Bringing color to the streets!
When speaking to any graffiti artist, like Barcelona’s famous Didac, you will quickly learn that there is a difference between planned graffiti artwork and random, unplanned graffiti. Barcelona is home to many talented graffiti artists who are often commissioned by local shopkeepers and neighbors to paint graffiti artwork.
In the Old Town, you will notice that there is practically no graffiti on the walls, but only on doorways and shutters to shops or garages. This is because the City Council takes responsibility for cleaning the walls and random graffiti is usually gone within 24 hours of appearing. However, the doors and shutters are the responsibility of the individual shopkeepers or owners.
To keep their doors and shutters attractive, even after business hours, many shopkeepers hire graffiti artist to decorate their shutters. Graffiti artists charge between 200 to 300 Euros for designing and painting shutters or doors. The graffiti artwork can last for up to a year without any random graffiti being painted over it. This is out of respect for another’s work, the other graffiti artists or taggers will not paint over graffiti artwork.
Barcelona is home to many talented graffiti artists. As you walk around the city you may come across various works by these artists that have been commissioned by the private store owners as well as by City Hall.
Insider's Tip: You'll find great street art in Barcelona's Gothic Quarter - go for a stroll before the shops open or on a Sunday.
La Sagrada Familia, literally meaning The Holy Family, was designed by Antoni Gaudi and is considered, not just by us, the most creative architectural project currently in progress. Gaudi, though not the first architect, made the project his after taking over in 1883. He thought that instead of putting the story of the Bible in the stained glass windows inside the church that it would be more joyful to put the story on the outside of the church in stone figures.
This building is being built only from anonymous donations with the concept of making a church that is built by the people for themselves. With this idea in mind, and knowing that it would take generations to get enough donations to finish it, Gaudi decide that each facade should be built and decorated before moving on to the next facade. Normally, the entire building would have been built and then decorated, but Gaudi thought doing it his way would allow each generation to put their artistic and technological fingerprint on the church. This has been a great way to involve each generation, but did make getting donations over time rather difficult as many thought the project would never been finished!
We are still following Gaudi’s plans today with a work crew of just over 300 people working 5 to 6 days a week, as they meet deadlines. The big stonework, now mainly completed, is done off-site and stored there until it is needed. It is later brought on-site and is raised into position by crane. And, as the most visited monument in Spain, la Sagrada Familia enjoys constant donations that fund the construction, making the projected completion date of 2026 viable.
The most visually amazing part of the church is inside where Gaudi aimed to make it look like a forest! The columns become tree trunks, the ceiling with its hundreds of skylights allow the light to filter down between the leaves, the stained glass windows are a rainbow of light!
Insider Tip: Best time to visit is the late afternoon.
Starting on las Ramblas at the Liceu Metro station, you’ll take the exit to the La Boqueria, which is Barcelona's oldest and biggest market and is one of 44 fresh food markets in the city! There are two main options for eating here at the Boqueria: either a walking and eating tour of the market or settle on one of the many restaurants for a bar stool meal.
If you opt for the walking/eating tour you’ll find - cured meats and cheeses on skewers, freshly cut fruit, smoothies, fried fish dumplings Buñelos de Bacalao), Italian pizza, sweet or savory pies (empanadas) or freshly made to order crepes. Don’t expect to find any places to sit and enjoy your food, as the tables and chairs you see are for restaurant use only. However, the nearby Hospital Antic (entrances can be found on Carrer Hospital or Carrer del Carme - the first one slightly closer to the market) is a lovely place to find park benches and enjoy a freshly bought snack.
If you opt to settle on a restaurant, then we recommend Bar Pinotxo just at the front of the market, where the stained glass archway is located, at the beginning of the first aisle to your right, or at Bar Central all the way at the back of the main aisle of the market. These two family owned and run restaurants are open from 8am to 3pm (maybe 4pm if you are lucky). When you arrive, catch the eye of someone behind the bar and let them know how many are in your party. They put you on an invisible, but viable waiting list and get you seated as soon as possible. You’ll almost always have to wait in both places, but it is well worth it!