Illustrator Renata Ortega experiences Barcelona with her bright eyes wide open. Her go-go-go energy means that every single moment is filled with fun and energy. The result is a glorious map (as colorful as the city it depicts), that explores every experience she could uncover. Read on for tips when planning your own non-stop visit to the busy, beautiful, bursting Barcelona!
Illustrations, photographs and commentary by Renata Ortega | edited by Jennifer Hoyden
Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid. It is the capital of Catalonia. It is located on the Mediterranean coast between the mouths of the rivers Llobregat and Besòs, and is bounded to the west by the Serra de Collserola ridge (512m/1,680 ft). About five million people live in the Barcelona metropolitan area, making it Europe's largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Sea. As a city boasting global cultural, economic and fashion influence, Barcelona is the 16th most-visited city in the world, with several million tourists every year.
Absinthe and fun at Bar Marsella on Raval; art and breakfast at Mitte; big Italian ice cream from Gelatiamo.
"Fun" is the name of the game for anyone visiting Barcelona. For the scene, go inside MACBA (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona) for the art, or stay outside for the sun and the scene - skateboarders congregate out front and perform in the plaza. Combine shopping and admiring at the Vallery Art Gallery. Passionate about comics? So is the crowd at Arkham Comics. For some great sound, head to the Milano bar, or Magic for some music. Enjoy the flavors at Bar Lobo, and the ice cream at Giovanni Gelateria Italiana. Hidden away in the Raval is a gem of an organic Bakery, the Reykjavik Barcelona.
Surreal architecture by Gaudí; love in the streets; lunch from the excellent Pim Pam Burger.
The Inside Scoop
We asked Renata to tell us what she knows and loves about Barcelona. As you will see, she really couldn't say enough great things about her beautiful city:
"The best time to go to Barcelona is just...always. There is always something interesting to do in the city. From the Comic Festival to the second hand market Lost & Found, expositions of the best illustrators and designers in town, dancing to rock'n roll at Magic, or listening to the best modern music at Apolo and Razzmatazz, taking in musicals and theatre on Parallel Avenue, ice skating at Plaça Catalunya, having a cocktail on the beach, eating typical Catalan food (or Chinese, or Mexican, or Turkish!!), attending the Sant Joan Festival near the sea, with its colorful fireworks, or the Gracia Neighborhood Festival, taking in the sunset on the top of Sagrada Familia or on Parc Guell...Whenever you go, you'll find something interesting to do and to see in this city."
"You must keep your eyes open and look everywhere in Barcelona: the modernist roofs, the shape of the tiles on the streets, the diversity of the people, the shops full of surprising details and gadgets, the fountains, the streetlights, the decorative selections in the bakeries, even the design of a wine bottle - Barcelona is modernity! It is diversity! It has culture, energy and color for you to taste, smell, touch, hear and see. If you go to Barcelona, for sure you will experience it with all of your senses, and for sure it will be an experience that you want to repeat!"
The best milkshakes at Big J's; comics and freaks at the Comic Festival; and the best place for an afternoon break at Antic Teatre.
If you go, good stuff to know
• The website of Barcelona City
• The Barcelona Tourist Guide
• Barcelona Botanical Gardens
• International Comics Convention
• Barcelona Illustration Festival
• Barcelona Guitar Festival: March - June
• Barcelona Festival of Early Music: April - May
• Barcelona Flamenco Festival: May - June
• Barcelona Music Festival: June
• Jazz Festival: October - November
• The best way to stay up-to-date on the up-coming music festivals is here.
Culture & Shopping
• MACBA (Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona)
• Vallery Art Gallery
• Lost & Found second-hand market
Food, Music & Drinks
• Milano Bar and Bar Lobo for drinks
• Magic and Apolo and Razzmatazz for music
• Reykjavik Barcelona for baked goodies, Pim Pam Plats for great burgers and Cosmo for art and coffee.
Going to Barcelona? Check out all our maps of Barcelona. And, as long as you're planning a trip to Spain, TDAT has dozens of maps from cities all over Spain - San Sebastian, Valencia, Madrid, and many more. You do want to know where to get the best tapas in Grenada, right?!
about the artist
Renata Ortega is a partner at the ultra dynamic communications and graphic design studio La Rana in Barcelona. Born in the town of Terrassa, Renata threw her energy and passion for fun into art at an early age, though she always found time for surfing, dancing and traveling. Her talents lead her to study graphic design and illustration at Bau Escola Superior de Disseny. Now, as a super enthusiastic illustrator and art director, she works and lives with an appetite for the new. Her search for new discoveries, in design and in the world, fuel her every day. Renata says "My passion is for the creativity, the colours...I love my life and I love to live it, second by second!"
What do you think?
Have you been here? If so, please use the comment box below to share your stories, recommendations, suggestions and thoughts with everyone! Thanks!