|Written by: Anita Lišková & Todd Shaw
Photo by: Rene Jakl and archiv
In addition to being a mecca for many of the world’s top architects, the Spanish city’s strategic Mediterranean placement makes it a holiday favorite and burgeoning business hub. Visitors will find no lack of world-class hotels, cafés, restaurants, nightlife, or warm-hearted natives.
|César Duch Martorell, general director, ESMA Barcelona
Favorite hotel: Barcelona Plaza Hotel, Plaza Espana, 6-8, tel: +34-93-4262 600
Favorite restaurant: El Mesonet, Galileo, 1, tel: +34-93-3392 970
Favorite attraction: Mountain of Montjuic
Favorite night club: City Hall – Discoteca Funcapolitan, Rbla Cataluna 2, tel: +34-93-3172 177
Best-kept secret: Visit Gaudi’s “La Perdera” building in Paseo de Gracia.
Favorite shop: L’Illa, Av. Diagonal, 545-557, Eixample, tel: + 34-93-4440 000
Advice: Ciudad Condal, Rbla. de Cataluna, 18, tel.: +34-93-3181 997, try “tapas” where they originated
|Ivan Tkáč, director, Aralsa
Favorite hotel: Derby Hotel, Loreto, 21-25, tel: +34 – 93-3223 215
Favorite restaurant: Barceloneta en Puerto antiguo, C. de l’Escar, Moll dels Pescadors 22 tel: +34-93-2212 111
Favorite night club: night club in hotel Bristol (city center), Kristian IV gate, tel: +34-2282 6000
Favorite shops: Cerámica Italia, Mare Magnum
Favorite attractions: L’Aquarium de Barcelona, Moll d’Espanya del Port Vell, tel: +34-93-2217 474, Mare Magnum, cable railway to Montjuic
Best-kept secrets: 1. Climb on the Sta. Eulalia Cathedral Tower and enjoy a wonderful view of Barrio Gótico.
2. I would recommend spots, where you can get “tapas” – snacks, which can be made different ways but are always delicious.
3. Experience a visit to the “mercada” (market) in La Rambla. The range of sea products offered there is unbelievable.
Advice: Do not take anything from any woman seemingly offering free flowers in the center. If you accept it, a bunch of her confederates will appear immediately, asking for money or trying to foretell your future, etc. Avoid contact.
|Jan Procházka, director, COPCA
Favorite hotel: Gallery Hotel, C/Rosellon, 249, tel: +34-93-4115 9911
Favorite restaurant: Siete Puertas/Set Portes, Pg. Isabel II, 14, tel: +34-93-3119 3033 food in the Puerto Olympico is also enjoyable
Favorite attraction: Sagrada Família by Gaudí, Park Guell, Olot 7, tel: +34-93-4132 400
Best-kept secret: Make a trip to the resort village of Sitges, situated 30 km south of Barcelona. Initially a fishermen’s village, it has developed into a fancy summer resort.
|Markéta Vobroučková, sales manager, Prázdninový klub Evropa
Favorite hotel: Gran Hotel Barcino, C/Jaime, 16, tel: +34-93-3022 012
Favorite restaurants: Merendero de la Mari, Pl. Pau Vila, 1, tel: +34-93-2211 555, international cuisine and seafood specialities. Aranda, Av. del Tibidabo, 31, tel: +34-93-4170 115, very sophisticated
Favorite night club: MareMagnum, huge entertainment center that includes restaurants, clubs, shops, etc.
Favorite shop: El Corte Inglés, Av. Diagonal, 617, tel: +34-93-3667 100
Favorite attraction: Sagrada Familia – Gaudí, La Rambla, Picasso Museum, Frederic Mares, Joan Miro, Pl. de Toros – Gran Via Corts Catalanes, 749
Best-kept secret: Hard Rock Café, Pl. Cataluna, 21, tel: +34-93-2702 305 – It’s not really a secret, but you will be amused there.
Advice: Don’t hurry; stay in Barcelona at least for five days and get a good look around.
|Basic factsLocation: Catalunya (Catalonia), Northeast Spain.
Population: 1,514,588 (city); 4,228,048 (metropolitan area).
Religion: 90% Roman Catholic, Protestants, Muslims and Jews make up the remaining 10%.
Time zone: GMT + 1 (GMT + 2 from last Sunday in March to last Sunday in October).
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50 Hz; round two-pin plugs are standard.
Average January temp: 10° C (50° F).
Average July temp: 25° C (78° F).
Annual rainfall: 590 mm (23.2 inches).
Where on the web?
For further information, we suggest the following websites dedicated to Barcelona:
http://www.bcn.es/english/ihome.htm – formal, structured and city-sponsored site with everything you need to know in practical terms.
http://www.timeout.com/barcelona/ – the name says it all; an on-line version of one of the world’s most popular guidebooks
http://www.softguides.com/barcelona/ – a simple and bi-lingual listing that focuses on accomodation and dining
http://www.photoguide.to/barcelona/ – as the address implies, you’re going to find more visuals than information on these pages (good for marking your map)
http://www.worldsbestbars.com/city/Barcelona/ – for those who have come more for pleasure than business, this site tells you where to quench your thirst
– a great site to begin with for hotel rates and booking.
one-liter bottle of mineral water: EUR .66
33-cl bottle of beer: EUR .60
Financial Times newspaper: EUR 2.1
36-exposure color film: EUR 3.6
city-center bus ticket: EUR .87
adult football ticket: EUR 27
three-course meal with wine/beer: from from EUR 21
EUR 1 = CAD 1.41; CZK 30.30; GBP .64; USD 0.96
(currency conversion rates as of press time)
Over the last decade the city has fully utilised its potential as the gateway between Iberia and the rest of western Europe, re-establishing its role as a major Mediterranean port. The city has a strong background in manufacturing based on textiles and the large motor industry – Nissan and Seat have vehicle production plants in the city. Consumer electronics and chemical and pharmaceutical research are other major industrial sectors.
Annually, about a quarter of all foreign investment in Spain flows into Barcelona, with around 50% of all foreign visitors to Barcelona arriving on business. The country’s major convention center with impressive facilities was recently complemented by the Catalan Conference Center, which opened in March 2001, and the state-of-the-art World Trade Center at Port Vell.