Cristian's Guide to Barcelona

Cristian Massa – Roomorama blog

City Guide: Barcelona

Cristian is an Italian adopted by Spain (Catalunya somebody would say). He is a Motorsport journalist, now focused on the organisation of the WorldSBK Championship media content. He is from a little town in North Italy, always ready to pack and travel, most of the time for work, as he follows the Championship all over the world, permitting him some time off away from Barcelona.


What kind of traveler are you?

I’m definitely a laid back one, always looking for new places, but with the main target to relax. Beautiful beaches or white mountains don't make too much difference, the aim is to recharge batteries with nice places, good food and good company!


What are some of your must do's when you travel?

I like to have a clear idea of what to do and where to stay. I like to improvise, but what I don’t like is getting stressed by badly planned things or a complete lack of planning. As I said before, I’m a planner in my job, so to find relaxation, I need to have everything under control.


What are your 5 travel essentials?

  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Sunglasses
  • A good book
  • At least a pair of Vans shoes
  • A list of good local restaurants


If there was one celebrity vacation home you would like to live in for a week, whose would it be, and why?

Lets say Sean Connery! He's my childhood idol and if I remember well, he lives in the Bahamas… not bad.


You work in the world of sporting events. What is your favourite event and where is it located?

I won’t say motorbikes, that would be too easy of an answer. I believe events like the America’s Cup – a sailing competition in San Francisco – or special golf tournaments, like the Augusta Masters, have an enormous appeal. This is thanks to the show of the sport itself, and also because of the strong tradition behind these competitions.


Most people only see the glamorous side of your job - meeting athletes, celebrities, etc. What are some of the craziest things you have done at one of these sporting events that no one sees?


I must firstly recognise that this is part of the pleasure of working in sporting events as I do, including the traveling and much more.

What people normally don't consider is that we don’t have a rigid schedule to go in and out off the office: this can be good, but normally it's not. During a race weekend we can easily reach 15-16 hours of work per day!


There are so many sporting events around the world - how do you make time to travel just for leisure?

Actually, it is easier because I can (sometimes) take advantage of my travels, and stay a bit longer in places that I visit. The last one, few days after the Malaysian Round, I had the chance to take 2 weeks off to visit Bali and Singapore!


Do you have a favourite non-work related city?

I must say Barcelona. For my job I don’t have so much time to enjoy the city I live in, and when I’m back from my travels it is always a great pleasure. Great weather, great food, good people, the sea and the mountains are very close.


What are your favourite things to do in this city?

I try to enjoy as much as I can with all the things Barcelona offers. Plenty of good restaurants is a top option, every kind of sports including skiing in the Pyrenees (not as good as Italian Dolomites, but still good) or climbing in MontJuïc, enjoying the beaches around here (sometimes you can also practice some surf), and most of the time simply chill on my hammock on my terrace.


What are some of your favourite neighborhoods in Barcelona?

I live in the Born area, so it is definitely my favorite one! I would say also Gracia and Barceloneta.


In your favourite neighbourhood, what are some of regular spots?

I am way too partial to my neighbourhood of Born, so these are all my local favourites:


Eat

I would recommend [Bar Del Pla] (www.bardelpla.cat/), Mari Y Rufo, and Mundial Bar for food, like tapas.

Drink & Hang Out

For drinks and a good time, definitely NOSÉ Bar. It's a great place to hangout as well!

See & Do

El Born Cultural Centre, Rambla Del Born, Picasso Museum and Dalí Museum in Figueres.

Bar Del Pla Mundial Bar

Pictured above: Bar Del Pla (credit: Gastronomica Restaurantes), Mundial Bar (credit: Gusto Guides)


Barcelona is famous for Gaudi's architecture and its vibrant city life. What are some things a visitor must do to get the full Catalonia experience?

Avoid the Ramblas, too much confusion. Better enjoy the city centre in the tiny streets of the Gothic, Raval and Born areas. Of course visit the Sagrada Familia, the Casa Batlló and the Parc Guell, all coming from the Gaudì genius.


Parties in Barcelona have been known to only start at 1am, with some ending at sunrise. Do you have favourite clubs that are a must-do for anyone visiting Barcelona?

I personally enjoy the clubs in the upper part of the city like Sutton Club or Bling Bling club. But there are a lot of places to go out with all kinds of music you are looking for. But the very must in Barcelona are the concerts and music festival, starting from Primavera Sound!

Primavera Sound

Pictured above: Primavera Sound (credit: Virgin)


Having lived in Barcelona for quite some time, can you describe a perfect weekend for you?

A couple of good dinners, some nice time at the beach, a bit of sport, and my football team (A.C. Milan) winning on Sunday.


Stylish places to stay in Barcelona

This duplex apartment has a well-equipped kitchen, several bedrooms, and a large living and dining area – perfect for a couple, family or group of friends looking to explore Barcelona.

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Going to Barcelona? Check out more places to stay on Roomorama.