Back from my Barcelona research trip with heaps of information and photographs taken for my dissertation. I’m so glad that I took the extra two days to look around the city as the last time I was there was back in 2008, and things seem to have changed since then. I stayed in the Del Mar region “The Sea”, close to the church I am writing on Santa Maria del Mar. It is part of the Bairro Gotica of Barcelona, the Gothic Quarter, though slightly distanced from the general throngs of tourist (I do have my way of avoiding the masses).
First things first, Barcelona is packed full of tourists. When I say packed I mean PACKED. It’s not the biggest city in Europe yet somehow they manage to squeeze in visitors from around the world and you can really feel the strain when walking around the Gothic Quarter, which is the one place all tourists expect to tick off of their to do lists. Del Mar is slightly removed from the heart of the Gothic Quarter, which makes it a nice place to find a hotel/hostel, though it is equally as expensive as say La Rambla (argh tourist trap hell!).
Regardless of how expensive it can be, Del Mar is a stunning neighborhood, full of little bars, cafes and fashion boutiques. It is also closer to the beach, which can come in handy on a hot summer’s day, which was clearly not the case during my stay. Yet Del Mar is beautiful come rain or shine.
Things to do and see in Del Mar:
1. Get completely lost a la Venice style as you walk down little alley ways
2. Visit the Santa Maria del Mar church (I shall discuss this in my next post)
3. Picasso Museum – FREE for university students (imagine my surprise…) – Picasso’s collection is safely stored away in a magnificent Pallazzo style building
4. Boutiques – lots of boutiques selling all sorts of clothes and custom made goods
5. The beach – a five minute walk away
6. Ciutadella Park – it has a lake and you can hire a little boat to go round and round in
7. Montaditos – lunch time goodies – mini sandwiches filled with all sorts of good stuff, these reminded me of Venetian cicchetti, which was fitting considering the medieval backstreets. However they don’t come cheap at approx. 1.30E per pop. I’ll write a little more about these in another post
8. Best bar in Del Mar region – El Born on Passeig del Born, no. 26. It’s behind the church to the right. This is a quaint little alternative artsy bar with cheap wine and snacks including montaditos and empanadas. Go there. Go.
1. Be careful when choosing restaurants as many will rip you off
2. Don’t eat anywhere that has an English menu and laminated images of dishes
3. Breakfast – you can grab a coffee/cappuccino/tea and croissant for 1.80E – much more than this and it’s a rip off. There are a couple of good cafes in the Santa Maria del Mar church piazza that offer a cheap breakfast deal
Nearest transport links:
1. Jaume I (metro)
2. Barceloneta (metro)
3. Estacio de Franca – for trains to and from Barcelona El Prat airport and surrounding areas