points to admire the horizon. The most emblematic is at the peak of the Tibidabo. The NH Barcelona Sants hotel offers rooms with panoramic views of the city and at the NH Barcelona Calderón hotel, you can take a dip in the pool on the terrace while enjoying the skyline.

The city of Barcelona epitomises the essence of Mediterranean pizzazz. Picasso, Gaudi, and Ferrán Adrià symbolise the creativity and delight that can be found around every corner. A city for living, eating, and loving.

This city that is constantly moving also offers little hideaways where you can escape from city life and leave the stress of work behind you. You can take in the large yachts and cruise ships, palm trees and wonderful city views during a relaxing stroll along the Port Vell. The beaches of Barcelona are the ideal place for a bit of leisure. If you have some free time you can engage in popular water sports such as windsurfing.
 
In terms of local cuisine, Ferrán Adrià has left his mark on the city. Although the best chef in the world is no longer working as such, his disciples have spread throughout Barcelona. Even his brother, Albert Adrià runs “Tickets” a tapas bar that has already been ranked as one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. The oysters are fabulous. Haute cuisine in the form of finger food. Three more El Bulli chefs have opened the restaurant “Disfrutar”, with menus that bring to mind the masterwork of Adriá, with meals starting at 70 euros.
 
If you’re looking for a historic place to have lunch or dinner, the Los Caracoles restaurant has been operating in the Gothic neighbourhood since 1835 and meals have been prepared for Picasso, Robert de Niro, Jimmy Carter, John Wayne, Ingrid Bergman, and Pavarotti on its hobs. In the Paseo de Gracia district, El Nacional has become popular, a multi-space restaurant that is open from midday until the early hours of the morning. With numerous spaces, such as the Brasería, the Tapería or the Lonja de Pescado, it is ideal for the business traveller looking for a meal during off-hours.
 
But if there is one place that epitomises Barcelona in terms of atmosphere, multiculturalism, and love for the good life, it’s the La Boquería market in the middle of La Rambla with over 300 stands offering fresh land and sea products from around the world. It also offers options for a casual meal and drinks. A place to truly feel the Mediterranean capital’s pulse.
 
If you get a break from the work meetings or if your business trip allows for it, there is no excuse to not lose yourself in Barcelona’s streets, discovering an inspirational and modern city that attracts equal parts creativity and culture.

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