GSM mobile world congress
If you're visiting Barcelona for this year's Mobile World Congress, read our insider's guide to places to eat, see and shop in the city.
1. If you're looking for a place for a bit to eat, take a look at our restaurant directory, which has details about a range of Barcelona eateries, including restaurants specialising in Catalan and Spanish dishes, where to go for traditional tapas and more international options. And if you'd like to go for a drink after a busy day at the conference, try our bar guide, with its varied venues including classic cocktail bars, places off-the-beaten-track and city centre favourites.
2. To discover the latest eating and drinking places to open in Barcelona (as well as some that have been around a lot longer), check the restaurant reviews and regular blogs from our expert writers Tara Stevens and Nadia Feddo. Recommended venues that have opened their doors recently include fish restaurant Big Fish and the tiny but welcoming Bar Zim.
3. Barcelona is always a busy city in cultural terms and this week is no exception. First, for music lovers, the acts on stage include US singer-songwriter Bill Callahan, Italian smoothie Eros Ramazzotti, Britpop master Richard Hawley and Kevin Costner (yes, that Kevin Costner). If you'd like to enjoy some of the many art shows currently on in Barcelona, take a look at our cultural agenda (where you'll find details of everything that's on in the coming days)—highlights include Fotopres, an exhibition of recent Spanish photojournalism; important retrospectives of modern masters John Baldessari and Rodney Graham at the magnificent MACBA; and a show featuring the glamourous work of Spanish fashion photographer Manuel Outumuro. Other events this week include a special nightly flamenco show to celebrate one of Barcelona's foremost flamenco venues as part of the city's annual festival dedicated to the culture.
4. For anyone planning to stay in Barcelona once the congress is over, you might be looking for some ideas for getting out of the city. Skiers should take advantage of the recent snowfall to head to one of the many resorts in the Pyrenees, just a few hours from Barcelona. If you prefer a more relaxing time, try one of Catalunya's spas. Alternatively, for an easy day trip, head half an hour down the coast to Sitges, a beautiful seaside resort where you can enjoy delicious paella and wander the town's narrow streets.
5. Don't forget to buy souvenirs for families and friends back home. But best to avoid the sombreros on the Rambla (which are, of course, Mexican and not Spanish or Catalan!) and look for something a little more original. How about some cava? Catalunya's equivalent to champagne is just about as delicious but significantly cheaper than the French type. Or some local wine—while Rioja is the best-known Spanish wine, the Catalan region of Penedés, just south of Barcelona, is known for its whites, while the Priorat region has become a favourite amongst connoisseurs in recent times. Click here for a range of reviews and articles on suggested labels. Other places to look for unusual presents are the many museum shops around the city—read here for a few recommendations.
7. Don't be surprised if you see kids and adults running around the city in costume—this week is Carnival and many people get into the party mood by dressing up. Even if you left your Dracula outfit at home, try bunyols, small doughnuts that are eaten in Catalunya during Lent. You'll find them in cake shops around the city—they're sold by the kilo and aren't the cheapest treat in the world, but feel free to just buy two or three to try.
8. Find out what's making the headlines in Barcelona and Spain while you're here, with our Informer news blog, updated each morning and explaining the main stories in English with links to the full stories in Castilian or Catalan.
9. Try the typical Catalan dish of calçots—these 'large onions' are in season now, and although the eating experience can be rather messy, it's definitely worth it.
10. Finally, if you've come to Barcelona with your families and are looking for ideas for them to do while you're at the congress, check out our suggestion of 10 things to do that are suitable for all ages.