Barcelona—A blend of tradition and innovation

Barcelona’s ability to blend tradition and innovation in art, architecture and food is well-evidenced by the the Seussian architecture of Antoni Gaudí and newer designs from Jean Nouvel and Herzog & de Meuron, the work of 20th-century icons Joan Miró and Salvador Dalí, and an infusion of great restaurants.


Bordered by mountains on one side and miles of beach on the other, the Catalan capital boasts diverse neighborhoods. Stroll Las Ramblas, explore the old port and Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), discover the cafes and cinemas in artsy Gràcia or check out the funky Poble Sec.


Hotel España. Designed by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, this dreamy hotel sits just off La Rambla. Carrer Sant Pau, 9-11,

Hotel Casa Fuster. Comfortable, elegant and modern, this inn is centrally located but quiet, Passeig de Gràcia, 132,

Roig Robí. In the haute-bourgeois Ensanche district, “ruby red” offers a pure gourmet experience in a delightful garden setting. Try their baby filets of sole. Seneca 20,

Mercat St. Josep aka La Boqueria. The centuries-old, pictureque market is Barcelona’s pulsing heart. Sit at one of its many kiosks for an ultra-fresh meal—try breakfast at around 8 a.m. at Pinotxo’s bar for fun and excellent food. Rambla, 91,

The Boiler Club. Every two months, the nightclub La Cova del Drac-Jazzroom turns into a place of retro fantasy, magic and humor. Carrer Vallmajor, 33,

Meson del Café. Located in the Barri Gòtic, this is the perfect place for a cortado, a shot of espresso cut with hot milk. Llibreteria, 16, 93-315-07-54

Sea to slope stroll. Start along the Passeig de Colom and follow the scenic progression of the city’s wealth uphill from sea towards mountain—through the Barri Gòtic and up Passeig de Gracia or Rambla de Catalunya.

This article was excerpted from The Wall Street Journal’s Insider’s Guide to Barcelona.

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