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Ari Alexander’s Barcelona

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Passeig de Gràcia, 43, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
It’s one of the most recognizable facades on Passeig de Gràcia: a modernist fantasy of undulating stone, brightly colored mosaics, and stained glass—one that could only come from the mind of famed Catalan architect Antoni...
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Av. de Rius i Taulet, 1, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
Who cares if it's a Barcelona cliché. Give in to the urge and get to Plaça d'Espanya to see the Magic Fountain show. It's always crowded, but everyone should see it at least once, and it's free. The show is especially gorgeous during...
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Rabla de las Flores, s/n, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Amble down La Rambla, stopping to admire fresh flowers, original artwork, and Barcelona souvenirs at your leisure. Watch living statues come to life when you drop a euro in their cups—most will pose with passersby, for a price, of course....
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Passeig de Lluís Companys, 2, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
Strolling along the sinuous paths of Parc de la Ciutadella is a lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon. The park is full of families, kids, and, of course, puppies. The fountain wasn't running during my visit but it was gorgeous none the less. Make...
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La Rambla, 91, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
As you enter Barcelona's famous Mercat de Sant Josep de La Boqueria from La Rambla, one of the first stalls you encounter is Tocineria Marcos, purveyors of Iberico ham and a stunning array of other cured, cooked, and fresh meats. It's just one of...
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Ctra. de Montjuïc, 66, 08038 Barcelona, Spain
Constructed in the 17th century but heavily modified a century later, this castle—actually more of a fortress—lords over Montjuïc hill. Its use as a military bastion spans from the 1600s to the mid-1800s, when Barcelona...
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Carrer de les Caputxes, 10, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
This place looks more like a jewelry place than a cake shop. When I finish my tours in the Born district, I can't hardly stop myself from heading there to reward me for a good job done (and when I'm with clients and we pass by, they NEED to see...
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Carrer de Villarroel, Barcelona, Spain
After seven years living in Barcelona, I'm more than aware of the limited variety of traditional Catalan and Spanish sweets. Most truly traditional recipes (mantecados, roscón) are powder-dry and really must be consumed with coffee or wine, and...
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Carrer de l'Argenteria, 74, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
This tiny bakery and cake shop is run by a renowned cooking school. My choice for cozy chocolatey breakfasts.
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Plaça de Sant Gregori Taumaturg, 2, 08021 Barcelona, Spain
Scape the city center and venture into the elegant neighborhoods of the Zona Alta of Barcelona to indulge in the finest chocolates you can find in town.
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292, Carrer del Consell de Cent, 08007 Barcelona, Spain
Make sure to sample some hot drinking chocolate in Barcelona. I chose a mug from Cacao Sampaka, a gourmet chocolate shop where you'll find all sorts of delightful dessert concoctions. The rich, velvety drink is nothing like American hot chocolate....
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Pla de Palau, 13, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
Sagas is the modern vision of a farmer and entrepreneur. Slow food served fast; homemade sandwiches, special varietals of potatoes, Catalan wines - all make for an enjoyable and sustainable choice in the Born district.
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Carrer de la Dagueria, 16, 08002 Barcelona, Spain
This is one of the shops that always make my foodie tours (and where I also go when I need a snack). Katherine, the owner, serves those little cheese tastings that I love. For only three euro you get one goat, one sheep, and one cow cheese (served...
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Plaça del Mar, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
I used to read in local magazines that Kaiku was a place where local actors and artists hang out, and actually several times I've seen them here (although you won't really be able to tell unless you watch the Catalan TV...). But that's not why I...
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Carrer de Pujades, 173, 08005 Barcelona, Spain
Walking through the local Poblenou barrio in Barcelona, you could be mistaken for being in a town outside of the popular bustling metropolis. However, it's just on the outskirts of the city. The vibrant, local-feeling streets are lovely to...
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08870 Sitges, Barcelona, Spain
Jamon Iberico is a true jewel of culinary Spain. Not only is this ham delicately raised on a steady diet of acorns but is also crafted from exclusively pigs with black hoofs, pata negra. After spending the day in Sitges, a city 40 minutes outside...
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Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25, 08004 Barcelona, Spain
Forget Google Maps: You’ll quickly locate this venerable tapas bar in El Poble-Sec by the line out the door. With standing-room-only space for just 20 people, this sliver of a spot fills up fast—and stays that way until closing time....
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As I've mentioned before in a few highlights, I love a proud arch at the beginning or end of a grand avenue. Blame it on Paris. This one was built when the city hosted the Universal Exhibition in 1888 as the entrance to the fair and I love the...
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La Rambla, Barcelona, Spain
Continuously occupied for thousands of years, Barcelona is a city of contrast- rich, poor; old, new. Amazing to walk the gothic quarter while listening to your iPhone. Here the Roman wall reminds you of how long this city has been around.
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Plaça Portal de la pau, s/n, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
It's a tight squeeze at the top of the Columbus Monument in Barcelona. Skip it if you're claustrophobic, the teeny elevator doesn't allow for much personal space. But the 360 degree city views at the top are worth the inconvenience.
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Carrer de la Marina, 253, 08013 Barcelona, Spain
The art nouveau buildings of Antoni Gaudí, the 19th-century architect whose works are some of Barcelona’s most iconic sights, can be seen throughout Catalonia, but Barcelona has the best examples of his genius at work. Former...
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08024 Barcelona, Spain
A pilgrimage to this enchanting park is a must for any Antoni Gaudí fan. Located atop Carmel Hill to the north of the city, the park was inspired by English landscape gardens, but its fantastical elements make sure you know it was...
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Plaça de Santa Maria, 1, 08003 Barcelona, Spain
We have been many time to Barcelona, but a return to the beautiful Santa Maria del Mar church during our visit in May 2013 had extra meaning because both my wife and I had read "Cathedral of the Sea," an expansive historical novel in which the...
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Carrer de Villarroel, Barcelona, Spain
Covered in a very stylized graffiti of a massive tree, La Carbonería is the best-known Okupa house in town. Okupas are people that "occupy" abandoned buildings and spaces throughout Europe in an effort to protest the economic difficulties in...
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Barcelona is a city that has a lot to offer; travel guides are packed with cathedrals, ruins, and endless museums. There is however, one “museum” that you won't come across in your travel guide. Four stops and less than ten minutes from Passeig de...
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Carrer Nou de la Rambla, 3-5, 08001 Barcelona, Spain
Palau Güell is an early Gaudí masterpiece, designed for his longtime benefactor, Eusebi Güell. The mansion, one of Gaudí's first big projects, was recently restored and re-opened to the public. The centerpiece of the building is the amazing...
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8 Rue de Montpensier, 75001 Paris, France
This beautiful courtyard, modern art installations, hundreds of Corinthian columned walkways and perfectly placed fountains and gardens, make the Palais Royal a photographer's playground. Personally, I can never get enough of the reflection...
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43 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris, France
Cafe La Palette is one of the iconic cafes in the Latin Quarter in Paris, located in the gallery and art district of Saint Germain. The cafe is known for its large terrace overlooking rue Jacques-Callot and is popular among Fine Arts students and...
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8 Boulevard du Palais, 75001 Paris, France
Sainte Chapelle is a true Gothic masterpiece located on Île de la Cité. Sainte Chapelle was founded by King Louis IX as a chapel for the royal palace. Sainte Chapelle houses a small chapel downstairs that is dedicated to the Virgin Mary. The...
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44 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, France
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We had only a few nights in Paris, and on the last, we followed Jim Mayer's lead, which he culled from a guidebook that called Restaurant Chez Astier's cheese plate the best in the city. Dinner was great; very traditional. And I remember the wines...
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13 Rue de la Butte aux Cailles, 75013 Paris, France
A tiny resto nestled in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. A short walk from the metro station Place d'Italie, this 18-seater offers pages of delicious crêpes and scrumptious bowls of cider to wash it all down with. One of those places that leaves...
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13 Rue de Mézières, 75006 Paris, France
Owned by Julien Cohen, son of Marie-France Cohen, founder of iconic upscale shops Bonpoint, Merci and Bonton, Pizza Chic oozes cool minimalism: large accordion windows that give the impression of a terrace in the warmer months, black and white...
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Peru
The mighty Inca Trail! Everyone talks about doing it one day, and you hopefully you will. It is a four-day trek through the Andes mountains in Peru. You begin from colonial town of Cusco, where it is wise to spend a couple days to acclimate before...