Barcelona has since it got a boost from hosting the Olympic Games in 1992 become one of the hottest cultural and nightlife destinations of Europe. It is Spain’s second largest city situated direct on the Mediterranean coast with beautiful beaches to unwind after a long day’s sightseeing. Few big cities owe so much to one person as Barcelona. The modernistic architect Gaudi has left unique footprints all over the city with quirky organic buildings that make you think you are in a fairytale.
1.–La Sagrada Familia
Gauidi’s masterpiece, the enormous cathedral La Sagrada Familia, is Barcelona’s most famous landmark. This expiatory church is a never ending building project which is privately financed. Gaudi worked on the project all his life. After his death 1926, different architects have continued the work according to his original idea. When the church is finished it will have 18 towers: 12 dedicated to the apostles, four to the evangelists, one to Jesus and another to Mary. The art Critic Rainer Zerbst once said “it is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art” and you have to see it yourself to believe it. The highest spire reaches 170 metres above ground. Here you can spend many hours admiring the artwork which tells the life of Jesus and the history of the faith and the architecture with a balanced structure of columns branching out like trees in this radiating high cathedral.
Gaudi himself is burried in the Carmen chapel in the crypt of La Sagrada Família.
Opening hours: October to March, 9.00 to 18.00 h, April to September, 9.00 to 20.00 h
Metro: La Sagrada Familia
Free Ipad and Iphone app La Sagrada Familia
2. La Rambla
Many people start their visit with a walk along Barcelona’s most famous tree lined street La Rambla stretching from Placa Catalunya down to Port Vell at the sea. Running through the middle of Barcelona La Rambla is full of shops, restaurants and street performers. At the northern end you find the massive department-store El Corte Ingles, with seven floors of shopping. One of the classic things to do at the La Rambla is to sit down under the trees and order a jug of Sangria and just soak up the atmosphere.
On commission of Eusebi Güell Gaudi created this park on the hill of El Carmel. The park is a wonder of organic architecture, ornamented in colourful mosaics strongly influenced by natural shapes and creatures. At the top of Guell park is a terraced area where you get a fantastic view of the park and of Barcelona City. In the park you also find a museum, once home to Gaudi himself.
The park is also home to several of the non-native species of parrot and Hummingbird hawk moths.
4. Gothic Quarters
This is the old part of Barcelona with narrow streets and no traffic. Many of the buildings have been here since Roman and medieval times. In this labyrinth of narrow streets and alleyways you will find plenty of small shops & tapas bars and always something unexpected round the next corner. The Barcelona Cathedral, the city Hall and the presidential palace can be found here.
5. Picasso Museum
In this very popular museum you will learn about the world famous artist Picasso’s earlier works, very different to what should be his later cubistic style. The museum houses one of the most extensive collections of his artworks and is housed in five adjoining medieval palaces in the La Ribera district stemming from medieval times.
6.–Harbour Cable Car
The Harbour Cable Car is a stunning and exhilarating way to view Barcelona with an over 1400 metres long aerial tramway connecting Barceloneta harbour and Montjuic. The tramway starts in Barceloneta on the top of the 78 metre tall Torre San Sebastian tower, which also has a restaurant. There is an intermediate stop at Torre Jaume, close to Columbus monument. The final stop of the tramway is Montjuic where you have a beautiful view over Barcelona.
7.–The Magic Fountain of Montjuic
The Magic Fountain of Montjuic built for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, is a light, music and water extravaganza you don’t want to miss. The fountain is located at the head of Avenida Maria Cristina in the Montjuïc neighbourhood.
Barcelona has a couple of beaches to choose from. Barceloneta is the beach closest to the city centre and about 20 minutes walk from La Rambla. The beach is very busy during the summer months. North of Barceloneta you find the Icaria Beach and further north is a beach called Marbella beach which is an unofficial nudist beach.
9. Palau Güell
Another of masterpiece signed Gaudi. This was the palatial city mansion of the industrialist Eusebi Güell and was Antonio Gaudi’s first major building in the city.
10. Parc de la Ciutadella
The 30ha large park serves as a green oasis to the always crowded historic centre of Barcelona. The park has nice wide promenades with colourful flowerbeds and many palm trees. Fountains and sculptures decorate the park with several interesting architectural buildings, museums and a Zoo. The park’s small lake is a popular spot where you can hire a rowing boat.