The Must Sees of Barcelona this Summer

If you’re visiting Barcelona this summer be sure to take note of our top 3 new must-visit destinations.

The Palau Guell is one of Antoni Gaudi’s first masterpieces which recently reopened on 26th May 2011 after a €9million, seven year restoration project. This magnificent mansion is now open for the public to enjoy once again and is a most spectacular vision. It was commissioned by Gaudi’s regular patron, the industrialist Count Eusebi Guell, and was listed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site in 1986, exactly 100 years after Gaudi first began to design it.

Restoration started in 1982, but it wasn’t until 2004 that the doors were closed to the public so that the final stages of work, under the direction of architect, Antoni Gonzalez could be carried out. Antoni believes that this building is the best conserved of all Gaudi’s work, describing it as ‘the most genuine, the most authentic’ and with no additions. It also broke all the theories of 19th Century romantic architecture with its famous triple interior facade.

The eye-catching chimneys are particularly impressive as is the spectacular central domed salon which is used by the family for private concerts. Entrance is 10 Euros and numbers are limited to 160 for security reasons, so queues are likely.

Having explored this stunning architectural landmark it will be time to relax with a cocktail and enjoy some of the finest tapas in the world in a new restaurant just around the corner.

Ferran and Albert Adrià, the culinary masters of renowned El Bulli, have recently opened two new tapas bars in Barcelona, Tickets and 41 Degrees. Widely recognised as the best restaurant in the world, El Bulli is scheduled to close on 30 July 2011 however customers will still be able to sample this gastronomic brilliance, with the specially created tapas menus at Tickets and 41 Degrees which include many of the El Bulli greats.

“The restaurant itself is a performance, with the main star being the food”, says Albert Adria of Tickets, which opened in March of this year. Waiters ‘perform’, circus masters greet you in a top hat in front of box office lights, an ice cream cart is escorted to tables complete with bicycle bell and striped canopy and a candy floss machine creates flavoured balls that adorn ‘trees’. The essence here is fun and Adria constantly refers to the ‘playful atmosphere’.

The attention to detail, however, is still paramount and much of the menu is similar to that of El Bulli – the Iberian ham ‘airbag-uette’, liquid ravioli, the marinated olives that look and taste like olives but aren’t, the parmesan ice cream and yoghurt pistachulines. Oysters are served with ‘pearls’ and delicate fish skin is presented in a paper cone.

Tickets and 41 Degrees is the brothers’ new cocktail bar, which opened in January this year and is situated just next door. “The snacks of El Bulli were born to accompany a cocktail”, says Adria, and he is on a personal mission to produce the best combination of the two imaginable.

Have you have visited Tickets or 41 Degrees yet? Or perhaps the newly opened Palau Guell…what did you think?