Sagrada Familia, the light show..

More gaudy than Gaudí, as part of the ‘La Merce’ festival this year the city of Barcelona has invited guest city Montréal to create a moving fresco on the basilica’s nativity façade.

The show, entitled “Ode à la Vie” is created by Canada’s Moment Factory. This multi-media psychedelic light show lasts 15 minutes and tells an uplifting story of rebirth, hope and beauty. The entire nativity façade is converted into a riot of colour, layed over its already exotic and unusual architecture.

There are 4 show times a day from 21:00 to midnight.

Posted in Areas - Sagrada Familia, Areas - The Eixample | 2 Comments

The Fundació Joan Miró

The Fundació Joan Miró, Centre d’Estudis d’Art Contemporani (Joan Miró Foundation) in Barcelona is one of the cities cultural highlights.

Located on the the imposing Montjuïc Mountain that dominates the Barcelona skyline is this stylish modernit museum honoring Catalan artist Joan Miró. Born in 1893 in El Barri Gotic (the Gothic Quarter) of Barcelona, Miró’s work covered painting, sculpture and tapestry.

The Joan Miró Foundation’s origins lie in Miró’s first major exhibition in Barcelona, in 1968, at the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu, when the opportunity arose to create a dedicated space to mount a permanent exhibit of his work. Miró wanted the institution to be a place where contemporary artists could exhibit and promote their work.

Today his wish is realised in the form Espai 13, a room dedicated to experimental young artists. There is also work by local artists Tapies and Saura, as well as Chillida, Rothko, Magritte, Rene Magritte and Peter Greenaway on exhibit.

Many of the works in the building were donated by the artist himself. Some of the highlights include: The wing of the lark (1967), The Morning Star (1940) and Painting on white to a solitary cell I, II, III (1968).

Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert designed the Miró Foundation, he was a close friend of Miró’s. It features courtyards and terraces and to create a path for visitors as they move through the building and its position on the edge Montjuic commands an incredible view across the city below. Look out for live concerts held in the gardens during the Festival Grèc in July and August, a memorable experience.

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 – 19.00 (October – June)
Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00 – 20.00 (July – September)
Thursdays, 10.00 – 21.30
Sundays and public holidays, 10.00 – 14.30
Closed on Mondays (except public holidays)

Admission Charges:

Permanent collection + temporary exhibition
Adults: €10
Students aged 15-30, persons over 65
and unemployed persons
(proof must be provided): €7.00
School groups: 6€
Adults groups: 7€

Espai 13: €2,5

Posted in Art in Barcelona, Barcelona's Museums, Exhibitions in Barcelona | Leave a comment

The Picasso Museum in Barcelona

The Picasso Museum is one of the key cultural destinations in Barcelona, the city where Picasso, perhaps the most important artist of the 20th century, grew up and spent his formative years.

Loctated on Calle Montacada in the Born District of the Old Town, among its 3,800 works by the artist the museum holds perhaps the finest and most complete collection of Picasso’s early years. The collections specialises in his early work up to his blue period and also features a series of 58 paintings based on Las Meninas and a comprehensive selection of Picasso’s prints.

The museum also reveals Picasso’s personal bond with Barcelona – he grew up no more than 5 minutes walk away, near the Old Port, and it was Barcelona Picasso grew homesick for from his studio in Montmartre in Paris.

The idea for the museum came from Picasso’s lifelong friend and secretary, Jaume Sabartés, whom originally intended to found the museum in Picasso’s birthplace Málaga, though Picasso suggested that Barcelona would be a more appropriate venue due to his close connection with Barcelona and Catalunya.

The museum’s site on Montcada St consists of five medieval palaces which have been perfectly preserved. Due to its highly central location the museum is easily reached. The closest metro station is only 400m away, Jaume I, on the yellow line – line 4.

Museu Picasso of Barcelona
Address: Montcada 15-23
08003 Barcelona
Tlf. (+34) 93 256 30 00
Fax (+34) 93 315 01 02

Posted in Areas - The Old Town & Ramblas, Barcelona's Museums, Exhibitions in Barcelona, Picasso Barcelona | 1 Comment

Poblenou – Barcelona’s village by the sea

Located only a short distance from the city centre, Poblenou is a delightful area with a distinct village feel. Located beyond the city centre to the north (towards France), Poblenou is right next to the sea and can be reached by metro in just ten minutes from the city centre, with no changes necessary.

Poblenou is well worth a deviation from the regular tourist route – Las Ramblas, the Born, the Old Port, the Sagrada Familia and the beaches. Poblenou has one of the best and least populated beaches in the city – Playa Bogatell, which many visit without strolling 5 minutes inland to see the surrounding area

It’s a charming area that is easy to get to know, and where a visitor you can get to know a different side to the city. The main axis of Poblenou is the shady and tree lined Rambla Poblenou, this runs through the heart of the district connecting the sea with Las Glories shopping centre. Along its length you will find all kinds of pleasant restaurants, taps bars and pavement cafes where you can eat some of the best seafood and tapas the city has to offer.

Away to the left of the Rambla Poblenou is the old quarter, a maze of narrow streets with quaint old fishermen’s houses. The Poblenou market is located here and is worth a visit, with its impressive display of fresh fish, meat and fruit and vegetables. The surrounding streets are full of choice restaurants, try Els Pescadors for a blow out.

To get to Poblenou you can either take line 4, the yellow line, on the metro, or walk from the centre following the beach from Barceloneta, which will take you about 30 minutes.


Posted in Activities - Summer, Areas - The Beach, Barcelona beach apartments, Barcelona Beaches | 3 Comments

Ghost town – Barcelona in August

There are some cities where, come August, practically the entire population ups and leaves, and Barcelona is one of the. In their wake, an almost eerie quiet descends, and the deserted streets become unrecognisable, the hustle and bustle of the rest of the year vanishes, dissolved in the scorching heat and heavy dog days of August. Traffic is practically non existent, streets deserted, and many businesses and smaller shops close for the month.

Come August, the hottest month of the year, the city belongs to the tourists, who can be seen enjoying having the city to themselves, often to be seen wearing a slightly bemused expression, wondering where everyone has gone. Whether its Las Ramblas, Plaça Catalunya, Barceloneta or the Old Port, the crowds are not to be seen and visitors get to enjoy the best of Barcelona without having to fight the crowds. August is a great time to come if you don’t like standing in line to see monuments.


Posted in Activities - Summer | Leave a comment

Energy efficient apartments in Barcelona

Barcelona has raised its first block of flats with an A energy efficient certificate. The building has been designed by the SAAS Studio for the Spanish government’s housing body – El Patronato Municipal de la Vivienda.

This A rating belongs to a European directive for new building construction, where A is  the top and G at the bottom of the energy efficiency scale. An A rating makes an enticing prospect for anyone thinking of moving in, as they will make plenty of savings on energy bills.

This new block of 94 apartments is built on seven floors, located in the 22@ technology district. The building is elegant in style featuring wood slat sliding blinds, and consumes only 24% of the amount of energy of a regular building if its size.

With walls built to allow ventilation and wooden blinds to protect from the sun, it has a green inner courtyard, a space intended to create a sense of community.

This block of apartments is also connected to the first district heating network, which produces hot water from a power plant surplus in Besós. In addition to such energy conserving aspects, the architects have maintained strict bio-architecture criteria, meaning to chemicals have been used in paints an no toxic varnish has been used either.


Posted in Architecture in Barcelona, Barcelona Apartments | Tagged | 4 Comments

Seat sends electric cars to Barcelona

Barcelona is proud to be a green and environmentally friendly city. The city’s recycling system is a huge success, one of the finest in Europe. Public transport is excellent, and there is a city sponsored public bike scheme. In the city centre, numerous streets have been pedestrians and converted into public spaces.

So perhaps it is no wonder that Seat has chosen to test its first electric vehicles here. The Ajuntament, the Barcelona City Hall, will use three of its Altea XL Electric Ecomotive Evs, its all-electric vehicle, as part of its municipal car pool for the next six months. Seat will get information about how the cars are working and “assess performance prior to mass production of electric vehicles.”

Critics say that Seat is lagging far behind its competitors in the electric car industry and that three cars is actually very few. But  something electric is better than nothing!

The e-Altea can travel at up to 84 miles an hour and has a maximum range of 135 km. Solar panels on the roof help cool the cabin, but cannot provide the engine with power.


Posted in Barcelona a world city, Transport in Barcelona | 5 Comments

Apple store opening in Barcelona soon!

Good news for us Apple fans here. Apple has announced that its new Barcelona store is to make its grand opening on July the 28th 2012.

In preparation Apple has been contacting Catalan Apple users to announce that its new Barcelona location will open on Saturday, July 28th at 10 AM, on Passeig de Gràcia, though the location has been known for a good while already. The site is between Plaça Catalunya and Passeig de Gràcia, a prime spot in the city.

This new Apple store opening is notable for its high-profile aforementioned location, secondly for its unique Apple logo and banner, which was much discussed by the press last week, and, last but not least, this is predicted to become one of Apple’s largest Europe-based retail locations.


Posted in Shopping in Barcelona | 2 Comments

A crackdown on noise at night in Barcelona

Barcelona City Council is cracking down on noise resulting from nighlife in the city, with a new campaign called Silenci Pla. This campaign aims to raise awareness of the reduction of noise in key areas of nightlife in the city.

The initiative aims to reach out to about 700 establishments in all districts and runs till November, with city environmental workers working with local communities to reduce noise pollution between 11pm and 6am from Thursday to Saturday.

The launch coincides with a new ban on organized bar crawls in the old town, whereby tourists wearing special bracelets enjoy low cost alcohol. These have been identified as a source of much antisocial behaviour, as well as drunken noise. Guides will be given a penalty of up to 1,800 euros. Bars themselves that take part also face heavy fines if they promote these tours.

Local residents and visitors alike will be delighted with these measures which promote a more civilised balance between nightlife and their own rest and relaxation.


Posted in Areas - Las Ramblas | 4 Comments

Superyachts in Barcelona

Plans to turn the Marina Port Vell into the Mediterraneans next Monaco are proving controversial, despite the current economic climate in Barcelona and throughout Spain.

Salamanca, a British private investment fund has taken control of much of the port area and has asked for a licence so that it can develop the Marina Port Vell to offer a berth for up to 150 superyachts, iup to 180 metres in length.

Residents of the nearby traditional fishermen’s neighborhood of La Barceloneta remain unenthused. Naturally they fear that a huge wall may go up around part of the port to ensure the privacy of a handful of wealthy people, creating a fortress-like billionaires’ ghetto on their doorstep, and destroy the character of their neighbourhood, which many have long felt to be under threat from tourism.

But the project comes as Barcelona seeks to rebrand itself by shedding its sun, sea and sagrada familia image, one of a low cost destination for stag parties and drunken revelry; and to raise its ambitions. Some might say this wonderful city deserves better, and a rebrand is long overdue.

Detractors of the project argue that it will not in reality create jobs, that specialist skillsets will be brought in from oversees. This may initially be the case, but if one looks at cities such as Monaco, whose shoes Barcelona hopes to follow in, the positive economic impact of the super rich is undeniable, and reflected in the offering of upscale shops, restaurants, bars, hotels and other services.

For now the outcome of the Marina Port Vell is still in the balance, since while the Spanish port authority has approved plans, consent from the Ajuntament de Barcelona, or Barcelona City Council, is still pending.

“This will have a landscape impact on Barcelona and so will have to be studied closely,” said Ajuntament spokesperson Rosa Díaz. “The city hall approves in principle of a large investment that might generate jobs and bring wealth, but it is not going to allow them to do whatever they like. And, of course, it will consult the neighbours.”


Posted in Barcelona a world city, Barcelona as a cruise destination, barcelona economy, Barcelona Marina, barcelona port vell | 1 Comment