Written by Romain on Sunday, 16 of October 2011 at 15:46
A promise made is a promise kept. After a short clip of Port Vell last week, here is my vision of Barcelona through photographs and an extended video. Barcelona is a successful mix of people who like to go out until late at night. Indeed, in Barcelona, one goes to bed really late (or not at all).
There are many reasons why Barcelona is a city where I could probably live: its admired combination of sea and mountains (which are not that far); its incredible architectural and cultural wealth (Gaudi’s masterpieces make the city look like a real museum); its nice climate and many more reasons.
But concretely, what can you do in Barcelona ?
First, make sure to buy a cheap flight. There are many low cost airlines that offer cheap flights to Catalonia. Then, follow the guide…
Enjoy the architecture of this breath-taking basilica, one of Gaudi’s world-known masterpieces (the basilica remains unfinished and is to be completed by 2026). Despite the crowds (2.7 million visitors in 2008, so do not hesitate to visit it early in the morning), one cannot skip the “Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family”. The view from the top is well worth waiting a bit more.
Included on the UNESCO World Heritage List (like the Sagrada Familia which was included in 2005), the Park Guëll was supposed to be a town but was in the end left as a park (except for two houses). Also initiated by Gaudi, this park is a real psychedelic experience that one has to live given the uniqueness of all its components. If you have a book at hand, you now know where to read it !
The Barceloneta is a nice neighborhood near the beach and the port. This old district of fishermen and sailors has a charming Mediterranean touch. I strongly recommend you to look for a hostel located near that district, for it is an authentic place and it has a good location.
The Mercat de la Boqueria - another feature of Barcelona’s diversity – offers lots of products from all over the world. And not just any kind: the mercat offers the highest quality in terms of products according to its director who I had the chance to meet. One can eat a bit of everything and is impressed by the size of the covered structure. Nice wines, cheeses, fruits and vegetables as well as meat and fish: you can find absolutely everything in this market located in the middle of La Rambla, in a side street.
Located on the Montjuïc hill, it is a real open-air museum built for the 1920s Universal Exhibition. The idea was to put together the main features of the Spanish peoples (at least the 15 existing autonomous communities) in a unique environment. Around 4 hectares of pure change of scenery not to be missed.
It is the origin of Barcelona’s medieval town. Buildings are old, with faded colors. If you take a walk, maybe you will recapture the spirit of Pablo Picasso who spent 10 years there in the beginning of the 20th century. It is the perfect place to have a drink at the end of the day (unless you choose the following option).
This nice square located near La Rambla is a symbolic place filled with locals and tourists. Of course, it is not the cheapest place to have a drink – due to the tourist crowds – but it is a nice compromise to enjoy the atmosphere of this nice square before going further in the night.
Who never walked on this symbolic street has never been to Barcelona ! It is indeed a huge avenue which links the big Plaça de Catalunya to the Plaça de Colon (where is located the majestic statue of Christopher Columbus). La Rambla features lots of stores of different kinds and is always crowed (it is impressive to see the crowd, even at 4:00am).
One of the places one can stroll along without ever getting bored (beware of the many thieves of the area who are extremely efficient)…
…and preferably at sunset ! Rather than justifying this choice, I let you appreciate this activity by yourself.
In other words, there are lots of things to do in Barcelona. Therefore, do not hesitate to take 4 to 5 days off to see the highlights of the city.
And if you are not completely convinced, you can have a look at the french movie L’Auberge Espagnole (released in some countries as Pot Luck or The Spanish Apartment) just after seeing mine which I offer you today…
Barcelona…T’estimo (*) !
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(*) Barcelona I love you in Catalan.
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Classified into: Spain
Comment by Michele
Commented on Tuesday, 26 of June 2012, at 16:55
Great post! You are my man for Barcelona, and I’m sure I will be useful for Rome as I lived there. See you on the cruise! A bientot.