Places to See:
La Sagrada Familia, Park Güell, Gothic Quarter, Arc de Triomf, Plaza Catalunya, La Rambla, Barcelona Beach, Camp Nou
Things to keep in mind:
– First thing to keep in mind before coming to Barcelona is to book your hotel in advance. Accommodation can be very expensive here and is not available at all during peak season if you don’t book in advance. If you are not able to find a decent hotel in your budget, try airbnb.
– Trams and buses are easily available in Barcelona. You can also go for one of those hop on hop off buses. I preferred to walk through the city mostly
– Non stop buses from and to airport run from Plaza Catalunya. Buses are comfortable and very cheap as well. But be mindful of the traffic in peak hours
Barcelona is a centre of art, culture and history. As soon I stepped out of the airport, it felt like the streets, museums, churches were trying to tell their story to anyone who passed by. The city is an epitome of the culture of Catalunya, which according to locals, is slightly distinct than the rest of Spain. They have their own language, Catalan. The city is a major tourist and education destination in Spain. The city lots of student hostels and is lively till very late in the night. There are many Wi-Fi spots in Barcelona where you can use free Wi-Fi for some time. Like I said in my post on New York, the best way to explore Barcelona is to start walking in random direction each day, with the exception that there are a lot of historical and artistic places to see here.
La Sagrada Familia:
It is a Roman catholic church, also called a masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan architect. The structure is mammoth and a shape that I haven’t seen anywhere. Its construction started in 1882 and it still going on. It is the crown of Barcelona, culmination of Gaudi’s building imaginations. The towers are so tall that it is difficult to take a clean picture of the structure from ground. The detail on the structure in unbelievable. Guided tours in various languages are available here. It’s better to book the tickets in advance along with the guide language preference. The church is also called gaudi’s unfinished business.
It is another paragon of Gaudi’s architectural accomplishments. I don’t think one can find this kind of architecture anywhere in the world. It is complex of parks, small architectural works and monuments, situated on top of a hill, from where you can have a panoramic view of Barcelona along with its coastline. It seems as if Gaudi defied the traditional architectural styles in the world and built what he felt was beautiful. The walls are colorful and might look ugly at the first site. But this is because our minds are not trained to accept other than traditional structures. If someone is interested in architecture as a profession, and is bored of the orthodox styles, Park Güell would be very interesting for him/her.
It is the old part of Barcelona and has churches, old buildings and lot of places to hang out. The streets are narrow, but the good part is that vehicles are not allowed in most part of Gothic quarter. So one can walk leisurely in this part of the city. There are some street musicians playing local tunes. There are some small dance events going on in other part. All in all, it is a perfect example of an old European city. I spent an entire day walking around the streets of Gothic Quarter and I felt it was not enough. There are lot of cafes in Gothic Quarter area.
Arc De Triomf:
It is a huge gateway built for a fair in Barcelona in 1988. There is a huge open space on one side of the gate what makes its way to the Zoological Park.
For someone, who wants to sit in peace in the middle of this energetic and living city, Arc De Triomf is the place to be.
It is a city centre in Barcelona where there are commercial complexes and public transport available for most places. Buses to the airport are available from this place.
It is a major tourist street with cafes and souvenir shops. The atmosphere is very relaxed and vibrant. It is difficult to feel lonely for someone here, even if you are traveling alone.
There are beaches that are quite and serene and there are beaches where you can go and party. Barcelona beach is yet another category where one can find hundreds of tourists sun bathing and relaxing while others are gulping beer and chilling out.
For Football and FC Barcelona fans, Camp Nou is the Mecca. It is the home turf of FC Barcelona. In Barcelona, there are many souvenir shops selling jerseys and other momentos.
There are lot of other monuments and architectural spots in this beautiful city. If you are interested in seeing countryside, then subway trains are available from many parts of the city. In one hour, you can be out of city and enjoy Spanish landscapes.