Mark Cloostermans Meet the author Barcelona

Mark Cloostermans, the author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Barcelona
Mark Cloostermans, the author of The 500 Hidden Secrets of Barcelona

When Belgium-born journalist Mark Cloostermans visited Barcelona for the first time, back in September 2008, he instantly fell in love with the city’s vibe and colours. He settled there in 2010 and today he lives and works in his favourite place on earth.

"I love how everything in this vibrant city takes place against this backdrop of architectural beauty."

What Mark loves most about Barcelona:

"Most definitely the architecture. Catalonia enjoyed an economic boom in the late 19th century and instead of throwing their money away on botox and jewellery, the good citizens of Barcelona left us several magnificent buildings. Everyone knows the Gaudí heritage, but architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner (Palau de la Música, Hospital de Sant Pau...) should be on everyone’s list as well. Barcelona is a vibrant city, with lots of young people, interesting start-ups and plenty of festivals, and it all takes place against this backdrop of architectural beauty."

Mark's perfect day in the city might look like this:

"I'd start the day with coffee and a freshly made sandwich at El Casal, the friendliest bar in the Born district. Pass the Santa Maria del Mar cathedral on your way to the beach (about 15 minutes) and admire El Peix, the whale-like artwork by Frank Gehry.

After a refreshing walk along the shore you can return to city life by diving into the El Gòtic district. This is one of Barcelona’s oldest neighbourhoods. It’s labyrinthine and you are likely to get lost here – but that’s fine, there is so much atmosphere to enjoy. At some point, use your phone to direct you to Bar Zim. This wine bar is tiny, but they have a terrace, just around the corner. Enjoy a good glass of wine and perhaps a peton (Catalan for ‘kiss’), a small cheese and marmalade tapa.

A brief walk will take you to MACBA or CCCB, two great museums for contemporary culture: MACBA specializes in modern art, CCCB in thematic exhibitions about science, society and design.

And because this is 'a perfect day' and we’re not thinking about tomorrow’s Visa bill, we really have to end the day at Disfrutar. Make your reservations at least a month beforehand and you’ll enjoy the most imaginative, possibly most tasty food in town."