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The Ultimate Tokyo Guide: Food, Attractions and Experiences

The Ultimate Tokyo Guide: Food, Attractions and Experiences

Tokyo, Japan’s capital with its neon-lit streets, is the largest and most populous metropolitan area in the country. A city that prides itself on its ability to constantly change and reinvent itself, Tokyo is one of those cities that will wow you at every turn. With a rich cosmopolitan food scene, one of the most efficient public transport systems in the world and amazingly clean grassy parks, what’s not to love?

With the endless number of things that you can do – splurge on sushi at every street corner, witness the cherry blossoms fall gently all around you as if you were in a movie, a hands-on authentic sushi or gyoza making workshop with a local Japanese family, or even savour grilled chicken from lantern-lit yakitori stands. You may be asking yourself, where do you even start?

So here is the ultimate guide that will help you navigate your way around Japan. Food, attractions and unique experiences that you must not miss out on can all be found below.

Want to know where to get the best eats? Here are the top 5 BonAppetour foodie picks:

1. Zakuro Nihonbashi

The first place that comes to mind for ‘food you have to try in Japan’ would be shabu shabu. Not just any shabu shabu, but the best one from Zakuro. Zakuro serves the finest quality of wagyu beef to cook in your own shabu shabu pot.

With just the right mix of atmosphere, amazing service and out of this world food, it is a perfect spot for tourists like yourself to settle down together with your friends and to enjoy some high-quality dining.

Why Zakuro? Since there are about a hundred other shabu shabu eateries out there! The differentiating factor would be their special ornate copper nabe (cooking pots) that have been handcrafted and been in use for almost 60 years, exuding a sense of treasured antiquity.

Setting the special ornate copper nabe over a stove heated by charcoal produces more heat than gas fire, so as to bring out the flavours in the dash (stock). Come and enjoy a shabu shabu meal perfectly accompanied by beautifully marbled wagyu that will arouse your palate with an undeniable mix of aromas and flavours.

2. Wako Tonkatsu

Entering a japanese restaurant wherever you go, in the section under rice there will always be this dish that says ‘tonkatsu’. You may or may not have ordered it but know that any tonkatsu you may have tried so far cannot beat this restaurant’s Wako Tonkatsu’s pan-crusted deep fried pork cutlet. Crispy and crunchy on the outside yet juicy and soft on the inside.. oh so delicious.

Usually served with fluffy, soft Japanese white rice with a stack of cabbage on the top, pickles and miso soup. Wake Tonkatsu, due to its wide knowledge and expertise in the field of Tonkatsus, offers you two choices: the Rosu-Katsu (loin) and the hire-katsu (fillet).

The loin involves a lot more marbling, hence it’s juicer compared to the fillet. Choose wisely because though they might look vaguely similar, they are all different in taste.

3. Momose

If you were looking for one of Tokyo’s hidden gems, Momose is one of them. Only known to locals, with rarely any tourists crowding the area, there are long lines meandering outside of the restaurant at all times of the day. Momose is an old tempura restaurant that serves the best tempuras in town. The tempuras are crispy and delicious. You do not only get tempuras at this restaurant, there are a myriad of other dishes to choose from. Catch a seat at the bar where you will be able to see the sushi chef slice finely into a slab of tuna and putting together the ultimate flavourful sushi.

4. Tsujita

A franchise restaurant that is popular both in Tokyo and LA. With over a hundred different ramen stalls selling similar types of ramen, Tsujita sets itself apart by creating their own specialty called the tsukemen, otherwise known as the dipping ramen.

The noodles of the Tsukemen are thick, soft to bite into and are served with dipping hot broth full of flavour, and bits of pork to provide that extra crunch. Go and check out what their little shop has to offer. Definitely a ramen experience not to be missed.

5. Mentsudan

This sanuki udon joint, is run by Kazutoshi Tao who is the chief of an udon club and a gourmet columnist. The udon that you will devour at this joint is handmade by noodle experts from Kagawa. Like many other udon joints in the city, it is an unassuming spot for anyone who wants to eat udon in Japan.

You walk up to the counter, order your noodles, then pick your toppings and make your payment. Fast and efficient. An added extra incentive to come to this restaurant is that there are DIY beer pouring machines where you can drink until your heart’s content!

Want to make your trip more worthwhile? Try dining with a Local in their home where they will cook up delicious Japanese delicacies! Join our home chef Mayuko in her little kitchen to cook up a beautiful feast.

In-between breakfast-lunch and lunch-dinner, you should visit these few attractions that have all played a vital role in shaping Japan today:

1. Meji Shrine

The completion of the Meji Shrine in 1920 was dedicated to the deified spirits of the 19th-century Emperor Meiji (first emperor of modern Japan) and Empress Shoken. Emperor Meiji was born in 1852 and ascended to the throne in 1867 at the peak of the Meiji Restoration when Japan’s feudal era came to an end and the Emperor was restored to power.

The Edo Period was a dark time in Japan’s history where Tokugawa Leyasu gained control of Japan and ruled unfairly, helping the rich like himself and making the poor much worse off. The shrine was destroyed during the Second World War, eight years after the passing of the Emperor Meiji, but was rebuilt shortly after that.

The serene yet austere atmosphere of the shrine offers spacious walking paths for you to take a relaxing stroll around the park. A 40-foot-high torii stands tall at the entrance of the 200-acre park, lined with thousands of cypresses, and offers a hideout from the urban and bustling Tokyo.

At the Meji Shrine, there is a communal water tank where you will be able to submerge your hands and mouth to purify them before offering up a prayer to the gods. Writing your wishes on little pieces of paper and tying them onto the prayer wall or tossing some yen into the offering box are some of the local activities that you can take part in.

Whilst doing this, bow your head twice, clap twice and bow once more. This is a typical Shinto (indigenous faith of the Japanese people) activity. Open from sunrise to sunset, you must seize this chance to immerse yourself in some local practices and history.

2. Tsukiji Fish Market

The name Tsukiji Fish market should not sound foreign to you, for it is the world’s largest, busiest, and stink-free fish market.

Seeing rows and rows of fresh fish and other seafood and the bustling atmosphere of scooters, trucks, sellers, and tourists moving around the market has attracted many tourists from around the world. Handling over 2,000 tons of marine products per day, it is a favourite destination for tourists to come at 5 a.m. to witness the live tuna auctions.

Tip: Before you go to the market check the website if the auction will be open to the public that day and then apply at the Osaka Fukyu Center (fish information center) at the Kachidoki gate, on a first come first basis of only 120 people every morning. Registration starts at 4.30 a.m.

As Tsukiji Fish market is one of the largest in the world, you would need to know how to navigate yourself around it. There are several off limits areas to the public as well as an inner and outer market where different activities occur.

The inner market is where raw ingredients can be found and bought whereas the outer market has sushi, cooked food etc for you to indulge in. To ensure that daily routine of these Japanese people runs smoothly, you should strictly follow the map and stay on the course meant for tourists, and not venture off.

Several rules you need to take note of when going to the market:

  • You are only allowed into the wholesale markets after 9am
  • Do not enter restricted areas
  • Do not obstruct traffic
  • No large bags or suitcases
  • Advised not to wear high heels and sandals for it is wet
  • Do not bring small children or pets
  • No smoking
  • Do not touch anything unless you have the intention of buying it

If you follow these rules, there shouldn’t be a problem and your time at the Tsukiji Market should be a breeze and an eye-opener.

Due to the number of tourists that visit the Tsukiji market, authorities are concerned that the current infrastructure will not be able to accommodate the growing number of people visiting every year. Therefore the market is scheduled to move to a new location in Toyosu in November 2016.

3. Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

During the Edo Period (1603 – 1867), the Shinjuku Gyoen was built to serve as Tokugawa Leyasu’s residence, the Emperor at the time. Afterwards, during the Meiji restoration period, the Shinjuku Gyoen was converted into a garden for recreational and entertainment for guests.

Similar to the Meiji Shrine, it was destroyed during the war and rebuilt later in 1949 as a public park. Since then many locals and tourists fill the park, especially during the cherry blossom period.

A tranquil garden that will appeal to all of you who seek to escape the busy and urban city centre. Shinjuku Gyeon National garden is one of Tokyo’s largest and most popular parks. Because it is so huge, it is split into 3 gardens – The Japanese, English, and French Garden.

The first of the three, The Japanese Garden, is the oldest and most traditional. It features large ponds dotted with large koi fishes and lined with well-manicured bushes all around. Several pavilions can be found around the garden where you can take a short rest from walking around the park.

The first two weeks of every November, there is a chrysanthemum exhibition where you can view the beautiful arrangement of flowers and also buy a few seedlings if you wish to go home and nurture them.

The second park, The English Garden, is a personal favourite. The large lush green lawns that extend as far as the eye can see are truly an amazing and beautiful sight. You can nestle under a tree for some shade and have a small picnic together with your loved ones. Despite being in the centre of bustling Tokyo, the air in the park feels especially fresh and rejuvenating. Spread your arms out and take in a large breath of air 🙂

Lastly, The French Garden features a rose garden and beautiful meandering paths where you can take a leisurely stroll. Walking through the garden, the branches of the beautiful trees will hang above you. Watch as the sun rays try to break through the leaves. A beautiful sight!

4. Ueno Onshi Park

Ueno Onshi is another park that you have to visit, as it is one of the first parks in Japan that was designated as a public park. A feature that makes Ueno Onshi Park one of the must-see parks of Tokyo, is the Kaneiji temple. It is one of the city’s largest and wealthiest temples, which was the home of the Tokugawa clan during the Edo period.

He lead the country into political stability and economic growth under shogunate (military dictatorship). The beautiful cherry blossoms that fill the park have also become one of Japan’s ‘Must-sees’.

Kaneiji temple, similar to the other 2 attractions mentioned, was destroyed during the world war two but later rebuilt and designed similar to a western-style park in 1873. Other features include several famous and well known museums such as the Tokyo National Museum, National Museum for Western Art and even Japan’s first zoological garden.

5. Tokyo Tower

The Tokyo tower opened in 1958 and since then served as both a telecommunications tower and a tourist attraction. Its design and architecture was inspired by the Eiffel Tower, just smaller and painted in red and white. The tower is over 333 metres tall and a good place to enjoy a 360-degree view of Tokyo.

This particular attraction is one that the Japanese people hold very close to their hearts. Not only because it is a vital landmark in Tokyo’s skyline, but also because it played a very important role in Japan’s growth. This structure acts as a tribute to all the hard work of Japanese ancestors and the people today, that contributed to Japan’s rapid industrialisation as well as economic growth.

Today, despite being one of Tokyo’s oldest transmitter, it is the most distinguished throughout the Kanto region. Transmiting radio, digital radio and digital television.

If these attractions are too tourist-packed for your liking, and you are looking for something off-the-beaten path, here are some other experiences you need to take part in in Japan:

1. Capsule Hotels

With so many interesting concepts and experiences to delve into these days, we often ask ourselves ‘what inspired this idea?’ The Capsule Hotel came about first in 1979 designed for Japanese men who were too busy to go home or too drunk and missed the last train home. They are designed like Lego blocks stacked on top of one another. The width of each capsule is similar to the width of a coffin (not the best analogy, we admit…)

These capsule hotels were originally designed for men only, as there was a reasonable amount of risk for women staying in such places. However there are several capsule hotels all round Japan that offer ‘men only’ and ‘women only’ sections.

Though its original purpose was meant as such, there is no sign saying you can’t try it out for a night. All you need is a keen sense of adventure and a leap of faith from the usual comforts of the hotel room with room service and your individual toilets.

2. Sumo Wrestling

Wherever you come from, you would definitely have a national sport. Baseball for America, Rugby Union for New Zealand, Golf for Scotland, and for Japan, Sumo Wrestling. Sumo wrestling is a competitive full-contact sport where wrestlers attempt to force their competitor our of the circular ring, or touching the ground with anything other than the soles of their feet. The men who usually take part in Sumo Wrestling weigh more than 330 pounds (about 145 Kg).

Becoming a professional sumo wrestler is very demanding and nothing like a vacation at all. Training begins at five in the morning and continues until the afternoon with few breaks. Their training includes them whamming their bodies into an opponents body and slamming against wooden planks. The saying blood, sweat, and tears really describes their life to a tee.

If you happen to be in Tokyo during one of the three grand tournaments that take place in January, May and September, then this is an eye-opening experience to definitely indulge in!

3. Komadori Sanso

Shukubo Komadori-sanso is a mountain lodge that is centuries old. Getting there may be a challenge, but as they say ‘nothing good comes easy’. From the city centre, it involves a 3 hour journey to the lodge. Two trains, a bus, a cable car and a 15 minute walk is all you need to finally reach the lodge. Every minute spent travelling there would be worth the time (trust us!), from beautiful panoramic forest views to relaxing in the mountains with a natural waterfall massaging your back. Something off-the-beaten path for you to experience.

4. Oedo Onsen Monogatari 

Who does hot springs better than Japan? Anyone who has been to Japan and tried their onsen will agree with me without any hesitation. Ode Onsen Monogatari offers both open air and private onsens served together with traditional Japanese food.

Housing over 6 different baths, including those you can lie down in a tub with lukewarm water for summer. The water is drawn from 1,400 metres underground and the thermal baths are believed to be able to relieve your nerves, muscle and joint pain.

5. Dine with a local

If you are really looking for a off-the-beaten path experience that gives you an insight into local life, this is one to try. Organised by BonAppetour, you will be given the opportunity to go to a local’s home and dine at their place, eating lovely home cooked food, sharing stories about Japan, introducing must-eat restaurants and many more. The possibilities are endless!

Head over now, to subscribe as well as sign up and book the next meal that you are going to have with your hosts.

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The Coolest and Quirkiest Things to Do in Barcelona

The Coolest and Quirkiest Things to Do in Barcelona

A bustling city like Barcelona is definitely not short of exciting activities for you to try. Take a break from the cursory and ordinary sightseeing that regular tourists experience. Instead, embark on an adventure that will surely make your trip to Barcelona far more memorable than just visiting landmarks will. From watching a film under the stars to extreme beach sports, here are the top 7 coolest things that you can do while you’re in Barcelona.

 

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Take a class

From cooking classes to dance classes, Barcelona is definitely a place where you can pick up some new skills. With such deep-rooted history and culture, why not pick up a few tricks of the trade? Try taking a traditional flamenco lesson in the heart of Barcelona, or a stand-up paddling lesson on Barcelona’s prized beaches. Better yet, take a cooking class to learn more about the cuisine in Barcelona, while simultaneously treating yourself to some authentic Spanish food. Try the best paella making workshop in all of Barcelona with our host David, or an amazing tapas making workshop with a view to match with our host Nani, and come home with more than just photographs from Barcelona.
 

[BARCELONA-FLAVOURS https://www.bonappetour.com/s/Barcelona–Barcelona–Spain?lat=41.38506389999999&lng=2.1734034999999494]

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Catch a film in the great outdoors

Why watch a movie in a regular cinema like you would at home, when you can watch a movie surrounded by the sights and sounds of Barcelona? Catch a film in one of Barcelona’s multiple outdoor cinemas, from a beach to a fort, there will surely be a setting that you will find yourself completely in love with. Not a fan of big crowds at such events? Our host Nani can provide you with the exact same experience but just for you and your traveling companions. Enjoy your private outdoor cinema in the countryside with mountain views, great open space and refreshments provided.

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Visit the legendary Camp Nou

What is a trip to Barcelona without a paying homage to the world famous football cathedral Camp Nou, home to the current La Liga champion FC Barcelona? Take a tour of this magnificent stadium and travel in time to witness the glorious history of Barca, from the Cruyff ‘Dream Team’ years to the recent reign of Guardiola’s Tiki Taka,  from the likes of past legends like Koeman who brought the team its first European trophy, to the recent legends like Ronaldinho or the record-breaker Lionel Messi. Other than football, do check out the private art collection on display there which exhibits works by local artists as Dalí, Miró, and Tàpies.

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A chocolate museum

Visit Barcelona’s very own chocolate museum, Museu de la Xocolata, to truly know how it feels like to be a kid in a candy store. Learn about the origins of this sweet treat and its influence on Europe’s culinary scene. Tickle your senses as you tour through this small but nonetheless amazing museum that will sure to leave you hungry for some chocolate after. This museum is especially popular among the younger ones as it will surely become their favorite place in all of Barcelona.

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Flyboard

An extreme watersport that has taken the world by storm, flyboarding is a literal high flying and heart pumping sport that will definitely excite all the adrenaline junkies and water sports enthusiasts out there. This almost gravity-defying activity will propel you several feet in the air by the power from water jets, allowing you to feel just like a superhero. With the closest Flyboarding Center being less than half an hour away from the city center, this is certainly an activity to check out if you want to have an electrifying experience while you’re in Barcelona.

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Take a trip back in time and visit an ancient village

Step back in time and visit an old Spanish village, or at least a replica of it. Poble Espanyol is an open-aired museum that promises to bring you back centuries with replicas of characteristic houses from multiple regions across Spain like Aragon, Castile, the Basque Country, and Catalonia. Built in the year 1929, the 117 buildings that remain standing today in the Poble Espanyol represent the architectural achievements from Spain and is now home to several shops, restaurants, and bars. The Poble Espanyol is definitely a place that you have to visit at least once when you are in Barcelona.

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Visit a local’s home

There is no better way to gain deeper insights into Barcelona’s culture and history than to interact with its inhabitants and natives! With BonAppetour, you get to experience first hand how life would be like as a local through a one of a kind home dining experience. Get a taste of the most authentic food straight from a local’s kitchen and immerse yourself in an environment that no guidebook will ever be able to get you. From an amazing Tapas dinner in the heart of Barcelona to a seafood barbecue cookout with a beautiful view of the hills in Barcelona, there will certainly be a BonAppetour experience that you will absolutely fall in love with.

Try something more unconventional and exciting during your next trip to Barcelona and we are sure that you will be able to bring home more than just stereotypical souvenirs and photographs. If you would like to learn more about unique activities to do during your stay in Barcelona, check our other post on the top events that you have to attend while you are in the city!

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24 Hours in Barcelona

24 Hours in Barcelona

Be it a layover or just a day trip to Barcelona, you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed at the thought of trying to finish seeing all that there is to see in this beautiful city within the short time frame given. With so much to do, but so little time, what is truly worth visiting and cannot be missed in just one short day? Though it may seem daunting, but exploring the city in a day can certainly be done. Here is our list of what you must do during your 24 hours in Barcelona.

 

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[BARCELONA-BEST-PAELLA https://www.bonappetour.com/david-rg/best-paella-cooking-class-in-barcelona-delicious-hands-on-cooking-experience]

Park Güell

Going to Barcelona without seeing one of Antoni Gaudi’s work would be the equivalent of going to New York City without seeing Times Square. It would almost be a crime not to. Park Güell is just one of the many marvels that was designed by native architect, Antoni Gaudi. Initially destined to be housing site and later converted into a municipal garden, Park Güell was made in the 20th century and is one of the most highly visited landmarks in Barcelona. In the park, you can find not just trees, but also art and you can even get an amazing view of Barcelona!

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Mercat la Boqueria

When in Barcelona, you should certainly pop by one of Europe’s largest and most well known food markets. Stimulate your senses as you take in all the sights, sounds and tastes that this market has to offer! The variety of food available in the La Boqueria is truly endless and you can spend hours upon hours just walking through every aisle, in awe of the sheer amount of treasures that you can find. Grab a quick bite from the multiple different bars and restaurants that line the aisles, including the famous “Bar Pinotxo”, that serves up what some people swear by as the best Tapas in Barcelona. Travelers should note that the market only opens from Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

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Sagrada Familia

Of course, no trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the world famous “unfinished church”. After 144 years, this beautiful church is still not complete, with it only set to be done in the year 2030. Designed by none other than the iconic Antoni Gaudi, this complex work of architecture is certainly a sight to behold in person. The Sagrada Familia was consecrated in November 2010 as a basilica by Pope Benedict XVI and still remains as one of the biggest tourist attractions in Barcelona. For a small ticket fee, you can enter the church and even visit the top of the eight towers that have been completed. Plus, each ticket purchased will contribute to the funding of building the rest of the church, a cause completely worth supporting in our opinion.

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Magic Fountain of Montjuic

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 5 or 82, you are definitely in for a treat as this visual spectacle is also another 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 certain times of the year.

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La Pedrera
 

Also known as Casa Milà, this is another piece of architecture that was designed by Antoni Gaudi. Constructed between 1906 and 1912, the La pedrera has become one of the most iconic buildings that decorates the streets of Barcelona. Due to its unique design and heritage value, it has been recognised and inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in the year 1984. The building now houses the headquarters of Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation and a cultural centre. There are also different spaces that are used for art exhibitions that is open to the public, with guided tours included. If museums aren’t really your thing, you can opt to just visit the stunning facade and admire the intricate details that Gaudi put into the building for free.

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La Rambla
 

A beautiful 1.2 km walkway that cuts through the heart of Barcelona, La Rambla is yet another must visit attraction. The picturesque avenue is lined with various stalls, restaurants and street performers that never fail to entertain the thousands of people who walk through the La Rambla daily. From the cheesy souvenirs to the intriguing human statues, there is definitely something for everyone in La Rambla. This famous street also serves as a cultural hub with theatres, magnificent architecture and art (including the Pla de l'Os mosaic by Joan Miró) dotted along this central boulevard.

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Plaça Reial
 

Also known as Plaza Real, this is definitely a place to visit to truly experience the vibrancy of Barcelona’s nightlife. Just off La Rambla in the Barri Gotic, this square that was built in the 19th century, is certainly one of the most visited areas in Barcelona. It is also no surprise why. Filled with a myriad of restaurants and bars, this square attracts thousands upon thousands of tourists daily. The Plaça Reial is also home to some of Antoni Gaudi’s earliest work. Try looking out for a set of lamps that Gaudi was commissioned to design for the Barcelona council. Even though every lamp includes a plaque on the floor with his name, it is often overlooked. So do try to find it when you visit the most beautiful square in Barcelona.

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Dine with a local
 

There is no better way to end your trip off than having a meal with a local. Gain deeper insights into the history and origins of all the landmarks you have visited, while simultaneously treating yourself to authentic Catalan or Spanish food. The best part? Have all your questions about Barcelona answered, and get advice on what other hidden gems there is to see for your next trip to Barcelona, straight from a local. Try dining with our host Teresa, a native Spaniard, serving up a delicious Tapas dinner with her own home-made Sangria – certainly a unique experience like no other. Winding down with amazing authentic food, people you love and new friends? We cannot think of a better way to end your short 24 hours in Barcelona with.

24 hours is definitely not enough to explore this beautiful city thoroughly, with hundreds upon hundreds of other things to see, do and eat. However, 24 hours is certainly enough to make you fall in love with the charm that Barcelona has to offer, and get you started on planning your next trip back to this bustling city. Do you think we missed out on any crucial attractions that one must go to during their short stay here? Let us know in the comments below!
 

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The Arts Scene in Barcelona

The Arts Scene in Barcelona

When you think about the art scene in Barcelona, most people would only think of Antoni Gaudi and his great architectural feats, or Picasso and his iconic art. While Gaudi’s work did play a major role in shaping Barcelona’s ever-evolving art scene, and Picasso is an art icon in his own right, there is definitely more to Barcelona’s art scene than these two great artists. Here are some of the best art pieces to look for if you are on the hunt for some iconic art in Barcelona, aside from Gaudi’s buildings and the Picasso museum.

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Fernando Botero’s The Fat Cat Sculpture

Built by famous Colombian artist Fernando Botero, the “El Gato del Raval” or “El Gato de Botero”, is certainly a sculpture that cannot be missed. The iconic oversized cat located in Barcelona’s La Rambla del Raval has been seen around Barcelona since 1987. Initially calling other areas in Barcelona, like the Parc de la Ciutadella its home, the sculpture finally moved to its current location in 2003. Thousands of tourists visit this beautiful masterpiece daily to take pictures or to even climb onto its back!

[BARCELONA-FLAVOURS https://www.bonappetour.com/s/Barcelona–Barcelona–Spain?lat=41.38506389999999&lng=2.1734034999999494]

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Rebecca Horn’s L’estel Ferit

Also known as “Homenatge a la Barceloneta” or “The Wounded Star”, this masterpiece was created in 1992 by German visual artist Rebecca Horn. Located on the Passeig Marítim de la Barceloneta, a 1.25km promenade from La Barceloneta to Port Olímpic, the 10-meter high sculpture reflects the past developments of the Barceloneta district. From a run down outlier to a bustling metropolitan area, the four steel boxes stacked on top of each other, aids in showcasing just how far the Barceloneta district has come.

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Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen’s Matches

Known locally as “Els mistos”, this oversized sculpture is one of the most iconic pieces of art that decorates the streets of Barcelona. Designed and produced in 1992 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, a Scandinavian couple, this 22-meter high sculpture was part of the large-scale redevelopment efforts that took the streets of Barcelona, in preparation for the Summer Olympics that was held that year. This sculpture is now located at the former Olympic site of the Vall d'Hebrón, a mere 30 minutes away from the city center.

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Frank Gehry’s “Fish” Sculpture

This 52m long sculpture is one of the most unique landmarks located on Barcelona’s seafront. Also known as “El Peix”, Gehry’s masterpiece is one of the best known and most striking landmarks on Barcelona’s seafront. The gold facade of the sculpture certainly makes a statement, as the sun catches perfectly on its surface, allowing it to glisten and shine during the day. This was another sculpture that was part of the redevelopment efforts in Barcelona for the 1992 Summer Olympics. Both beautiful and functional, the “Fish” sculpture also serves as a canopy that links the renowned Hotel Arts to the seafront.

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Agbar Tower

A stark contrast from the traditional stonework that Barcelona houses, this 38 storey polished aluminum skyscraper is located at the entrance to Barcelona’s new technological and business district, [email protected] Said to be shaped after a geyser and the hills of Montserrat, the “Torre Agbar” also reflects the architectural legacy left behind by Gaudi, with references made to the bell towers his unfinished church, the Sagrada Familia. The 142-meter building lights up every night, according to a certain schedule (that can found on their official website) with special light shows made available on certain holidays like New Year’s Eve. Aside from being a spectacular piece of architecture in Barcelona, the Agbar Tower is also extremely eco-friendly, with it receiving the green building award from the European Council in 2011.

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Street Performers

Art in Barcelona definitely transcends physical and visual art, with its streets being constantly filled with performers from all walks of life. From human statues to singers, and even dancers, talented individuals can be easily found on every corner of the city. Street performers are especially prominent in La Rambla, a famous walking avenue in the heart of Barcelona. However, with new restrictions put into place, the avenue can only host a maximum of 15 performers at a time.

Art can be easily found in all sorts of shapes and forms in Barcelona. From architecture dating back to the last century, to new modern masterpieces, art is certainly something Barcelona is not short of. As this is just a brief excerpt of what Barcelona has to offer, do check out our other posts to learn more about this beautiful city and how to have the best vacation during your stay there.

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