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Insider Spotlight: Marta's Top 3 Tips for Spain

Marta Rubio was born and raised in Barcelona but moved 7 years ago to The Netherlands. Here she works as an online marketer and started her website HolaBarcelona.nl , where she gives advice and local tips to people going to Barcelona in The Netherlands.

As a passionate traveler and foodie, you can also follow her trips and discoveries on AboutMarta.com.

Top 3 Favorite Restaurants in Barcelona?

1) El Velódromo: great place for Spanish tapas in l’Eixample in a unique setting, taking you back to the thirties.
2) Brunch & Cake: at the moment this is my favourite place for breakfast and lunch in Barcelona. Really busy, but totally worth it!
3) Granja Petitbo: to me the best place to eat brunch in town!

Top 3 favorite foods in Barcelona?

1) Tapas: when in Barcelona you definetly have to eat tapas like patatas bravas, calamares a la romana, chipirones, chocos, croquetas, jamón serrano, queso, and of course, the Catalan pà amb tomàquet.
2) Canelones: delicious cannelloni filled with meat and covered with bechamel sauce and cheese. So yummy !
3) Crema catalana: the Catalan version of the crème brûlée is the perfect dessert.

Top 3 tips for new expats in Barcelona?

1) Speak the language: the fastest way to fit in and bond with the locals is by learning and speaking the Spanish language. And if you learn a few Catalan words even beter! Don’t be shy and talk to the people, your neighbours, at your local market, at the bar… and before you know you’ll have made some Spanish friends!
2) Learn about the history and the local culture: Catalans have a very strong sense of national identity. They have their own language, traditions and festivities. A few examples: having a vermut, dancing de sardana, eating calçots, of building human towers. Get involved in these traditions and feel like a local.
3) Enjoy the big-city life with a laidback attitude: when in Barcelona try to adapt to the Spanish lifestyle. Mix as much as possible the fun of living in a big city such as Barcelona with some quality time for yourself or with your family outdoors. Enjoy long walks by the sea, the green spaces and sunny terraces in one of the many plazas.

Top 3 tips for travelers in Barcelona

1) Make use of public transport: public transport in Barcelona is the cheapest and fastest way to travel. The metro is specially the most efficient way to travel, even though it can get a bit crowded sometimes. Watch out for pick pockets in here!
2) Avoid tourist traps: the big rule of thumb for this is to do as the locals do. Get recommendations from other locals in order to find out what the greatest hidden gems are.
3) Go off the beaten path: Barcelona can be a very touristy city, but after having seen all the highlights, try to go off the beaten path and discover the real Barcelona, with its charming barrios, plazas and mercados. Slow down and see more of what you’re passing by!

Top 3 tips for what to pack for Barcelona?

1) Light clothes: it is almost never under zero degrees in Barcelona, so you can pack light clothes for your trip. During summer do not forget to bring your bathing suit so that you can enjoy Barcelona’s beach.
2) Comfort shoes: you’ll definetly walk a lot during your visit to Barcelona, so be sure you take your most comfortable shoes.
3) Sunglasses: it’s often sunny in Barcelona, so a pair of sunglasses will really come in handy.

Top 3 favorite places in Spain

1) Costa Brava : this coastline, north of Catalonia, hides some of the most beautiful beaches, charming white fishing villages and delicious gastronomy.
2) Balearen : these islands are a magical place. You can either enjoy the parties at Ibiza and Mallorca, or go totally zen in the rural areas in Formentera and Menorca, exploring the nature and the lesser known beaches with cristal blue water.
3) Madrid : the largest city and capital of Spain is also a lively energy pulsing city. Love its architecture, museums, shopping streets, nightlife, and of course its tapas and churros con chocolate.

Top 3 neighborhoods in Barcelona

1) Gràcia: this is one of the neighborhoods that most people in Barcelona are in love with. Its bohemian atmosphere, little shops and boutiques, wide arrange of bars, restaurants and calm squares filled with terraces and kids playing outside are some of the characteristics of this neighborhood. A great mixture of old and new, with the trendiest people and shops in the city.
2) Sarrià: next to the villa’s of the rich and famous there’s the old village of Sarrià, which has become the neighbourhood for the upper class in Barcelona. In the old streets of Sarrià you can still imagine how life in this old village was. Don’t miss the patatas bravas from Bar Tomás, which are known to be the best ones in town!
3) Horta: Horta is the place where I come from and where my family lives. Far away from the touristic areas, this neighbourhood has it all for me: it’s cozy, very familial, has plenty of green areas and a great historic center.

For more tips from Marta on Spain, watch out for upcoming posts on the Spain blog and visit her websites HolaBarcelona.nl and AboutMarta.com.

Interested in contributing? Contact erin@insidersabroad.com!

Published January 12th, 2016 by Marta Rubio
Posted to Inside Secrets to Spain

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