Barcelona is one of Europe’s premier tourist destinations but don’t let the over touristy appeal put you off. This great city has been transformed from a small port during the days of the Roman Empire to an amazing city with fanciful architecture, stunning beaches, great markets, amazing sports facilities and unique bars and cafés. Barcelona is also home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, In this brief guide, you will discover some of the most exciting places to visit in this great Catalonian city. I based myself in the Hostal Barcelona near the Paral.lel metro station and toured the city from there. However my cousin Paul lives in Barcelona with his wife Nuria, so I was able to stay at their place for a few nights as well and catch up on lost time (posts to come).
Park Guell is now one of the most attractive public parks in Europe. It is located on a small hill just past the Gracia district. It was designed and built by the renowned Spanish architect, Antoni Gaudi at the beginning of the 20th century. Originally, Eusebi Guell commissioned the project to create a luxurious housing estate for the elite class of Barcelona. At this great park, with complex architectural designs and a very beautiful garden, you can see a unique view of the Mediterranean Sea.
The Camp Nou Stadium is the home base of FC Barcelona. Its original construction was completed in 1957. After several renovations and re-constructions, it stands as the largest football arena in Europe with the capacity for over 98,000 spectators.
Located about 5 km for the main city centre, this sports edifice is the pride of Barcelona. For the Catalans, FC Barcelona is more than a successful football club. It’s the pride of the Catalonian nation. If you plan to visit Barcelona soon, you can get your tickets for FC Barcelona games online. Even if you are not a football fan, you should visit Camp Nou. The entire sports complex portrays the great culture of this city with its exceptional architecture and the massive crowd of crazy spectators.
In addition, you can visit the Olympic Park Montjuic where the 1992 Olympic Games took place. All the facilities in this massive sports complex are still available for you to see. Apart from the giant sized Olympic Stadium, you can also visit the Swimming Complex with many swimming pools built side by side. The Olympic Spire and other landscaped walkways are also very impressive.
La Rambla and La Boqueria are two of the most visited markets, they are popular with both tourists and locals. La Rambla is a pedestrian mall lined with trees and it stretches for 1.2 km. It connects Placa de Catalunya to the Monument of Christopher Columbus at Port Vell. Right in the centre of the street, you will see La Boqueria, a big public market which is also one of the city’s tourist landmarks
The Encants Market in Barcelona is one of the oldest in Europe. Established in the fourteenth century, Encant Vells is an perfect example of the commercial dynamism in this city. At the Encants market, you can buy almost anything you can think off, either new or used. That is why it has become the largest flea market in Barcelona.
Barceloneta beach’s proximity to the city centre makes it easy to access by both tourists and locals who love to visit after work. It takes just about 20 minutes to drive to Barceloneta from the hub of the city. This beach extends from Hotel Vela on the harbour to Hotel Arts at Puerto Olimpico. Cyclists, joggers and inliners love the fine sands of Barceloneta.
5. Architecture: Gaudi
Casa Milla is considered to be most beautiful building ever designed by Antoni Gaudi. It was constructed in 1912 on Barcelona’s most expensive boulevard, the Passeig de Gracia. Architect Gaudi designed for Pere Milla and Rosario Segimon. Casa Milla which is also known as Casa Battlo is inspired by marine life with an aquatic blue theme and shapes of aquatic creatures used to adorn the building. The building is now one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Don’t miss La Sagrada Familia either!
6. Food: Tapas
The food Tapas Bars of Barcelona are simply incredible. Something for a future edition of my Friday’s Featured Food for sure, but I loved doing tours of the many Tapas bars in and around my cousin Paul’s neighbourhood.