Barcelona, the capitol city of Catalonia, used the Summer Olympic Games of 1992 as a springboard to become one of Europe’s most-visited cities. Barcelona has plenty to offer visitors with a wide variety of interests such as architecture, food, history, and sports.
The city is large enough to offer plenty of choices, but with a population about half the size of Madrid it is easy to get around and not overwhelming to visitors. Being located on the Mediterranean Sea with a port that is a popular cruise ship destination, Barcelona is a welcoming location for visitors.
Here we will point out some of the best things to do while in Barcelona.
Montjuïic is located near the port of Barcelona and offers a great view overlooking the city and the Mediterranean Sea. Montjuïic is less crowded than some other parts of the city, partly because it is more difficult to get to. Cable cars are available for a scenic and relaxing ride to the top, or if you can walk to the top if you’re feeling energetic (or if, like me, you happen to be there when the cable cars are out of order).
Many of the facilities used for the 1992 Olympic games are located on or near Montjuïic as well. At the top you’ll reach Castell de Montjuïic, a large fortress built in the 17th century. You can walk through parts of the fortress and enjoy a beautiful view from the top.
Wander Through the Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter, or Barri Gòtic, was once the walled city during the Roman Empire and many of the buildings date from Medieval times. It contains many narrow streets the wind throughout. It’s an amazing place to walk around, even if you get a little bit lost by its maze-like layout. The large Cathedral is one of the main attractions, and plenty or restaurants are located nearby.
Visit (and Be Amazed by) Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia is one of the most amazing churches in the world. It was designed by Antoni Gaudí, and construction began in 1882. Gaudí in the 1920’s with construction incomplete, and the work has continued to this day. The project is still not complete but it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One side of the church is done in Gothic style, with the other in Art Nouveau. Even with construction incomplete you can enter the church for a fee. A trip inside is recommended, as it is as amazing inside as it is outside.
Visit Park Güell
Built in the early 1900’s, Park Güell was also designed by Antoni Gaudí. Like Sagrada Familia, it is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Park Güell was originally a housing project, but has since been converted to a municipal Garden.
Walk Down La Rambla
La Rambla, or Las Ramblas, is a pedestrian street popular with locals and tourists. On La Ramble you have plenty of restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and street performers. At the lower end of La Rambla, not far from the port, is the monument to Christopher Columbus.
Visit Fundació Joan Miró (Museum)
Fundació Joan Miró (Joan Miró Foundation) is a modern art museum located on Montjuïic. The museum opened in 1975 and was expanded in 1986.
Enjoy Catalan Cuisine
Barcelona is known for it’s cuisine, and it has a reputation for being some of the best in Spain. For specific recommendations we recommend the following pages:
Browse the Architecture
Barcelona is one of the best cities in the world for those who love architecture. Gaudí is responsible for many of the cities iconic buildings (including Casa Batlló, Palau Guell, and Casa Calvet) but talented architects from all over the world have designed amazing buildings in Barcelona.
Montserrat is a mountain located just outside of Barcelona that offers tremendous views and is home to the monastery Santa Maria de Montserrat. The Santa Maria de Montserrat hosts the Virgin of Montserrat, a statue of the Virgin Mary and an infant Christ.
Go to the Beach
Barcelona Beach has been named the best urban beach in the world by both National Geographic and the Discovery Channel. The city has almost 3 miles of beaches, with some being opened when the city was restructured for the 1992 Olympics.
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