Each season in Barcelona has its own special pleasures, from wrapping up warm and feeling the crisp sea breeze as you take a walk along Barceloneta in winter, to long lazy summer evenings in the city’s many terrace bars. Autumn has arrived, bringing with it the whisper of several treats that are especially pleasant to indulge in at this time of year. Here are a few of our local favourites.
1. Pamper yourself at the Arabic Baths
Autumn leaves swirl along Passeig Picasso, a beautiful avenue that borders the Ciutadella Park. As clouds darken and a burst of rain falls, people start to dive under the shelter of the porticos or into the elegant bars and restaurants along this stretch. A tall wooden door at number 22 provides a portal to another level of luxury and pampering, at the Arabic Baths. Pools with different temperatures of water are especially designed to relax and stimulate you all over. How about a brisk dip in the cold pool followed by a lengthy loll in the bubbling Jacuzzi? Or sweating it all out in an Arabic style haman? Professional masseurs are also available, their scented oils and angel hands are sure to dispel any stress that you have been carrying around all day.
2. Indulge in chocolate and churros
Surely chocolate is the ultimate autumn indulgence. Barcelona has many excellent bakeries and patisseries where you can enjoy quality sweet treats, but we’d like to recommend this Catalan favourite. Churros are long donut-like fingers, a sinful mass of fried sugar which is irreverently dunked into a cup of thick hot chocolate. And when we say thick, we mean the churros would stand up vertical if you let them. The Petritxol Café is of our favourite churrerias, at C/ Petritxol 11, a few doors down from to the Trama gallery. Feed your sweet spot and feed your imagination in the same afternoon.
3. Go for an Autumn walk and a cocktail at Tibidabo
Barcelona is bordered by the Collserola mountain range, a magnificent natural park with countless hiking and cycling routes. The most emblematic reference point is Tibidabo with its magnificent church and amusement park. Yes, if your untrained eye catches a glimpse of something that looks like a ferris wheel nestling in the hills you’re spot on. Take the FGC train to Tibidabo, ride the vintage Tramvia Blau to the top of this prestigious avenue (checking out the film star homes on either side), and you’ll arrive at the rack railway which takes you all the way to the top. But if you really want to earn your sunset cocktail at the luxurious Mirablau, at Plaça del Doctor Andreu, give your legs a stretch as you enjoy the autumn landscape. Magnificent views across Barcelona and the Catalan countryside await.
4. Enjoy a tea in the Jewish quarter
Medieval Barcelona was home to a thriving Jewish community which lived in the streets of El Call between the Cathedral and Carrer Ferran, in the Gothic quarter. They had established everything they needed to honour their religion’s lifestyle, from shops selling kosher food to a beautiful synagogue. Look out for the informative posts in this area that offer insights into this chapter of Barcelona’s history. The narrow Gothic streets also conceal a well-kept secret: the wonderful Caj Chai tea room, at Carrer de Sant Domènec del Call, 12. Low chairs and soft lighting sets the mood as you choose from the many pages of teas and infusions on their menu. The house speciality chai is delicious – sweet, spicy and milky, and highly recommended, as are the Ayurvedic brews. Keep an eye out for any special events such as the traditional Japanese tea ceremonies that are sometimes organised here.
5. Catch a world-class show
The Catalan capital is renowned for its artistic and cultural offerings. From internationally acclaimed museums and galleries to independent experimental performances in intimate venues, Barcelona has it all. Flyers, posters and local publications will keep you informed of what’s on during your stay. However, there are a few venues which are worth visiting regardless of the current shows. The Palau de la Música was constructed by the Modernist architect Domènech i Montaner, with ornate sculptures and lavish details both inside and out. A huge colourful stained glass dome diffuses natural light throughout the auditorium. The Liceu Opera House is another jewel in the city’s cultural crown. If you can book tickets for a show, any show, in either venue – an evening of magic awaits.
Sandra Roig is Marketing Director at Apartment Barcelona.