So you’ve packed the travel documents, beginners guide to Catalan and passport (I hope) and jumped up and down on your suitcase like a gymnast on a trampoline so you can fit everything in.
But once you’re on the ground in Barcelona, what are some of the things you could be doing with your valuable time?
Today Barcelona is one of the most important cultural centres in the world steeped in heritage including the well known Gaudi museum and the architectural works of Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The Catalonian capital also contains a total of around 70 parks with the Ciutadella Park one of the largest. This was erected on the former site of the former military citadel and today houses the Parliament building, zoo and a host of museums.
Visitors can also meander into Plaça Catalunya, considered to be where the old and new city meets. In fact some of Barcelona’s most notorious streets meet at Plaça Catalunya from Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Catalunya to Las Ramblas with its array of little markets and stalls. The Placa is also famous for its fountains and statues representing a range of different avant garde movements including Neo-Classicism.
With its cultural roots going back 2000 years Barcelona plays host to an array of live music and theatre featuring the highly regarded Gran Teatre del Liceu opera theatre, the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya, and the Palau de la Música Catalana concert hall. On the museum front for the more adventurous amongst you, The Erotic museum of Barcelona is well worth a visit (though not for the kiddies) while the Science Museum, Cosmocaixa will also be able to entertain visitors for most of the day.
The Barri Gòtic or “Gothic Quarter” is something to behold. Located in the centre of the old city of Barcelona, there are a wealth of aesthetically beautiful buildings that date right back to the Medieval Period. Some architectural sights to watch out for are particularly the Art Nouveau buildings constructed at the end of the nineteenth century.
And in today’s Barcelona they have certainly made their mark on the landscape of the city with some becoming World Heritage Sites. Antoni Gaudí’s work is truly remarkable and his influence has left a lasting impression on the city featuring his best known work, the Sagrada Família church which is still to be completed after having begun construction in 1882. Other World Heritage Sites in Barcelona include the Palau de la Música Catalana, Palau Güell and Casa Vicens.
So with this entire information overload what exactly are some of the best activities to do while you are away? Fear not as I’ve pulled out below the Top 5 things to do when in Barcelona. Buen Viaje.
1. FC Barcelona
The Nou Camp is home to the Catalan Giants renowned for playing their own style of fantasy football which takes “pass and move” to the next level. A trip to Barcelona would not be complete without taking in a match where you will see the majestic skill of Thierry Henry and new recruit Alex Hleb as well as the individual flair of Argentine sensation Lionel Messi. The best company to purchase tickets with is Spanish Fiestas who have long been established as the Number 1 supplier of official FC Barcelona tickets. Prices range from €60 to around €300 for the best seats in the house.
2. Picasso Museum
With over 3,700 works dedicated to the most famous Spanish artist of the 20th century Pablo Ruiz Picasso, this museum will have you enthralled for many hours. Opened in 1963, the Picasso Museum has fast become one of the most popular places to visit in Barcelona.
Some highlights from his extensive collection include two of his first major works entitled The First Communion (1896), and Science and Charity (1897). The Museu Picasso is a real discovery of the great man from school books and academic pieces to his Blue Period and a vast prints collection which only opened this year. Furthermore his relationship and affection for Barcelona is explored throughout which rounds off a truly unique cultural experience.
3. Parc Guell
Designed by another famed Spanish son Antoni Gaudi, Parc Guell is one of the most aesthetically stunning areas in Barcelona. Constructed between 1900 and 1914, the park benefits from a wealth of unusual architecture with a mosaic tiled dragon that acts as a magnificent fountain on arrival.
There’s also a magnificent terrace at the top of the park with detailed mosaic tiling and a rich palette of colours that incorporates all of Gaudi’s influences. Furthermore once you reach the top you’ll enjoy superb views over the park and the city itself. Park Guell also includes “La Torre Rosa,” a house where Gaudi once resided and has now been converted into an insightful museum including furniture pieces which he designed specifically. Entrance to the Park is free while there’s a small charge to see Gaudí’s house.
4. Sagrada Familia
This iconic Roman Catholic Church is definitely one place of interest to mark in your guides. Designed by Antoni Gaudi who worked constantly on the project for more than 40 years the Sagrada Familia won’t be completed until 2026. (That’s if it is on time.) Rich in Christian symbolism and standing 170m in the air with 18 magnificent towers, the Sagrada Familia is one of the most popular attractions in Barcelona that has so far been seen by over 3 million people.
The church is a tribute to influences from Cubism to Art Nouveau with striking features that will take anyone’s breath away including intricate vaults, front portal sculptures and three grandiose facades depicting various images of Christ.
5. Las Ramblas
A must see on your visit to Barcelona, Las Ramblas is a multitude of experiences in one area. Originating in the 18th century you’ll come across a host of fascinating acts and stalls on the 1.2km street from human statues, fortune tellers and card sharps to puppeteers, dancers and musicians. Some other places to visit that are situated just off Las Ramblas include Mercat de la Boqueria, the city’s most iconic street market dating back to 1217 and the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona’s renowned opera house which opened in 1847.
Photo of Parc Guell, Barcelona originally posted by Wolfgagn Staudt