Barcelona is one of Spain’s most diverse, cosmopolitan cities, with more to see and do than a short blog post (or even a week-long visit!) could get to. Whether your idea of a good vacation is sightseeing from dawn to dusk or lounging in the sun all day and dancing all night, Barcelona has everything you need – and more. One thing is for sure: you won’t want to leave your hotel in Barcelona once you’re done.
The key to seeing Barcelona’s main sites is to head from your Barcelona accommodation to La Rambla, the tree-lined boulevard that stretches from the seaside to the Plaça de Catalunya. You’ll pass by the Mercat de la Boqueria, a photogenic market with delicious food on offer and the Plaça Reial, a pretty plaza with palm trees standing alongside trendy cafés. Just a little way off of the Rambla, you’ll find the Gothic Quarter, called Barri Gòtic, with its gargoyle-festooned cathedral, the Barcelona History Museum and the Picasso Museum, a conglomeration of five historic mansions that host over 3,500 works from the painter’s oeuvre.
On the other side of the Rambla is El Raval, which has become a trendy, bohemian neighbourhood. It hosts MACBA, the Barcelona Museum of Modern Art. The neighbourhood of La Ribera, Barcelona’s medieval quarter, is also nearby, with its tapas bars and high-end stores alongside the Basílica de Santa María del Mar.
If you’re in Barcelona and you only have time to see one thing, make it La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona’s superlative cathedral. Once imagined by Antonio Gaudí – the most famous Spanish architect - it is still under construction after over a century. It will boast 12 bell towers when completed, the highest of which will tower above those currently constructed. Even unfinished, it is Spain’s most popular tourist destination – just one more reason to book your hotel in Barcelona!
The two main façades, the Passion Façade and the Nativity Façade, are carved in ornate detail using real people as models. A third one, the Glory Façade, is currently under construction. The church has been fitted with massive stained-glass windows that catch the light perfectly in the late afternoon.
While you’re here, make sure to try out some classic Catalan fare: the Old Town (Ciutat Vella) and the L’Eixemple neighbourhoods are ideal. Catalan food relies heavily on seafood and meat (including game meat) and doesn’t skimp on the olive oil or garlic. Once you’ve explored the entertainment options, you will have earned some rest in the sun – head to Barceloneta Beach if you’re looking for the urban beach experience, or to Bogatell or Ocata beaches for something a little quieter.
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