Written by Ash

32 Things to Do in Barcelona Spain (+ Epic Local Tips)


In a city that lives and dies with tourism there’s going to be a lot of scrapping for your money.

From paltry paella propositions in the middle of the street to state sponsored museums that’ll bore you all the way back to the office you’ll need to choose your visits wisely.

So here’s a simmered down list of things to do in Barcelona perfect for city beginners.

Things to Do in Barcelona

Stand in Awe of Sagrada Familia

Just look at any postcard in the city. This is the crown jewel of Catalan wonder architect Antoni Gaudi‘s architectural empire and one of the most spectacular basilicas in the world.

For those tired of traditional churches you’ll be positively refreshed. The church’s arches are modeled after tree branches and the stained glass here creates a rainbow effect you won’t soon forget.

To fully appreciate it make sure you shell out the extra €12.00 and get a guided tour – the details you’ll be shown unlock the madness and brilliance of the place.

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Get Some Fresh Air at Park Guell

A dreamy urban park floating above the city which was once a utopian vision of rich industrialist Eusebi Guell in the early 20th century.

It was originally intended to be 60 luxury homes on the city’s most prime piece of land, far away from the smoke stacks of the city. Only three were built. Today the entrance and its ginger-bread house-like porter’s lodge and emblematic mosaic lizard are a highlight.

Tourists sit on the mosaic benches (remember Vicky Cristina Barcelona?) and take in amazing views.

Park Guell
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Learn the City with a Local

There’s no better way to get your hand on the pulse of the history, the current political situation, and the future of Barcelona than with a 2.5 hour Gothic Quarter tour (video here) with a pro.

That pro is one of the best guides in the business: local Texan Alvaro.

Prepare to be ‘edu-tained‘ with secrets of the old city at La Rambla, Boqueria Market, Barcelona Cathedral, Plaça Sant Felipe Neri, Augustus Temple, the Jewish Quarter, and much more.

You’ll also get an old Picasso haunt, one of Barcelona’s sweetest snack stops, and street art galore.

Update (12/09/2021): due to ongoing COVID limitations and a lack of walk ups each tour will require a minimum of two people to run.

As we cannot run a constant schedule please email ahead of time to with preferred dates and we’ll let you know if a tour can be run.

Hit up a Barrio Festival

When Barcelona looks for fun things to do it usually cuts off the streets from traffic, puts up a stage with live music, and gets the wine and music flowing.

The eccentric European block parties that honour patron saints, long-dead political prisoners, and even local green onions are the closest a tourist can get to real Barcelona.

I’ve got a list in my Barcelona events calendar but the biggest two of the year are La Festa Major de Gracia (in August) and La Mercè (in September).

Revel in a Rooftop Concert at Casa Batllo

How many world class attractions hold a carefully selected concert series for the general public on their spectacular rooftop terrace? Not many.

From June till October the blues, rock, soul, jazz, swing, pop and flamenco shows under the Barcelona night offer arguably the most intimate and aesthetically pleasing venues for music in the entire world.

Basic tickets include a visit to the house and one drink.

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Go for Tapas

Ever been to restaurant and can’t decide what to order? Then Spain is for you.

These small-portioned savory snacks are ordered in the city’s amazing tapas bars in rounds of 5 or 6 and are shared by friends over cañas (a small draft beer).

Patatas bravas (pictured) and pan con tomate (crispy bread rubbed with tomato and garlic) are automatic – but pulpo a la gallega (octopus with potatoes and paprika) and gambas al ajillo (garlic prawns) are where dreams are made.

My current favourite place to take visitors in 2020 are gourmet tapa gods Season – I like it so much that I’ve set up a discounted tasting menu.

Flirt With Flamenco

The most folkloric Spanish art form grabs your attention with its cante (singing), baile (dance), toque (guitar playing), palmas (clapping), jaleo (vocalizations), and pitos (snapping).

A typical flamenco recital mixes passion and tranquility with a festive and resistant mood that can bring audience members to tears. The push/pull dynamics of the performers entice and resist simultaneously.

Barcelona’s top flamenco show is found at the Palacio del Flamenco.

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Have a Vermut

It’s not just a tradition… it’s a lifestyle! This tasty and inexpensive wine is fortified with all sorts of spices and botanicals like cinnamon and chamomile.

One of the great cheap things to do at only €1.50 or so each.

Tradition holds that one must consume (at least) one at la hora del vermú (vermut time, 12 noon) before eating lunch. It’s as sacred as the Spanish siesta so if you’re looking to fit in – drink up!

Don’t be afraid to order this drink (pronounced bear-MOOT) at any time of the day though – just make sure it comes with an anchovy-stuffed olive and a slice of orange.

I go for mine at Tasca El Corral.

Get Lost in the Gothic Quarter

The oldest neighbourhood in Barcelona Spain dates back to the city’s founding as a Roman military camp in 15 BC. You’ll still see some of the original walls as part of the Barcelona Cathedral.

Most of the area is cut off from cars and that means winding roads and tight alleyways opening up into majestic squares like Plaça Reial, Plaça del Pi, Plaça George Orwell, and Plaça de la Seu.

Nowadays it’s a hot spot for some of the city’s best bars.

Check Out Casa Mila

Another surreal mansion right in the heart of some of the best shopping in Barcelona Spain.

This unconventional Antoni Gaudi apartment block built for the city’s richest industrialists is without a straight line and more wobbling jell-o than building. From above it’s actually built in an asymmetrical 8 shape.

It’s also possibly the most spectacular roof terrace you’ll ever see with its 28 guardian warrior chimney stacks that are more Darth Vader than anything else!

Maybe they’ve got a holiday apartment for rent on floor 3, doesn’t hurt to ask 🙂

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Go Full Mediterranean with a Scooter Share

Getting a scooter in Barcelona means freedom.

On weekends there’s nothing better than taking a ride to a sunny hillside or quiet beach where public transport can’t bring the masses.

I like using Yego: the stylish electric Vespas unlocked and started with a swipe of an app. You can be up and running in a matter of minutes and their live support is top notch.

Get 15 minutes free riding signing up using this link and the code UZ4CDYSVYJ.

Put Down Some Paella

This classic rice dish from Spain was invented by servants using the leftovers from royal banquets – and you’ll feel like royalty by the fork full!

Though technically from nearby Valencia (where the rabbit and chicken version reigns supreme) you’ll find the mixed seafood paella to be the go-to for Barcelona paella restaurants.

For couples visiting Barcelona this is a great option as it’s usually served in portions of 2.

Make sure to scrape the soccarat (toasted, scorched rice) off the bottom of the pan – flavour town!

Kick Around Camp Nou

Arguably the most historic football stadium in Europe and home to FC Barcelona.

Visiting the stadium means living the glory through overloaded trophy cases and an interactive museum offering a Mecca-like experience for football fans.

If you take a tour you can even walk onto the field yourself via the players tunnel, seeing 4 Champions League trophies, sitting in the visitor’s dressing room, and Messi’s Ballon d’Ors.

Here in football season? Messi and co. is a must see so get yourself some tickets.

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Take an e-Bike Tour of the City

With all due respect to Amsterdam it’s Barcelona that’s Europe’s most bike-friendly city – with nearly 300 km of bike lanes and the weather to merit every push of the pedal you’re gonna wanna saddle up on holiday.

This 90 minute ride through the city’s tops sights like Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, Las Ramblas, El Born, and La Pedrera unveils the city’s magic in a new light with a friendly, professional, knowledgeable guide.

Each booking includes helmet, insurance, and a bottle of water.

Rides depart daily from Arc de Triomf at 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

90 Minute e-Bike Tour
Let’s ride!

Contemplate Casa Vicens

Any self respecting tourist looking to check off a huge chunk of the top things to do will be seeing the Gaudi trifecta: Sagrada, Batllo, and Mila.

But what if you’re such a big fan of the man that you want to go back to his humble beginnings? The only recently available to the public (as of 2017) summer chalet Casa Vicens will get you there.

With a €14.00 price tag this is probably the cheapest way to experience Gaudi’s genius – and the lush garden, terracotta tiled rooftop, and Turkish and Oriental influenced Noble Floor will make you glad you did.

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Get a Degree in Wine

Anybody can drink the stuff, but how many get educated at the same time? You’ll do that on your way to a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification right here in Barcelona.

You’ll get globally certified on production methods, regional differences, and how to taste wines to separate contenders from pretenders.

The knowledge at Rack & Return and their guru Fintan is amazing.

Just make sure you study for the test!

Walk Las Ramblas

This is easily Barcelona’s most famous street and one of those top places you should visit at least once in your lifetime. Here you’ll find an explosion of bars, street artists, and souvenir shops.

While this is in fact tourist trap central you can cut to the chase by finding Gaudi’s lanterns in the picturesque square Plaça Reial.

In Pla de l’Os you’ll find a brilliant pavement mosaic by Joan Miro – the site of the city’s old gate.

Chow Down at La Boqueria Market

Easily Barcelona’s best market.

The quality of the fruit, meat, and fish here will amaze you and its infectious energy is something to be seen: don’t leave before trying one of their delicious €1.00 smoothies.

Looking for a meal with market fresh ingredients? Grab the fried eggs with baby squid at El Quim de la Boqueria or get adventurous with the garbanzo beans and blood sausage at Bar Pinotxo.

Get Cultured in El Raval

For those looking to truly discover the city you need to see a bit more than just the main attractions and postcard streets – so why not do it in Barcelona’s most unique and diverse neighbourhood?

El Raval offers skateboarders, cheap cocktail bars (along Carrer de Joaquín Costa), epic ethnic food, and modern museums like the CCCB.

Make sure to walk the famous Rambla del Raval to see Botero’s Cat.

See a Magic Fountain Show

If you’re looking for stuff to do in Barcelona without paying this is it. This enchanting fountain and light show uses 3620 water jets and 4760 lights to create over 7 billion combinations.

The show is set to beautifully choreographed music ranging from classic to swing to modern hits. Just make sure you gauge the wind before picking your spot – you might get soaked!

Shows go Thursday to Saturday (Sunday in high season) and you can get all the info on my article on Barcelona’s Magic Fountain Show.

Peep the Picasso Museum

Arguably the most important Picasso museum in the world.

If you’re looking to fill up an afternoon, especially when it rains, you can start with over 4000 permanent pieces of his art. Here it mostly showcases the early years of the world-renown artist when he was based in Barcelona.

Make sure to have a coffee at Els Quatre Gats, one of the top places in Barcelona for modernist artists of the time.

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Admire Casa Batllo

A colourful mosaic mansion whose every last detail down to the doorknobs was designed by Antoni Gaudi. Visiting Barcelona without at least passing by this modernist landmark is criminal.

Here it’s a constant ode to nature with jaw bone balconies, mushroom-shaped smoke vents, and tropical fish based radiators.

The ceramic tile shards on the facade (a style known as trencadis) were taken from broken cups at local factories to create a unique colour play.

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Discover Spain at Poble Espanyol

Here’s what to do in Barcelona if you want to see all of Spain in one afternoon.

Built for the 1929 World’s Fair, this mock Spanish town has 117 full-scale replica buildings representing the architecture of all 15 of Spain’s regions.

Here you can see the emblematic white streets of Andalucia, Pre-Roman Austurias, and all sorts of Castillian classics.

It also has over 20 artisan craft shops for some great jewelery, handbag, and glass shopping.

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Gear Down in Ciutadella Park

Barcelona’s biggest park is a great picnic spot for those looking for an outdoor escape but want a break from the beach.

Here you’ll find a ton of open space, the zoo, and a great artificial lake for rowboat rides.

I also suggest heading up La Cascada (pictured) which is a fountain loosely based on the Trevi Fountain in Rome. From here you’ve got a bird’s eye view of the park’s personality – which also includes a ton of musicians, street artists, and the odd marijuana brownie salesman.

Marvel at MACBA

The modern art museum.

If you want things to see in Barcelona you’ll get it with over 5000 pieces from well known 20th century artists. Check out the mesmerizing photography, sculpture, painting and more.

Discounts can be had by buying the Articket BCN museum discount card.

The Barcelona Cathedral

Another great sight that costs nothing: this fantastic neo-Gothic cathedral is notable for its gargoyles and domestic and mythical animal rooftop. It is dedicated to the co-patron Saint of Barcelona Eulalia, who was martyred by the Romans in 303 AD.

A must see is the cloister that is home a small garden with orange and almond trees, a pond, and 13 geese – one for each year of life lived by Eulalia.

Rides With a View at Tibidabo

Of all the fun things to do in Barcelona this is the only one at the top of a mountain.

Tibidabo offers some incredible views from the Temple of the Sacred Heart of Jesus church – not to mention the super geeky retro amusement park with 100 year old Ferris Wheel that’s the perfect spot to visit with family.

Get up their with the super, almost San Francisco-like Tramvia Blau for extra extra effect.

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Take in a Concert at Palau de la Musica

This modernista music palace with golden-age acoustics is the best place for music lovers to take in some opera, Flamenco, or even a symphony.

The explosion of colour and chandelier centre piece (pictured) are world class.

If you’re interested in seeing a show check out the calendar of events.

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Get Elevated at Turó de la Rovira – “The Bunkers”

The highest point (560 feet) above metro Barcelona was once an anti-aircraft bunker defending the city against Spanish Civil War bombings.

Today it’s a great museum and picnic spot with an insane panoramic view and a great option for budget conscious Barcelona nature lovers. For young adults this is the weekend hangout spot.

It’s now one of the most interesting things to do on lazy Sunday.

Grab bus 22 from Plaça Catalunya and get off at the last stop.

Take a Trip to the Dali Museum

This fantastic museum dedicated to the surrealist genius Salvador Dali actually finds itself 140 km from Barcelona in his hometown of Figueres.

It’s a can’t miss for fans of the man and insanity in general.

Two favourites here are the Spectre of Sex Appeal (1932) and The Basket of Bread (1945).

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Sit and Sip the Squares of Gracia

One of Barcelona’s best neighbourhoods is full of cool décor bars, quirky shops, and street musicians. The bohemian atmosphere makes it the top place for a coffee or beer in squares like Plaça del Sol, Plaça Vila de Gracia, Plaça de la Virreina and Plaça de la Revoluciò.

A great outdoor spot with homemade tapas is Sol Soler.

The vibes here are as local as it gets and it’s one of the great things to do on Sunday.


Nature offers a great escape from the urban hustle at 1236 meters: the highest point in the Catalan Lowlands. Here you get the most breathtaking jagged mountains around.

Some highlights are the Benedictine monastery and its Black Madonna statue, while the less religiously-inclined usually head to the Sant Jeroni lookout.

If you’re not up for the mountains there are a ton of other Barcelona day trip options.

Make sure to check out my article dedicated to Montserrat for more visiting info.

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Get at Me in the Comments Below

If my list of things to see in Barcelona Spain just wasn’t enough then tell me – what exactly are you looking for?

Any questions about your Barcelona holiday will be answered in the comments – in the meantime let me know what worked for you and what didn’t so we can get this list as fine-tuned as possible.

Also don’t be afraid to join the Barcelona attractions discussion by first giving me a like on Facebook and then joining my group I’m Off to Barcelona – here you can ask any questions, air out grievances, and chat with thousands of Barcelona travelers.

Anything goes!

Gracias 🙂

  • June 29, 2021 at 4:25 am
    Hello! Thank you for the wealth of knowledge your page provides! My family and I will be going to Barcelona in August 2021. My boyfriend enjoys the outdoors, wondering if you could recommend any hiking or nature sight-seeing places we could go to in between our days of drinking, eating, dancing, and visiting museums! Thank you!
    • June 29, 2021 at 9:19 am
      Team Member
      Hi Lauren, Thanks so much for writing in and your kind words :) There are a few options here that I would recommend... if you're feeling low on energy due to all the drinking, eating, and dancing I'd just walk up Montjuic and check out the botanical gardens along the way. At the end you're rewarded with an amazing view of the city and can even take the Port Teleferic back down. The second option which is a bit more of a hike, but with an even better view reward would be hiking up to Tibidabo, which is the highest mountain in the city, home to a cool retro amusement park, and a panorama that's impossible to beat! Simply get off the metro at Penitents Station and get on the Camino de las Aguas trail. Cheers,
  • January 9, 2021 at 12:13 pm
    Moved to Barcelona in August with my family and can't wait to explore this amazing list!! Thank you for making this website, its so easy to follow! Really enjoy your hacks of this beautiful city! Happy once everything is opened again! cheers
    • January 11, 2021 at 6:15 pm
      Team Member
      Thank you so much Alyse! I really hope everything opens again soon, this site is getting pretty lonely :( Haha. Best of luck!
  • September 18, 2020 at 8:02 am
    I live in Barcelona and sometimes I forget all the beautiful places and plans to do in this city! I loved the suggestions you made, I will use them myself to make some plans :) Thanks!
    • September 18, 2020 at 8:09 pm
      Team Member
      Great to hear! Please let me know how the plans turn out :) Cheers, Ash
  • February 15, 2020 at 11:53 am
    Hey, I was wondering if you had any recommendations for what to do in Gracia for 1 whole day, from day to night please? :) Love your site btw I'm so so so happy I stumbled upon it!
    • February 15, 2020 at 8:51 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Mia, For one whole day it's a bit complicated but I've put together a post on Gracia which details the most important sights. I would go see Casa Vicens, spend my afternoon drinking in the sun in Plaça del Sol, have vermut at Vermuteria del Tano, and head up to Park Guell (it's not Gracia but basically!). Cheers, Ash
  • February 2, 2020 at 8:26 pm
    Hey dude great list thanks. Any info you can share about pickpockets would be highly appreciated. I keep reading stuff on the topic but I feel like there is a lot of incorrect information out there based off peoples bias and experience. Id appreciate your input! Tx
  • January 23, 2020 at 10:55 pm
    thanks very much for all this info ! im french traveler and i love your content
    • January 24, 2020 at 5:35 pm
      Team Member
      You're very welcome :)
  • August 11, 2019 at 9:36 am
    Helen Cross
    Dear Ash Your website is excellent. We are currently in Barcelona but plan to come back in slightly cooler weather to see more of the city. I wanted to thank you for your recommendations of the Season Restaurant and the B Burger one. They were great! Off to Barcoleneta today and the Magic Fountain tonight. Best wishes Helen
    • August 11, 2019 at 2:09 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Helen, That is great to hear! Always so happy to hear about the experiences of my readers... always talk to them before but never after or during! Fantastic :) When you come back in cooler weather do be in touch if you need anything! Ash
  • July 11, 2019 at 2:33 pm
    Hello Ash, Thank you for this informative site! We will be visiting next week and wanted to go to the Magic Nights at the Casa Batllo, but wondered if it is appropriate for children (ages 7 and 9) who are accustomed to attending concerts? With the drink being included in the price I wonder if this is an event more geared towards adults. Thanks in advance for any information you can offer.
    • July 12, 2019 at 2:24 pm
      Team Member
      Hi Cara, Thanks so much for the very kind words, I am happy to help :) This question comes up often and I always find it hard to answer since I don't have kids... yet when you tell me they're accustomed to attending concerts, combined with the fact that it's 'only' an hour and should play well even with kids of a limited attention span... I think it's a fine option. The drink included is obviously a 'sweetener' for adults looking to have a couple drinks but by no means can this not be switched out for soft drinks for your kids. I have seen kids there around those ages and it didn't seem strange. Sure, it's geared towards adults by nature but by no means can kids not enjoy it. The best part is your 7 year old will get in free :) Cheers, Ash
  • July 1, 2019 at 11:47 pm
    Love this site, and wish I’d seen it sooner than now, as our travel plans are right around the corner!! My husband, our 20 yo daughter, and I will travel via train from Madrid to Barcelona, arriving about noon July 27 (Sat), staying at the Continental Barcelona (a couple of blocks off Las Rambles) two nights. We will also have all day Sunday, July 28, with our flight out of Barcelona at 8 am Monday, July 29th. Places we don’t want to miss are: Las Ramblas Sagrada Familia Casa Ma Park Guell Picasso Museum Magic Fountain Questions are the best way to get to each of these sites, most efficiently, and transportation to the sites. I assume getting tickets to all ahead of time would be best, but not sure if the Barcelona City Pass would be worth it? Or a different “pass”? Also, would a 2 day Barcelona Hola card would be best for us, or some other mode of transportation card, or simply paying as we go? Since we arrive by train I don’t know if that changes things. I know our trip is coming up quickly, so thanks for any guidance! Best :)
    • July 2, 2019 at 12:45 pm
      Team Member
      Hola Lori, Thanks for the kind words on the site! Always glad to help :) Let's see, my gut instinct is that you're super super central, probably impossible to be any more central... and you'll be doing a lot of walking so perhaps the Hola isn't as needed as other people. I would just grab the T-10 pass (at any metro station) that gives you 10 trips and then get another when you use it up. Pay as you go is probably the best... just make sure you don't get individual tickets as you'll be paying double. To get to the following attractions from your hotel I'd say this: Las Ramblas: 2 minutes walking Sagrada Familia: walk up to Passeig de Gracia metro and take the purple line a few stops (20 min) Casa Mila: 10 minutes walking up Passeig de Gracia Park Guell: Bus 24 from Plaça Catalunya will get you right to the gates in 35 min Picasso Museum: 15 minutes walking Magic Fountain: red line of metro from Plaça Catalunya to Espanya, then a 10 minute walk (25 min total) At any rate... about the passes since you're not doing many museums and you're also not (or are you?) interested in the Bus Turistic I would say you won't be able to make up the value so I'd recommend simply buying all your tickets individually. Please do make sure to book them advance online though as in high season you may run the risk of being shut out. It has already happened to some readers and I feel helpless as I can't suggest alternatives! I've just launched my own web shop which connects into the ticket database of Clorian (Barcelona Turisme) and allows my readers to book attractions at the lowest prices possible while giving me a small commission to cover server costs and the time I put in (which is up to 4-5 hours a day now, wow!)... so if you could reserve via my shop it would be appreciated though certainly not expected :) Please let me know if you have any more questions! Cheers, Ash
  • June 9, 2019 at 6:01 pm
    Pierre Carbonnel
    Hello, I am Raphael and I am part of the Via Vespa team, most likely the best company of Vespa rentals in Barcelona. Our goal is to let our clients enjoy Barcelona like we do day-to-day, to give them the best experience of feeling the air on their skin and to have them discover the freedom and style which moving around an iconic Vespa gives you. Not for nothing, Barcelona is the city with most motorcycles in Europe, and Vespa is the most iconic brand of scooters on the planet. Our concept catches the eye as soon as you enter the store. Its design and location are authentic and unique in the whole world. The high satisfaction score we receive from our clients speaks for itself. You can consult Tripadvisor (5 stars) and Google (4.7) We have authentic 50, 125 and 300 cc Vespa scooters, as well as electric bikes and scooters. We offer hourly, daily or weekly rentals and guided tours. We are reaching out to you because we like your style and what you do in Barcelona Hacks. We believe our styles are very compatible and we can have a win-win cooperation. We would like to invite you so that you can get to know us, try the experience of moving around Barcelona on our Vespa and then mention us in your blog, web page or Instagram. It can be a separate, exclusive post, or just a simple mention within a post about Barcelona. When one of your followers clicks the link it will generate a code, which identifies your web page as the origin of the click, even if the follower does not instantly make a reservation, and reserves a ride days or weeks later. The affiliation program generates a code for each link that lets us track each reservation generated through your link. We offer you a commission of 7% for each reservation made. I am attaching our info sheet. If you need more information, do not hesitate to contact us. We would like to cooperate with you, have a lovely day! Pierre Via Vespa
    • June 10, 2019 at 10:18 am
      Team Member
      Hi Pierre, Can you send me an email? I would rather discuss this in private ;) Cheers, Ash
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