Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, offers everything you could dream of for a city weekend: sunny and warm, narrow and stonecobbled charming streets, nice restaurants and great food, shops, parks, avenues and lots and lots of sightseeing spots! Besides having its own architect that has left landmarks all over town - Gaudí - this amazing city even has a beach!
Barcelona has three major parts that are well worth visiting: Eixample with avenues and chic 1880s houses. The old town with Barrio gotico, the gotic quartiers, with narrow stonecobbled streets and the avenue La Rambla. Finally the area of Montjuic built on a hill.
Barrio Gotico is the old city of Barcelona with many buildings from the 14 th century. In this area you find the beautiful Parc de la Ciutadella, the old cathedral, the avenue La Rambla, Placa Real, the market hall Mercat de Sant Joseph and Museo Picasso. At the Museo Picasso you find 3000 of his totally 70000 paintings. Among them presented are Las Meninas inspired by the famous Spanish painter Velasquezs.
Eiample is just north of Placa de Catalunya where La Rambla ends. In this area you find Casa Batlló, Casa Mila and La Sagrada Familia, all by Barcelona´s architect Antonio Gaudí (1852-1926). In this area you also find Casa Terrades.
Casa Batlló and Casa Mila were made for living. Get stunned by the outerior of the houses and do go inside and be inspired by the organic forms and fantasy-like decorations. At Casa Battló you can also visit the roof with all its chimneys in different shapes.
If you are impressed by the outside of amazing cathedral La Sagrada Familia that is nothing compared to the inside. Do go inside! Admire the tree like pillars and take the elevator up in one of the towers. From above you have a wide view of the city of Barcelona and expect an exciting walk down the stairs. Gaudí did not leave anything at random.
In this area you find the museum Fundació Joan Miró (1893-1983), the Spanish painter and sculptor, Placa dÉspanya with its fountains, Castell de Montjuic and the Olympic stadio from the olympic games in 1936 and 1992.
Outside the city center you find Gaudís park - Parque Guell. Gaudí was hired to design houses on a hill above Barcelona but only two houses were built and you can see them from the park. The park is initself a lovely place. Unfortunately it is nowadays crowded not only with tourists but also with pickpocketers.
To get there the easiest way is by bus from Placa de Catalunya. It is probably to far to walk for most people.
If you have more days it is well worth it to go to Monestir de Montserrat outside Barcelona. Thereare bus tours there everyday and it is a full day excursion. Besides visiting the monasterio you will also see more of the beautiful surroundings of Barcelona. The monasterio is situated just by a very special mountain ridge - the serrated mountain.
Where to stay?
You can choose to stay by the beach if you want some beach life while in Barcelona. It is a bit far to walk into the city center but possible. Another option is staying close to Placa de Catalunya, then you are within walking distance to most places.
We rented an apartment just by Corte Inglés at Placa de Catalunya and it was perfect.
Learn more about Spanish history and culture
Some of my favourite books are by Spanish authors. Shadow of the wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and La catedral del Mar by Ildefonso Falcones are two totally amazing books that take place in Barcelona.
What I like so much about these books is that they in such an elegant way increases your knowledge about the history of Spain and that you at the same time learn about the Spanish culture with all its influences from other parts of the world.
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