Posted June 12, 2009 by Kate Hamman
The Mediterranean city of Barcelona may be known as a party town, but you'll also find plenty of character alongside its festive atmosphere. Spend a day chatting with residents and browsing a local market for the freshest produce. When evening comes, you can dine on upscale food for bargain prices, and see a show in a historical setting.
La Boqueria: If you need items for an old-fashioned picnic or a gift for the chef back home, stop by La Boqueria for a delightful day among produce, meats, spices, and Catalunyan treats. Stroll the market and watch shopkeepers chat with sellers about the day's offerings, while perusing stalls overflowing with ripe fruits, veggies, and nuts. Prices depend on the seller, but a few picnic items will typically cost a lot less than lunch in a restaurant.
Palau de la Música Catalana: Declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997, the ornately decorated modern building completed in 1908 by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner is considered one of the premier concert halls in the world. Make it a priority to see a show in the impressive concert hall, which features a kaleidoscope of color in the overhead skylight. Guided tours are also available for €12, and focus on the history behind the original design and its recent renovation.
La Fonda Restaurant: With lines out the door before it even opens for dinner, La Fonda is a popular spot among tourists and locals. The airy restaurant, with white tablecloths and hardwood floors, may seem upscale, but the prices say otherwise. The seafood-driven menu includes a range of tantalizing top-quality dishes, such as parpadelles and prawns with garlic. Arrive early to get a table.
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(Photo: Oriol Cara-Ballbe)