Our home away from home in Barcelona for the next two weeks is a lightfilled apartmental rental located in Gràcia, a laidback bohemian neighbourhood with an arty vibe, leafy squares, ethnic eateries, and lively late-night bars.
Our Home Away From Home In Barcelona
Given this buzzy city’s blend of old and new, our home away from home in Barcelona fits the bill perfectly. The apartment is chic, spare and contemporary inside, while the splendid three-storey residence, built in the 19th century, is heritage listed due to it being the house of the university lecturer who taught Antoni Gaudí – the celebrated modernist architect who is synonymous with this city.
We were met on arrival by Pablo who runs the place and he gave us an extensive tour of the apartment, as well as pointing out the best local streets to explore, but more about that later. Thankfully the building has an elevator (many of these older building don’t) and there is covered parking and wheelchair access.
Once inside, the first thing we noticed about the apartment is how fresh it feels, having just been renovated in 2008. Largely in neutral colours with splashes of red, the furniture is stylish and comfy. There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a wonderful open-plan kitchen, living and dining room.
There are lamps to create some mood lighting, a flat screen television and DVD player, and a dining table for six that’s large enough for entertaining. It’s a quality renovation and the attention to detail is up there with a five-star hotel. The kitchen is also very well-equipped, with everything from a French coffee press to an orange juicer, and all the appliances – fridge, dishwasher, stove, and washing machine – are top quality stuff.
The location in Gràcia is hard to beat. You could say we’re sandwiched between posh and grunge. Behind our building is the upmarket neighbourhood of L’Eixample and the elegant avenues of Passeig Gràcia, lined with expensive designer boutiques and tapas bars, and the parallel Rambla de Catalunya, home to dozens of outdoor cafés.
A walk along Passeig Gràcia takes you by some of Gaudí’s finest buildings and down to Plaça de Catalunya, La Rambla, the Gothic Quarter and El Born, and beyond that the sea and Barceloneta by the beach.
On our other side is the arty, alternative area of Gràcia, extending uphill towards Güell Park. The neighbourhood is dotted with boutiques belonging to edgy young designers, art galleries, casual ethnic eateries (including loads of Arabic places), bohemian cafés, and hip bars, sometimes several in the one leafy square.
Some of Barcelona’s most highly-rated gastronomic restaurants (the ones that are set to test our credit cards) are a short stroll away. There are a few small supermarkets (and a 24hr one just around the corner) as well as a fresh food market just minutes away.
The only negative so far that’s significant (and no kitchen tongs doesn’t really rate – I’ll have to buy some) is that the double-glazing on the windows of our street-facing apartment is surprisingly ineffective. During the busy part of the day here the street noise is noticeable (those who sleep light would be best off requesting an interior apartment), but for us it’s not that annoying– it’s more a reminder to get out and explore this brilliant city!