Barcelona — Boundless Culture & Architecture

Barcelona’s architectural treasures

Laurence Grigorov, who is director at South African based residential property development firm, Laurence Martin Developments, enjoys travelling abroad as a means to both relax and increase his exposure to foreign architecture and design trends. Laurence Grigorov has travelled extensively over the last 20 years and one of his favourite cities in the world to visit is Barcelona, located on the eastern coast of Spain. It is also the home of his favourite football team, Barcelona FC.

Barcelona is an enchanting seaside city with boundless culture, fabled architecture and a world-class drinking and dining scene.

Barcelona’s architectural treasures span 2000-plus years. Towering temple columns, ancient city walls and subterranean stone corridors provide a window into Roman-era architecture. Structures from the Middle Ages can be appreciated by taking a stroll through the shadowy lanes of the Gothic quarter, past tranquil plazas and soaring 14th-century cathedrals. In other parts of town bloom the sculptural masterpieces of Modernisme, a mix of ingenious and whimsical creations by Gaudí and his Catalan architectural contemporaries. Barcelona has also long inspired artists, including Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, both of whom have major Barcelona museums devoted to their works.

Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter

The masters of molecular gastronomy are part of the long and celebrated tradition of Catalan cooking. Simple, flavourful ingredients are transformed into remarkable delicacies and then served in captivating settings. Feast on hearty, rich paella at an outdoor table overlooking the sea or step back to the 1920s at an elegant art nouveau dining room. Barcelona’s wide-ranging palate adds further complexity: Basque-style tapas bars, Galician seafood taverns, avant-garde Japanese restaurants and sinful chocolate shops are all essential parts of the culinary landscape.

The deep blue Mediterranean is ever present together with sun-drenched beaches. Looming behind the city, the rolling forest-covered Collserola hills provide a scenic setting for hiking, mountain biking or just admiring the view. Closer to the city centre, hilltop Montjuïc offers endless exploring amid botanic and sculpture gardens, an old castle and first-rate museums with panoramic views at every turn.

The night holds limitless possibilities in Barcelona. As darkness falls, live music transforms the city: the rapid-fire rhythms of flamenco, brassy jazz spilling out of basements, and hands-in-the-air indie-rock at vintage concert halls. Towards midnight the bars fill. Take your pick from old-school taverns adorned with 19th-century murals, plush lounges in lamp-lit medieval chambers or boisterous cava bars. After 3am, hit the clubs and explore Barcelona’s unabashed wild side.

Having travelled to Barcelona 3 times over the last 2 decades, Laurence Grigorov finds the city inspiring and beautiful and hopes to return again in the future.