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Barcelona - Around Town - Gràcia, Tibidabo & Zona Alta (part 2) - Gràcia Boutiques, Gràcia Cafés

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Gràcia

Until the end of the 19th century, Gràcia was a fiercely proud independent city. Despite locals’ protests, it became part of Barcelona proper in 1898, but has always maintained a sense of separatism and has been a hotbed of political activity. It is now home to a booming cottage industry nurtured by a growing band of artisans. Don’t miss the barrio’s annual fiesta  in the second week of August.

Exploring the Heights

Morning

Taking the northern route of the Bus Tourístic  is the easiest way to negotiate the vast northern area of the city; it also gives discounts on entrance to major sights en route. Start off at Plaça de Catalunya (tickets can be bought on board) and sit on the top deck for a good view of the Modernista magic along Pg de Gràcia. Make the whimsical Parc Güell your first stop and spend the morning ambling around Gaudí’s other-worldly park. Get back on the bus and continue north to the southern end of Av Tibidabo. Walk about 500 m (1600 ft) up Av Tibidabo and stop off for a leisurely lunch in the garden of the palatial El Asador d’Aranda .

Afternoon

After you’ve had your fill of fine Castilian cuisine, continue strolling up Av Tibidabo to Plaça Doctor Andreu where you can hop on the steep funicular train to go higher still to Plaça de Tibidabo. Pop into the Parc d’Atraccions for a ride on the dodgems or the Ferris wheel. Then head to the landmark Torre de Collserola , where a glass elevator whisks you up to an observation deck for spectacular views. Return to Plaça Doctor Andreu on the funicular and treat yourself to a granissat ) in one of the terrace bars. Then go down Av Tibidabo on the charming Tramvia Blau and catch the Bus Tourístic back to the city centre.

Gràcia Boutiques

  1. Naftalina

    Of all the cottage industry boutiques in Gràcia, Naftalina has the most stylish interior – befitting the equally stylish, hand-made designer clothes. Chic, elegant, understated women’s wear with an emphasis on textured fabrics.

    • C/La Perla 33

  2. Ninas

    Nina, an American designer, sells simple, modern women’s clothes made from fine fabrics. The shop is housed in a gorgeous Modernista building which was once a butcher’s, and has a workshop at the back.

    • C/Verdi 39

  3. Llena eres de Gràcia

    For gorgeous women’s fashions, accessories and evening wear at surprisingly reasonable prices, try this colourful boutique. The clothes are very wearable but most have a quirky twist.

    • C/Ros de Olano 52

  4. José Rivero

    José provides his own original in-house creations for men and women; he also sells crafted accessories, including handbags, by young local designers.

    • C/Astúries 43

  5. Multiart

    This fabric workshop sells colourful, hand-printed textiles, bedlinen, and clothes for men and women. It also runs educational dress-making workshops.

    • C/Sant Joaquim 23

  6. Món de Mones

    For colourful jewellery and accessories, try the ‘World of Monkeys’ (món de mones in Catalan) near the Plaça del Sol. The designer, Teresa Roig, uses a variety of materials from glass to felt to create her original designs.

    • C/Xiquets de Valls 9

  7. Camiseria Pons

    One of the oldest shops in this area, this men’s specialist shop sells shirts by top Spanish and international designers, including Ralph Lauren.

    • Gran de Gràcia 49

  8. Mushi Mushi

    From hard-to-find, small labels to the best international collections, this pretty little boutique stocks a fine selection of women’s fashion. It also offers a small range of shoes, bags and accessories.

    • Plaça Rius i Taulet 5

  9. El Piano

    El Piano sells elegant and stylish women’s clothes with a retro flair made by Catalan designer Tina García. It also stocks clothes by other independent designers.

    • C/Verdi 20 bis

  10. Zucca

    One of three branches in Barcelona, Zucca offers a superb range of colourful fashion accessories. The stock includes plastic flowers for your hair and stick-on navel rings.

    • C/Torrent de l’Olla 175

Most of Gràcia’s small boutiques accept commissions.


Gràcia Cafés

  1. Cafè del Sol

    This café-bar is a cut above the others in the lively, bohemian Plaça del Sol. The atmosphere buzzes, the conversation inspires and the excellent coffee keeps on coming.

    • Pl del Sol 16

    • DA

  2. Cafè Salambó

    Scrumptious sandwiches and a tasty range of salads are the draw at this beautiful, wooden, trendy bar-cum-café. There are pool tables upstairs.

    • C/Torrijos 51

    • DA

    Sign, Cafè Salambo
  3. Tetería Jazmín

    An aromatic café that serves hundreds of different teas; the most unusual is the mint tea served with pine-kernels. Typical Morrocan dishes (tagines and couscous) are also available.

    • C/Maspons 11

    • Closed Mon, Tue, two weeks Sep

    Tea urns,Tetería Jazmin
  4. La Cafetera

    Of all the cafés on Plaça de la Virreina, this one, with its outdoor terrace and tiny patio full of potted plants, is easily the most pleasant for a quiet and leisurely morning coffee and a sandwich.

    • Pl de la Virreina

  5. Aroma

    It’s always a pleasure to smell the coffee being freshly ground at this cream-walled and wood-beamed café. Hundreds of coffees to choose from, with takeaway packets available.

    • Travessera de Gràcia 151

    • DA

  6. Vreneli

    The cosy Plaça de Rius i Taulet boasts four café terraces to choose from. Vreneli is the most interesting one, with a mixture of Mexican, Swiss and Spanish fare. No alcohol is served.

    • Pl Rius i Taulet 8

    • Closed Mon

    • DA

  7. Blues Cafè

    The walls at this dusky, atmospheric café-bar are plastered with black-and-white photos of John Lee Hooker and Leadbelly, among others. The music, electric or acoustic, is always the blues.

    • C/Perla 35

  8. Cafè del Teatre

    This is an ideal place to find a young, friendly crowd and good conversation. The only connection with the theatre here seems to be the velvet curtains on the sign over the door of this scruffy, but busy, café.

    • C/Torrijos 41

  9. Cafè de Gràcia

    This airy and spacious café, with salmon walls and mirrors, is an ideal spot for a quick coffee away from the crowds. Service is speedy and a touch more formal than most places in Gràcia.

    • C/Gran de Gràcia 34

  10. Sureny

    A sophisticated addition to this square, Sureny is simple but stylish, with a tantalizing selection of tapas and plenty of wines available by the glass.

    • Pl Revolució 17

    • Closed Mon

    • DA

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