A while ago, I have been on a pre-VMworld trip to Barcelona to enjoy the greatness of the city. Barcelona is one of my most favourite cities in the world and as VMworld is again taking place in the Fira Gran Via conference center, I thought it was a good idea to share some of my experiences to get you guys prepared for all the awesomeness that VMworld in Barcelona has to offer.
The number one goal for most attendees of VMworld is to gain knowledge. Within a couple of weeks, the catalog of sessions will be online and after you have registered, a complete schedule can be filled with all that VMworld has to offer. I will post some more around this at a later stage. As most of you that will visit Barcelona are probably preparing for your trip, this post is dedicated to that part (preparation and what to do besides attending the venue).
Barcelona has a lot to offer, so adding some additional days to your visit might be a good idea. Especially since VMworld is in November, the weather in Barcelona can be awesome (comparing to other countries in Europe during autumn) with temperatures varying between 18 degrees and 24 degrees celsius.
You have many choices on where to stay in a hotel. Your obvious ones are near the Fira Gran Via conference center or stay in the city center. My advice would be to stay in city center as a lot of things are happening outside of the venue. Most parties are located either in the city center or at the Barcelonetta beach. If you are looking for a hotel, my suggestion would be to find a hotel near the Placa de Catalunya in El Raval or the Gothic Quarter. You can find a lot of reasonable-priced hotels in those two parts of the city.
At the VMworld conference, you can get a free metro ticket that you could use all week to travel to the Fira Gran Via conference center and back to wherever you stay in the city. Taxi cabs are also available in great numbers. Be sure to take the address with you of your destination as many of the drivers don’t really speak English. But with a smile and google maps, they will bring you everywhere.
Spanish food and catalan food are great. There are 3 main signature dishes that you might want to try out: tapas, pintxos and paella. The first two are small portions of food that you want to share amongst your table. Patatas Bravas (baked potatoes with garlic mayonaise and tomato sauce), a ham platter with different kind of spanish hams (like serano ham and iberico ham) and manchego cheese are my personal favourites. Paella is another great dish from Spain. It’s a rice dish with several kinds of seafood baked into the rice. Really delicious with a glass of white wine.
Barcelona is situated on the east coast of Spain and has an enormous beach that is a must-do if the weather permits it. Along the beach line from the W-Hotel on one side and the beach clubs Choco and Opium on the other side is the Barcelonetta beach with a huge boulevard that contains all kinds of little beach bars with laid-back people and nice drinks and tapas. Although it doesn’t have a sunset at the seaside, it still is really great to have a drink at night and enjoy the Catalan beach life.
Barcelona has a great nightlife. Especially during VMworld. Like many vendors, partners and community people are arranging all sorts of events outside of the VMworld conference, it is almost hard to not attend any of these events. Some great parties in the past were the vRockstar Pre-VMworld party (located in the Hardrock Cafe on Placa Catalunya, follow Marco Broeken for more info) Tintri party in the cable car station (located near the Barcelonetta beach and W Hotel), the VMware Benelux party (located in the Barcelona Nautic Center, with great drinks and food). And there are many, many more gatherings to choose from. As soon as an agenda with gatherings is online, I will broadcast it through my social channels.
If you are in Barcelona, make sure to check out some of the city’s most famous artworks and architecture. One of the most famous Catalan people was Anthony Gaudi. He was a brilliant architect who designed some of the most beautiful buildings and artworks. Make sure to visit Casa Batllo, Parque Guell and of course the Sagrada Familia. Three of his most famous works. If you would like to enter the Casa Batllo or paid section of Parque Guell, make sure to book a day before you would like to enter and select a time slot.
I hope that this post will help you prepare. If you have any questions, let me know.
Hope to see you guys in Barcelona!