Barcelona at sunset | Photo by Anuphan Sukhapinda
Barcelona at sunset | Photo by Anuphan Sukhapinda

European Getaways: Artsy Cities

by Mary Del Rosario
Stripes Europe

Sculptures to marvel at, museums to get lost in and street art found in the most unique places are elements that give cities a certain artistic flair. Whether your heart is after touring museums and examining paintings or discovering the hidden talents of street performers — plan a getaway that will call out the expressive side in you and visit these cities filled with creativity, culture and an aesthetically pleasing atmosphere.

Barcelona

The ever-creative Spanish minds make Barcelona the ideal city to channel the inner artist in you. Stroll along the Passeig de Gràcia and you’ll be amazed at how innovative the Spanish are with their quirky-themed stores — from the front displays to the items themselves. While at this shopping haven, be sure to pay attention to Casa Milá and Casa Batlló, iconic buildings built by the beloved architect, Antoni Gaudí, who plays an important role in Barcelona culture. The prominent Sagrada Familia, also built by Gaudí, is a site that will have you feeling awestruck and truly shows what his brilliant mind was capable of. Park Güell, an enchanting park blanketed in a colorful mosaic garden, is also a masterpiece not to miss.

For the inquisitive minds who love wandering museums, put the Joan Miró Foundation, Picasso Museum, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art and Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya on your list. If you’re into the food scene, Barcelona is hard to compete with as they have amazing gastronomic experiences. Trendy restaurants include Dos Palillos — an innovative mix between Spanish and Asian tapas, Nectari — a contemporary, hip restaurant and Cinc Sentits — an ingenious restaurant that injects oaky smoke in their sweet potato dishes!   


Street art outside a Berlin building | Phot by Matyas Rehak 

Berlin

In this city full of diverse walks of life, Berlin is nothing short of a mecca filled with rich culture and history. With the falling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 also came down East Berlin’s sheltered society. Now people are able to express themselves freely, which can be seen throughout the city today. Berlin’s underground scene is largely present and holds interesting experiences such as dancing at the underground techno clubs and witnessing graffiti artists work their magic!  

Berlin is also home to up and coming artists who like to push the envelope when it comes to creativity. To see modern art at its finest, be sure to visit the Hamburger Train Station that’s been converted into an art museum. Other museums to not miss include the Pergamon Museum, Monster Kabinett and Design Panoptikum.    

However, if you’d like for your taste buds to experience art as well, be sure to make reservations at Cookies Cream — a meat-free, speakeasy type of restaurant. Shortly after, satisfy your sweet tooth at Coda Dessert Bar — a dessert-only restaurant where sweets are paired with drinks.


Modern architecture in London | Photo by sborisov

London

To art and musical lovers, London is a city they’ll never want to be away from. For the modern art enthusiasts, take a look inside Tate Modern which is comprised of four art museums ranging from international to contemporary art. For those who enjoy musicals, be sure to head to the West End in order to sing along to the many Broadway shows. From “The Lion King” to the “Book of Mormon,” London’s broadway shows cater to every audience. Since art and literature go hand in hand, perusing through the many bookshops is a must. Daunt Books and Foyles are among the most popular stores for bookworms.

If you’re a fan of architecture, pay attention to prominent skyscrapers such as The Gherkin, The Shard, 20 Fenchurch Street and The Leadenhall Building. These infrastructures may have whimsical names, but they are architectural highlights known for their unique shapes.

Aside from fascinating buildings, be in touch with your inner Banksy and check out Doodle Bar, a bar with a large wall made for scribbling. Sketch — an all pink, gallery restaurant with walls covered in comical drawings — should also not be overlooked.

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