Definitely not one to be missed, Tapas sits on the top of our list as what any traveler must try during their stay in Barcelona. There is strong "Tapas culture" in Barcelona, where friends chat while eating Tapas and having a drink or two. Avoid flocking to the tourist traps at La Rambla– just ask a local and they will be more than happy to direct you to their favourite tapas bar. If you want a break from bar crawls and would rather learn the art of tapas, join our BonAppetour Host, Nani, and learn how to make your very own Tapas!
Just minutes away from the Espanya metro station, The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is a stunning musical display of colored lights and water acrobatics. Illuminated by over 50 hues of coloured lights, this spectacular fountain is a captivating sight to behold. Whether you are 8 or 82, you are definitely in for a treat as this visual spectacle is one of the most visited attractions in all of Barcelona. It should be noted that the fountain only operates on Thursdays to Sundays from 9.30-11.00pm during the summer
3. Hit the beach
Longing to get that summer glow? It’s time to bask under the Mediterranean Sun at Barceloneta, Barcelona’s most popular beach. Backed with a promenade of seafood restaurants and a string of clubs, it is no wonder that this seafront neighborhood is packed with partygoers every weekend. If the raucous nightlife is not your cup of tea, another beach worth the visit is Sitges, a coastal town that is 20 minutes away from Barcelona. Other than the cerulean waters, this coastal town boasts a rich artistic history, it is home to multiple museums dedicated to the works of Catalan artists.
4. Trek up Mount. Tibidabo
Overlooking Barcelona, Mount. Tibidabo is a great spot to capture panoramic views of the city. Prepare your favourite snacks, get your playlist ready and put on your trusty pair of sneakers to embark on a 15km trek up the mountain. Pay a visit to Temple de Sagrat Cor, a charming cathedral designed in a modernisme and neo-Gothic styles and for just €2.50, ride an elevator that takes up to a viewing platform just below the Sacred Heart of Jesus sculpture. If you’re travelling with children, The Tibidabo Amusement Park is a must go, With 25 rides like classic roller coasters and great street theatre performances, the Tibidabo Amusement Park promises a fun-filled time for family members of all ages. Do check out the park’s Skywalk area for the Giradabo, a Ferris wheel gives you a bird’s eye view of Barcelona. Before you leave, make a pit stop at the foot of the mountain and wander into Casa Figueres, a hidden tower constructed by Gaudí.
5. Admire Gaudí’s works of art
With a name synonymous with Barcelona’s urban landscape, it is hard to miss any of Gaudi’s masterpieces while you’re out on the streets. Other than his magnus opus, La Sagrada Família, go on a trail to discover the rest of Gaudí’s work throughout the city. Begin your trail at Güell Palace, a mansion built for the Güell family and then head over to Casa Calvet, one of Gaudí’s most conventional buildings. Once a residential project for textile manufacturers, this beauty now houses a popular restaurant under the same name. We could go on about the other must-see places by Gaudí but it would be slightly ambitious to complete the entire trail in a day. Gaudí’s architecture is full of surprises and unusual elements and it is without a doubt that he left an indelible mark on Barcelona.
6. Watch the sunset at El Carmel Bunker
The El Carmel Bunker is another great spot to capture the best panoramic views of the city. An important slice of history, the place is the ruins of an old air raid bunker used during the Spanish Civil War. Located at the peak of Turo de la Rovira, many locals flock here to watch the sunset and have a picnic with their loved ones, particularly during the summer season. Although situated in a rather remote area, the bunker is accessible by metro and public buses that run from the city centre. If you are into photography, this is the place to take breathtaking photos of Barcelona!
7. Uncover hidden treasures at local markets
Although widely perceived to be ‘tourist traps’, spending the afternoon at a local market is a great way for you to purchase local favourites at an affordable price. These markets are a one-stop shop for everything gastronomical.Push through the tour groups that usually crowd the entrances of the market and venture deeper where you would find the part of the market that locals love- from seafood and specialty meat cuts to pickled delights. Just a word of caution, don’t get carried away by the hubbub of the market’s crowd always keep an eye on your valuables at all times.
8. Dine with a local home chef
If you are here in Barcelona for a special occasion, why not take up a cooking class for an unforgettable experience? This is a great way for you to learn more about the city, have a wonderful time with your loved ones, straight from a local's kitchen. Cook like a local, dine like a local and live like a local- get a taste of home away from home and perhaps learn a recipe or two! Check out our BonAppetour hosts, like Teresa, who will teach how to make your own paella from scratch!
9. Pop by a quirky museum
Barcelona is renowned for having one of the most vibrant and established art scenes in Europe. But beyond Picasso and Dalí, there are many weird and wonderful museums to stop by for a fun-filled afternoon. Museu de Perfum tops the list as a museum so unusual that it remains the only perfume museum in Spain. Step into a time capsule and sniff your way through times dating back to Mesopotamia, Roman and Egyptian times. Another museum that showcases something stranger is the Museum of Funeral Carriages,aptly located inside Montjuïc Cemetery. Renowned for displaying some of the most exquisite antique funeral carriages and hearses in the world, the exhibits here are key in learning how the deceased were moved to burial sites in the past. If you have a morbid fascination and are travelling on a budget, do check out this museum as entry is completely free of charge!
10. Be part of a summer festival
One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Catalan culture is to participate in the neighbourhood festivals. Barcelona’s niche festival, La Mercè takes place during late summer and it is a boisterous celebration that honours the city’s patron saint, the Virgin of La Mercè. La Mercè is a time of gaiety that brings locals and tourists together through the flurry of events and attractions-heart-thumping live music festivals, castells(acrobatic locals building their own human towers), processions of gegants(giant papier-mâché figures) and street parties!
Running a food and travel company like BonAppetour has its perks – I get to meet amazing chefs and local hosts as we expand into new cities. This time, we were expanding our presence in Tokyo.The Japanese have a passion for cooking and culture which they match with a warm enthusiasm for sharing.This made it a delight to meet them, and gave much meaning to what we do at BonAppetour.
It was my first time to Tokyo – a city that I had heard so much about. The city is renowned for its culture of respect and obedience, which shines through in every thing they do – from food to architecture.
My first host was Anne, a lovely lady who has been living in Tokyo for more than 20 years. Originally from The Phillippines, her love for Japan and its culture was evident in our conversations and in her actions. In Feb 2014, Anne made the bold decision to coordinate cooking classes and food tours for travellers, taught by a talented Japanese chef, Naoko-sensei.
Anne invited me to a demo session when I was in Tokyo, an invitation I was all too happy to accept. The kitchen was at Azabu Juban, a short 2 minute walk from the subway station.
Upon our arrival, Anne introduced us to Naoko-sensei, our host for the day. Naoko-sensei was a charming lady with a sincere smile that made me feel instantly at home. She was still preparing for the session when I arrived, but she led me around the room, introducing me to the various ingredients, while making sure that everything was set up well. She gave me a cup of hot, soothing, green tea, as we waited for the other guests to arrive. The way she conducted herself said volumes about her depth of understanding of the Japanese culture.
Today, we would be learning to make two popular types of sushi – Maki sushi and Nigiri sushi.
Maki sushi or Nori-Maki sushi is a type of sushi roll where fish and other ingredients are enveloped in rice and nori seaweed. It is this type of sushi that most would commonly envison when they think “sushi”. Nigiri sushi on the other hand, is hand-shaped instead of rolled, and the fish and other ingredients are placed on top of the rice instead of within.
Maki sushi is difficult to make, but as the ingredients are rolled into the center of the sushi, visual presentation is less important. Nigiri sushi on the other hand, may be easier to make,but because the ingredients are spread on top of the rice, their arrangement and appearance needs to be visually perfected – requiring great care and attention to detail.
We were joined by four other guests that evening – a mother and son from Texas, and a mother and daughter from Pakistan. Before beginning, we washed our hands and gathered around Naoko-san, who then began her lesson.
STAGE 1: RICE
We began with the sushi rice – how to cook it, why it is so fragrant, and the ingredients required to accentuate the rice aroma. We all had a hand in mixing the rice with the vinegar in a shallow wooden bowl, and gently tossing the rice while cutting into it vertically with a spatula. Naoko-san showed us how we should fan the rice so that it would cool quickly; fanning causes the gelatinization of the rice surface to give a glossy finish.
STAGE 2: SUSHI MAKING
We started off with the more challenging Nori-Maki sushi, and got ready to use our hands to roll it all up. It was then that we understood why it takes years of training to become a sushi chef! The application of force must be delicate yet firm; it definitely takes lots of practice to master the art.
Naoko-sensei was amazing! She made the whole experience so much fun, she saved our Maki sushi from breaking apart with her skilled fingers, while encouraging us and making us feel so accomplished at the same time. By the end of the lesson, Naoki Sensei had us feeling like we too could become sushi chefs!
At the end of the afternoon, we parted ways, happy to have shared an enjoyable day learning about an integral part of Tokyo’s food culture. The experience was an eye-opener, allowing us to discover interesting insights about the life of locals whilst making instant friends in a city that I visited for the first time.
This hands-on experience with learning about Japanese food made us feel that although we would be leaving Tokyo in a couple of days, the lessons gleaned from Naoko-sensei over those short few hours would stay with us for a very long time.
Many thanks to Anne for giving us this experience – a little a piece of Tokyo which we were allowed to bring home to our family and friends!
https://www.bonappetour.com/images/header-banner.png00Rinita Vanjre Ravihttps://www.bonappetour.com/images/header-banner.pngRinita Vanjre Ravi2016-06-01 09:38:132016-10-19 09:42:57An Authentic Maki & Nigiri Sushi Making Experience with Naoko-san in Tokyo
Instead of frequenting the run-of-the-mill tapas bars in Barcelona, try something a little out of the ordinary on your Barcelona vacation. From eating in pitch-black darkness to sharing a drink in a –7º ice bar, here are 5 quirky places to please your palate when in Barcelona:
Translated to ‘The Forest of Fairies’, this dark fantasy themed tapas bar is sure to appeal to both gothic horror fans and fairytale lovers. Realistically decorated with artificial waterfalls, wispy tea lights and mystical creatures lurking in the mirrors, it is hard not to believe to you have walked straight into an enchanted forest inhabited by fairies and grim-faced talking trees. Grab a refreshing glass of Sangria while you bask in the moonlight of this esoteric forest and share your grisly tales of horror with friends. A note of caution, be careful not to wander too deep into the secret grotto- there’s no telling what lies in the darkness…
If you are in search for innovative dining experience, why not dine in complete darkness? Enjoy a gastronomical experience in the dark at Dans Le Noir where you will find yourself fumbling for your wine glass and trying to scoop up the food on your plate. The fun part of this is guessing what you’ are eating and getting to know your fellow diners in a pitch-black room. Considerably one of the most unusual dining experiences in Barcelona, Dans Le Noir deserves a status above novelty. It is an intriguing way for you to invigorate your sense and also appreciate the gift of sight.
Established on the lively shore of El Somorrostro, Icebarcelona is an unusual beach bar with an impressive interior made entirely from ice. Marval at the grandiose ice sculptures while you sip on delicious cocktails with your friends from glasses made of…ice. The bar’s interior design changes with each season, making Icebarcelona a refreshing experience every time. Remember to take lots of photos to capture these memorable frosty moments as the average entry to the bar usually lasts no more than 30 minutes! If you prefer to lounge under the Barcelonan Sun while munching on savoury nachos, you can relax on the terrace on the 2nd floor that overlooks the coastal sands and cerulean waters.
Celebrated 2-Michelin-starred restaurant ABaC is helmed by the amazing Chef Jordi Cruz who is the youngest Spanish chef to have earned his first Michelin star at 24. This exclusive 56-seater elegant restaurant boasts an impressive 16-course menu that blends creativity and tradition seamlessly. Indulge in delicacies such asIberian meats, almonds with beans and “compango” bubbles and Foie gras taco with mole migas and sweet corn ice cream while you handpick your favourite wine from an extensive cellar. Also, the ABaC team is well-known for providing impeccable service. Other than the attentive servers, their thoughtful chefs would gladly customize your meal should you have any food allergies or intolerances. Although pricier than most restaurants found in the vicinity, give yourself a splurge to gain a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomical experience.
If you are here in Barcelona for a special occasion, why not book a unique home dining experience with one of BonAppetour’s lovely hosts, Teresa? A professionally trained chef, Teresa easily whips up delicious Spanish fare but never forgets her motto in cooking that has been instilled in her since her childhood: love, time and quality produce. Step into her cozy home and savour an authentic meal that comprises of Coca Bread, Seafood Paella and of course, homemade Sangria. Cook like a local, dine like a local and live like a local- get a taste of home away from home and perhaps learn a recipe or two!
https://www.bonappetour.com/images/header-banner.png00Vanessa Chuahttps://www.bonappetour.com/images/header-banner.pngVanessa Chua2016-05-30 16:05:112017-11-14 18:55:485 Unforgettable Dining Experiences in Barcelona