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Forget about the sights - it's all about the stops

Here is a tried and tested guide to a mini-break in the Catalan capital: forgetting about the sights, and making the most of all the stops.

By Lily Donnelly, Travel Editor

The Croft Magazine//When one is faced with forty-eight hours in a city à la Richard Ayoade, one must make their plans wisely. Hustling around a bustling city can very easily take all of the fun out of a holiday, and its toll on you along with it - something I tried to avoid on my recent escapade in Barcelona.

Primer día/day one: Gothic Quarter

Morning: head to Black Remedy in the Gothic Quarter for a rather British-style brunch, choosing between avocado and feta on toast, breakfast bowls adorned with fresh fruit and yoghurt, or a simple croissant. Sip your much-needed coffee without sinking too far into your industrial-chic seat  before diving deeper into the district.

Be sure not to mistake the Arco di Triunfo for an ‘Eiffel tower’ in Vegas kind of affair.

Afternoon: once you’ve covered the perimeter of the Cathedral and ambled along La Rambla, one of Barcelona’s most famous streets connecting the Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vuell, it’s already time for a luncheon.  

This very street boasts La Boqueria, an internationally acclaimed food market that is bound to tantalise all taste buds. El mercado is brought to life by vibrant fruits and vegetables, the churning of fresh churros and a chaos that reminds you that you’re truly on the continent.

Perch yourself on a bar stool at one of the dozen tapas bars whilst you indulge in freshly grilled octopus and patatas bravas washed down by çerveza and/or sangria.

Still not full? Grab a ready-made snack pack of Spanish ham and cheese, and some supplies for your hold luggage whilst you’re at it.

Evening: when dusk rolls around, and you can’t face the bus ride up to Park Guell, a solution waits for you just around the corner. Hop in the lift at El Corte Inglese and take in the panorama on the 5th (?) floor where you’ll be able to see the mosaic of Plaça de Catalunya in its full trampled-by-tourist glory.

Then, whilst you wonder back to your abode, call into Oasis on Plaça del Regomir and watch the Spanish life pass by underneath the setting of the Mediterranean sun. Surrounding you are endless restaurants perfuming the streets with the smell of paella, so either stay here for dinner or stumble into a tapas bar - the night is yours.

Epigram/Lily Donnelly

Seguendo día/day two: El Born
Morning: you’ve woken up early to make the most of your last day, so a hearty breakfast and heftier coffee are in order. Today’s choice is Alsur Café with a near ineffable breakfast menu that leaves me with no choice but to direct you to their Instagram page. The café-come-bar finds itself in El Born, the once up-and-coming neighbourhood that now boasts some of the best haunts in town.

Situated just a short walk away from Parc de la Ciutadella where you can find Spain’s answer to the Arc de Triomph, bring a book and a blanket with you for a mid-afternoon lie down. Be sure not to mistake the Arco di Triunfo for an ‘Eiffel tower’ in Vegas kind of affair.

...[it] was the best tapas I've ever had and it wasn't even bloody Spanish

Afternoon: it’s time for a culture fix. Conveniently, the Picasso museum awaits you back in El Born, and offers a 50% student discount on admission. With 4251 pieces to feast your eyes on, trawling through the collections at Museu Piccasso is bound to work up an appetite that you can quash with a coffee and a cake in Bar El Born. Holidays are hard work, after all.

Epigram/Lily Donnelly

Evening: I implore you to go to Mosquito, quite literally around the corner from Alsur, to indulge in Asian Tapas. Controversial though it may be, this was the best tapas I’ve ever had and it wasn't even bloody Spanish. The crispy duck, fish cakes, prawn dumplings and beef gyoza were admittedly too much food for two people, but dishes worth licking clean anyway.

Epigram/Lily Donnelly

If pho takes more of your fancy, pop here for lunch instead. Whether the sun is up or down, be sure to get there early – with a no reservation policy, the tables are hot property. Prop yourself up in a jazz bar afterwards, but remember that you have a flight to catch in the morning.

Featured image: Epigram / Lily Donnelly

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