What to do in Barcelona within walking distance of Mobile World Congress 2018
There’s plenty to do and see at Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2018. As the world’s largest mobile technology conference, the event will feature presentations from top industry leaders, networking opportunities with mobile innovators from all over the globe, new product launches people will be talking about for the next year and emerging technologies people will be talking about for the next decade.
That said, while you’re in Spain, it would be nice to actually see Spain. Wondering what to do in Barcelona that will fit into your already packed itinerary? Consider visiting these local attractions, all of which are within walking distance or a short metro ride.
Within walking distance
Most MWC events take place at the Fira Gran Via, a state-of-the-art convention center located in L’Hospitalet de Llobregat, which is a southwestern suburb of Barcelona. To see the area’s major attractions, you’ll need to free up several hours and hitch a ride into the city. If you’re short on time, try these local hot spots you can reach on foot:
You don’t need to go far for great food. Not only does the convention center have 45 restaurants, but there are dozens of noteworthy eateries close by. You’ll need a reservation for many of them, particularly the award-winning Nuclo, which puts an international spin on classic Spanish cuisine. For more traditional fare, try family-owned Casa Varela or Granja Elena. Want to hobnob with the locals over tapas? Check out Restaurante Maxi.
The Gran Via 2, a massive mall located just down the road from the Fira Gran Via, features more than 180 stores, 24 cafes and a 15-screen movie theater. If you’d rather spend some time outdoors and are up for a stroll, venture over to the shop-lined Carrer de Santa Eulàlia, or visit the covered Mercat de Santa Eulàlia for handmade clothing and crafts, flowers and fresh foods.
If you like contemporary art, check out the Nogueras Blanchard gallery. The owners, who also founded other well-known galleries in Barcelona and Madrid, feature avant-garde works alongside pieces from up-and-coming artists. Plus, you can check out exhibitions at the local art school, Centre d’Art Tecla Sala.
Feel like surrounding yourself with nature after all that tech talk? L’Hospitalet de Llobregat has several parks. The best one in walking distance, Parc de l’Alhambra, features a large shrubbery maze.
Within a half-hour ride
If you have a few free hours, venture into Barcelona for even more sightseeing and shopping. The city is known for its convenient public transportation system. You can purchase a single-trip ticket for the bus or metro for €2.20, or get a Hola BCN! transport pass, which grants you unlimited journeys for 48, 72, 96 or 120 hours, ranging in price from €15 to €35.
Some MWC events will be held in Barcelona at the Fira Montjuïc convention center. If you’re attending one of those, it might be easier to do your sightseeing from there. Here’s where you can get in 30 minutes or less by taking public transportation from the Fira Gran Via:
Built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Expo, the Magic Fountain is best known for its music and light shows. Approximately 2,600 liters of water per second flow through three concentric pools, and the fountain can produce up to 7 billion light and water combinations. This Barcelona landmark is about a 20-minute ride from the Fira Gran Via, but just a short walk away from the Fira Montjuïc.
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Also a short walk from the Fira Montjuïc, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) has a large and versatile collection of international art. You’ll experience one of the world’s premier collections of Romanesque mural paintings and works by famous artists from the Renaissance, the Baroque period and Catalan Modernism. You can also see traveling exhibitions, such as “William Morris and the Arts & Crafts in Great Britain.”
It takes about 30 minutes to reach the Raval by metro, but there’s plenty to do when you get there. Once a “seedy” neighborhood that inspired (and housed) many Spanish literary figures, it’s now a thriving business community with a wide assortment of shops and eateries. It’s also a creative hub that is home to the city’s contemporary culture center, contemporary art museum, library and arthouse cinema.
Museu del Futbol Club
Soccer fans come from all over the world to have the Camp Nou Experience, a self-guided tour through the museum followed by a guided tour of one of the world’s largest stadiums, which holds nearly 100,000 people. The trip will take at least half an hour, and the full tour takes a little over two hours, but you can explore at your leisure.
Concerts and tours
If you’re wondering what to do in Barcelona but you’re looking for more organized entertainment options, MWC recommends several live events and city tours. For example, you can get discounted tickets to a Three Tenors-inspired concert, classic Spanish guitar performances, a tour of the city’s Gothic history from the rooftop of the Santa Maria del Mar, or a nighttime tour of the Gothic Quarter.
Attending MWC is a great excuse to visit Barcelona, but don’t get too caught up in your sightseeing. To get a look at the future of mobile technology, you’ll have to go back into the convention center. Either way, it’s sure to be exciting.