Barcelona Travel Guide
Barcelona is an attractive cosmopolitan city full of culture, art and loads of museums. The MACBA, the Joan Miró Foundation, or the CCCB are some of its most acclaimed museums. The footprint of modernism in Barcelona is also another of its major tourist attractions. The modernist works of famous architects Antoni Gaudí and Josep Puig are unparalleled, and you will fall in love with their superb art, like the enclosure of the Sant Pau Hospital or the Güell Park. The atmosphere, the unique structures or the bohemian aura are just some of the many amazing things to be explored.
Founded by the Phoenicians and Carthaginians in 500 BC, then occupied by the Romans in the 1st century BC. In the eighteenth century, the cotton trade with the Americas began and it was the beginning of the textile industry. This era played a crucial role in the industrial development of Catalonia during the industrial revolution and subsequent years. After the Civil War (1936-1939), a process of immigration to Barcelona from other parts of Spain started. More recently, the hosting of the 1992 Olympics completely transformed the city, and today, Barcelona is among the most visited tourist destinations in Europe, if not the world.
Things to do in Barcelona
Start your visit in the central Plaza Catalunya and walk Las Ramblas from end to end. Old kiosks, human statues and picturesque florists will accompany you to the most famous market in Barcelona, La Boquería. Mix among its infinite colors before heading to the eerily superb Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. Lose yourself in its narrow ancient streets, passing by the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, until you reach Barceloneta, the old fisherman’s district, where you can just standstill and breathe the bohemian air. You can also travel Barcelona at your own pace aboard the hop on hop off bus, which covers all the tourist attractions of the city. The bus has two floors with the roof uncovered. You can get on and off the bus as many times as you want and it also features audio guides in ten languages with individual headphones.
– La Sagrada Familia: The brainchild of Antonio Gaudi, this impressive and utterly unique basilica has been under construction for more than 100 years.
– The Tibidabo Amusement Park: An ideal destination for the whole family. With a unique view of Barcelona, this amusement park will leave you breathless.
– Las Ramblas street: The most popular walk in Barcelona which runs from Plaza de Catalunya to the statue of Christopher Columbus, in the old port.
– El Born: This charming spot of Barcelona has all the beauty of the Gothic Quarter, with those typical narrow streets and picturesque cafe-covered squares, but it just far enough removed from the mainstream trail to maintain a bit of calm and allure.
– Aquarium of Barcelona: One of its kind in Europe, it features a transparent tunnel about 80 meters long which enables you to enjoy a spectacular walk underwater, as if you were walking along the sea floor, just inches away from sharks and other curious species.
– The Picasso Museum: It houses one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the iconic Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, with more than 4000 works of his exhibited.
– El Raval: Historically infamous for prostitution and crime, El Raval has changed significantly in recent years. Nowadays it’s a vibrant, lively, multicultural and full of personality with a huge array of hip cafes, restaurants and bars.
– Mirador de Colon: Take the lift to the top of the 60 meters high Columbus Monument, which was built in 1888 for the Universal Exhibition, and enjoy a 360 degree view of the city.
– Architectural Masterpieces: You cannot leave the city without visiting the Paseo de Gracia and the architectural jewels like La Pedrera, Casa Batlló or Casa Ametller, all of them essential to understanding the Catalan modernist movement.
– Tibidabo Mountain: A visit to Barcelona is not complete without having a view of the whole city, so climb to the summit of the Tibidabo and enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the Catalan capital.
Barcelona has more than four kilometers of beaches, which aren’t that special to be honest, but some pretty amazing beaches can be found an hour away from the city.
Something you will notice from the onset of your arrival is that Barcelona is a city that never sleeps. The Spaniards dine late, drink late and go out pretty damn late. Barcelona has more bars, discos and clubs per person than any other city in the world. There are plenty of bars where you can gladly soak your throat without having to mortgage your kidney. Just make sure you stay away from the main squares and stick to the back alleys bars.
Barcelona has more than 2,000 years of history to immerse yourself in; its old town streets, Roman ruins, true Gothic treasures and great Renaissance architecture are in every corner of the city. Great legacies that hide infinite secrets, legends and anecdotes, it is quite an experience you do not want to miss.
Recommended places to stay
– Hello BCN Hostel: Located a stone throw away from the center of Barcelona this new roomy yet personal place has plenty of daily/nightly activities to offer, it’s fully equipped with plenty of common areas. A friendly and social feel suitable for guests of all tastes. But most of all, the staff are incredibly friendly and helpful! Make sure to ask about the daily entertainment programs and join the party!
– Saint Christopher’s Inn : Fantastic location in the trendiest and prettiest central area in Barcelona. Great modern interior and facilities, clean rooms, excellent buffet breakfast, a trendy adjacent bar,friendly staff and lovely atmosphere with plenty of activities that ca be arrange at the reception. We would recommend this place for anyone looking for a comfortable stay in the center of BCN!
Recommended Tours & Activities
– Day Tour to Montserrat with Barcelona Guide Bureau: A convenient morning tour with a picturesque drive up the mountain followed by a visit to a 1000 year old monastery. lots of interesting information regarding the site and Barcelona itself, all while enjoying the magnificent views of the mountains and valley and have a taste of artisan cheese and honey that you will find in the stalls along the way.
– Censored Barcelona Alternative Tour with Craft Tours: Travel off the beaten path with this unique and carefully crafted tour and explore El Raval one of Barcelona’s most infamous neighborhoods, historically known for prostitution and crime, El Raval has changed significantly in recent years. Nowadays it’s a vibrant, lively, multicultural and full of personality with a huge array of hip cafes, restaurants and bars.Check out this neighborhood’s graffiti street art, community centers and much more with an outstanding knowledgeable guide.