Barcelona is a city of differences. Established engineering bulges up against Surrealist sugary treats. The most polished social contributions exist close by a thronging nightlife scene. You can feast luxuriously in Michelin-featured landmarks to haute cuisine or fulfill your appetite with platefuls of fairly humbler, yet absolutely heavenly neighborhood tapas. In spite of the greater part of its contending accents and impacts, some way or another everything in Barcelona merges together flawlessly. Everything works.
This was only one of the numerous reasons why I was so anticipating beginning off my Spanish yacht charter in Barcelona.
As soon as I arrived in the vibrant Catalonian city, I made a beeline for the OneOcean marina located at Port Vell. Recently transformed into an exclusive 148-berth port for superyachts of up to 190 metres (623.36 feet) in length, OneOcean marina sits at the very heart of Barcelona. OneOcean offers a range of first-rate facilities and services that are tailor-made to take care of the needs of the yachters who start or end their cruises there.
At the port, I met my commander and his team, who ceremoniously showed me onboard the amazing vessel that was to be my extravagant yacht charter through Spain and the Western Mediterranean. When I had become settled in my stateroom and had investigated my sleek, floating home-far from home for the following two weeks, I was prepared to take off and enjoy myself in the pleasures of Barcelona.
First, I wandered down the Rambla walkway at Port Vell, where I crossed the pedestrian bridge (which occasionally opens to let ships in and out of the harbour) and stopped in for some world-class shopping at the stunning Maremagnum mall. Set directly on the waterfront, this massive mall boasts, not only an impressive selection of shops – from the chic and pricy to the fun and functional – but also restaurants, entertainment options and incredible views of the city and the shimmering Mediterranean Sea.
After browsing (and buying) at this seafront shopping mecca, it was time to replenish my energy. I strolled along the beach to Agua, one of the trendy and ideally situated eating establishments that nestle steps away from the sand, overlooking the sea. I settled into a coveted table on the terrace, right on the sandy beach (it pays to book ahead, as my superyacht charter crew had done for me). Before too long I was savouring a steaming plate of paella, with some of the freshest seafood in this seaside city, and sipping a delicious Albariña, as golden as the Spanish sunshine.
Later that evening, after having a brief rest and sprucing up onboard my glorious superyacht, I headed out to sample some of Barcelona’s famed nightlife. First, I joined the crowd of beautiful people surging to the latest EDM beats at Opium Barcelona (another venue directly on the beach), which regularly features global superstar DJs, such as David Guetta, Tiesto, Avicii and Armin van Buuren. Since I still had a little energy left after that, I made another stop at nearby (and also beachfront) Pacha in Port Olimpic, where I proceeded to immerse myself in some epic Ibiza-style partying.
Surprisingly, after a night that went until the wee hours, I was up early the next morning and ready to greet the new day. To be fair, my mood was probably much enhanced by the delicious breakfast whipped up by my luxurious Barcelona superyacht charter’s private chef.
Rejuvenated and refreshed, I set off for a day of exploration. First, I boarded the Teleférico de Montjuic or the Montjuic cable car from the harbour and was rapidly whisked up 1,292 metres (4,239 feet). The views of the sea and the city of Barcelona from the cable car, as well as from Montjuic hill, were truly breathtaking. Montjuic, site of the 1992 Olympics, also is home to a 17th-century castle, botanical gardens and several well-respected museums.
Having worked up quite an appetite on Montjuic hill, I had my driver (also arranged by my wonderful yacht charter crew, in cooperation with the concierge services provided by the OneOcean marina) take me over to La Rambla, the bustling, tree-lined street, which runs from the port through the centre of Barcelona. Without further ado, I made my way to the legendary Boqueria market, a veritable foodie heaven. Although usually not one for lining up, I made an exception and joined the queue for a chance to grab a sought-after stool at the counter of Bar Pinotxo. I lucked out and not only managed to secure a seat, but also was in time to try the amazing truita de carxofes, or artichoke omelette, perfectly paired with a lovely viña sol.
Lunch at Bar Pinotxo gave me a second wind and I decided to forego the traditional Spanish siesta. After all, I only had a short time left in Barcelona. My next stop was Park Güell, one of the best spots in the city to see the unique, fantastical architecture of Antonio Gaudi. Commissioned by Eusebi Güell, this never-finished park was originally intended to provide a garden escape for the aristocratic residents of Barcelona. Today it showcases some of the most characteristic elements of Gaudi’s original style, including his tendency to mirror shapes found in nature, his embrace of colour and his striking use of stone and tile to create structures that are almost magical in appearance.
Having wandered around the park – a process which involved making my way up and down stairs, as well as paying a visit to the house on the property where Gaudi once lived and which is now a museum – I finally started to flag a bit. It was time to return to my megayacht charter in Port Vell.
I had originally intended to venture out on the town again that night. But, after the exceptional, multi-course dinner prepared by my yacht’s chef – complete with locally sourced, Iberian produce and matched up with exquisite vintages – I could think of no better way to enjoy the warm Barcelona evening than with an expertly prepared cocktail on deck before retiring to the plush bed in my cabin.
Following a blissful night’s sleep, my final day in Barcelona dawned. I awoke to blue skies and an ambitious plan to fit in a few more must-see sights, before setting sail on my superyacht charter.
On my first stop of the day – as I walked around the multi-faceted exterior and marvelled at the stained-glass-adorned interior of La Sagrada Familia – I found myself almost overwhelmed by the ambition of Gaudi’s masterpiece. Begun over 136 years ago, this world-famous building is still under construction today, making it feel more alive than unfinished. One of the most recognisable and compelling works of architecture on the planet, La Sagrada Familia makes an indelible impression on almost all who witness it.
Having spent longer than I had anticipated admiring La Sagrada Familia, I barely had time to pay a quick visit to another of Barcelona’s testaments to artistic genius – the Picasso Museum. Housing one of the most influential collections of Pablo Picasso’s works, comprising 4,251 pieces in total, the museum offers a deep dive into the formative years of one of the 20th century’s most towering artists. I could have spent days gazing at the museum’s collection of paintings – which generously attempted to share a greater insight into Picasso’s motivations, vision and relationship with Barcelona – but, after a few scant hours, I had to get back to the marina at Port Vell.
I climbed onboard my luxury superyacht charter and reluctantly bid farewell to Barcelona, as we cruised away from our OneOcean berth and out into the harbour, ready to set sail for new horizons. As gorgeous Barcelona receded gradually from view, I stood on the deck of my megayacht charter, with the wind rustling my hair, and looked out at the sparkling Mediterranean Sea. New adventures lay ahead.
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