Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city and is the capital of the Catalonia region.
Located on the seaside in northern Spain, Barcelona is renowned worldwide for its cosmopolitan culture, amazing architecture and the verve and vitality of the city and its people.
Unlike many other large European cities, Barcelona radiates a vibrancy and soul that permeates everywhere.
The magnificent architecture of Barcelona is largely influenced by perhaps the greatest representative of Catalan modernism, Antoni Gaudi.
There are many things that must retain a place on the bucket list of any visitor to this exciting part of the Mediterranean coast. This is a list of ten of the most significant of the things that make Barcelona different.
1.Sagrada Familia Church
Construction of Sagrada Família commenced in 1882. Antonio Gaudi’s vision for this Roman Catholic basilica combines gothic stylism with art nouveau curvilinear forms. It is considered by many to be his most magnificent achievement. The project is still underway, and it is planned that the exterior work will be completed by 2026, the centenary of Gaudi’s death. Ongoing construction work on this masterpiece is financed through fees charges for tourists to visit the basilica.
2. Casa-Museu Gaudi
The Gaudi Museum is the house in which Antoni Gaudi lived between 1906 and 1925. This pink, “Alice-in-Wonderland” house has become the setting for the museum. Exhibits within the museum include furniture, drawings, and portraits developed and designed by Gaudi himself. It is certainly worthwhile taking a trip down the rabbit hole to visit this monument to Barcelona’s greatest architect.
3. Las Ramblas
The boulevard of Las Ramblas runs for a little over a kilometer from the Port of Barcelona inland to the Plaça Catalunya. Within this pedestrian zone you’ll discover an enticing mixture of market stalls interesting establishments such as the erotica museum, street art performers, and shopping. You’ll definitely enjoy the time that you spend traveling up or down Las Ramblas. We do, however, recommend that you keep your eye out for pickpockets and scam artists.
4. Passeig de Gracia
Beyond the northern end of Las Ramblas you’ll find one of Barcelona’s main shopping areas, the Passeig de Gracia. This avenue features a range of shops, from the extreme high-end through to the more modest. Bars and restaurants also line the street, with many opportunities to sit on the sidewalk and watch the passing parade. There is also the opportunity to enjoy the architectural styles that are in evidence along the route.
5. The Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso was born in Malaga in 1881. However, the family moved to Barcelona in 1895, and it was here that the young Picasso began his professional art career. Although he moved from Barcelona to Paris in 1905, Picasso did maintain ongoing ties to Barcelona through his lifetime. The museum’s collection of some 4,200 items offers a comprehensive and unique record of the artist’s formative years.
6. The Poble Espanyol
This is an open-air architectural museum, built in 1929 as a part of the Barcelona International Exposition, to offer a representation of the many communities that comprised the Spain of that era. Whilst the location fell into disuse as a result of the Spanish Civil War and the task of rebuilding it into a major component of Spanish history and culture was undertaken during the 1990’s. Today, the Spanish Village has become a chance for visitors to celebrate all things Spanish, with entertainment, dining, and relaxation.
7. The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gòtic)
This is the center of the old city of Barcelona. It is built on the site of an ancient Roman village, and some of these ruins are still in place today. While some buildings date from Medieval times, most of the buildings are from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. The narrow, winding streets add to the effect of an ancient town center. When visiting the Gothic Quarter, you should make the effort to visit the Cathedral La Seu, parts of which date back to the 11th Century.
8. The Olympic Stadium
The Olympic Games were held in Barcelona in 1992. The Olympic Stadium in Barcelona was re-developed from the original structure that dated back to 1927, when it was built for the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929. As a part of the preparations for the Olympics, the original structure gutted, with new grandstands that today have a capacity of 54,000 fans. The stadium is today used as a venue for a range of athletics events held in Barcelona, and for major music events.
9. Palau de la Música Catalana
The Palace of Catalan Music is a concert hall built between 1905 and 1908. The design of the building is typical of Catalan modernism, with curves replacing straight lines and dynamic shapes preferred over static forms. If you are lucky enough to be visiting Barcelona at a time when there is a performance taking place, we strongly advise you to take the opportunity to avail yourself of a truly special experience.
10. Port Vell
The old Port of Barcelona consisted of a collection of disused and uninhabited warehouse buildings for many years. However, in recent times this area has been painstakingly restored and developed. The area is now a completely remodeled precinct with shopping, dining and leisure activities abounding. The restored customs house and aquarium are well worth a visit.