Barcelona Skyline

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

What to do in Barcelona? (4 of 4 parts)

16. Visit the gay heart of the city

If Barcelona wanted a gay capital, it would most certainly pick the Eixample, nicknamed Gaixample for the sheer number of stores and clubs that cater to this clientele. The Arena includes four clubs: the cavernous Madre attracts a young crowd with a spacious dance floor and darkroom; Classic is the most light-hearted and kitsch venue, drawing in a mixed crowd with its '80s and '90s pop anthems; Dandy plays hardcore house music and VIP's retro music goes down well with everyone.

17. Dance your way to a street party

How long can you party non-stop? A week? Then September is a good time to visit, because the Festes de la Mercè swings into town. It started life as a small religious parade but since then it has snowballed into a week-long party celebrating Catalan culture. Performances, dazzling firework displays along the beaches, a sea-front air show, exhibitions, children's activities and free concerts (playing everything from sea shanties to hip hop) make this a celebration of Barcelona in all its splendour.

18. Sip a cocktail on a terrace

The best place to get a chilled fruit sangria in Barcelona is one of the many outdoor bars and cafés. The Bar Colombo (Escar 4) is a little tapas bar with a sunny terrace overlooking the port, while the Australian-run Bar Kasparo offers outdoor seating beneath shady arcades overlooking an a playground for children. Another option is the Casa Paco, a friendly hole-in-the-wall with a sprawling terrace on which to relax. There are also a number of bustling cafés with terraces along La Rambla.

19. Bag some designer bargains

If you’re a dedicated designer bargain-hunter, make the 30-minute pilgrimage just outside the city to La Roca Village.
More than 50 discount outlets will tempt you with designer apparel from popular brands such as Antonio Miró, Versace, Diesel and Camper.

20. Have a passionate flamenco fling

A trip to Barcelona calls for a fling with flamenco. Of course, many of us are not graced with dancing skills, but that doesn't stop you being a spectator of the traditional Spanish dance form. Head to El Tablao de Carmen, where established stars and new talent display a vibrant spectrum of flamenco singing, dancing and music. Los Tarantos in Plaça Reial has become a popular tourist hangout, but the acts still turn heads.

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