Barcelona, Spain is a vibrant city with tons of things to do, see and eat. Whether you are looking for a relaxing day on the beach, a day of sightseeing, stores to shop in, or a place to party at night there is something for you in this beautiful city. Located in the Catalan region of Spain, the official language of Barcelona is not only Spanish but Catalan as well, which is the language mostly spoken on a daily basis. Barcelona is a city that offers you the opportunity to go on many adventures!
Park Guell, Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, and Casa Batllo might be four of the most famous sights in Barcelona. All built by the renowned Antoni Gaudi, these sights are not to be missed. Park Guell is located in the Gracia district of the city. It sits on a hill and offers beautiful sights of the city below. Park Guell is a public park system composed of gardens and buildings all designed by Gaudi. Sagrada Familia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is arguably the symbol of Barcelona. It is an enormously beautiful Roman Catholic Church whose construction began in 1882 and is still being built to this day. At the time of Gaudi’s death in 1926 less than a quarter of the project was completed. Casa Mila and Casa Batllo are both architecturally unique buildings. Today they have been turned into museums with audio tours.
Housed in five adjoining medieval palaces in Barcelona, the Picasso Museum is a must see. Many of his famous pieces are kept here including two of his first major works, The First Communion (1896), and Science and Charity (1897). It is very interesting to see Picasso’s work while in Barcelona because many of his pieces were shaped by the city, which is where he spent a large part of his life.
A hill that allows for beautiful views over the entire city, Montjuic is home to the Castle of Montjuic, which dates from the 17th century. Also on top of the hill are the grand Palau Nacional, the Olympic Stadium, and the magic fountains. While this is a great place to go during the day, if you have the opportunity to you should also go there at night. Music and lights incorporated with the fountain put on a show for the hundreds of people who gather to watch. Performances are a half-hour long and take place every weekend.
The Gothic Quarter is the center of the old city of Barcelona. Many of the buildings in this area were built during Medieval times. The streets are all narrow and labyrinth-like. There are many sites to see within the Gothic Quarter such as the Cathedral of Santa Eulalia, La Merce basilica, Carrer del Bisbe, and City Hall, to name just a few. There are also many hidden gems within the narrow winding streets such as small cafes, such as Caelum, tapas restaurants and street performers.
The heart of the city is La Rambla. Here you can find many street performers, restaurants, shops, and more. It is almost always crowded with locals and tourists. There are many historic buildings lining the street, which leads directly down to the sea. This is a great place to eat some authentic paella and drink sangria. In all of Barcelona, but on La Rambla especially, keep an eye out for pickpockets!
Located off of La Rambla, La Boqueria is a large public market in Barcelona. With a giant fish, fruit, and dessert sections, the market has almost every type of food you can want. Many locals come here daily to get fresh food for the day. One of the most popular things to get here is a fruit juice, which comes in all different flavors such as mango and strawberry-banana. You can find them for about 1 Euro each.
Tapas are a variety of snacks or appetizers that are traditional in Spanish cuisine. They can be served either hot or cold, depending on the food. Some restaurants have tapas as appetizers while others only serve tapas. At restaurants that strictly serve tapas there will usually be a bar with an assortment of tapas and you can go around and pick what you want, but be sure to keep your toothpick so that you can pay at the end of your meal. This layout allows diners the opportunity to mingle and have conversations with many different people instead of being focused solely on their food and the people at their table. Popular tapas include croquetas, patatas bravas, jamón y queso and gambas.
A flamenco show is typical in Spanish culture. It is an artform as well as a music genre native to Spain. Performers sing, play instruments and dance. A popular thing to do in Barcelona is see a Flamenco show with dinner. Many restaurants, such as El Tablao de Carmen, offer drinks and/or dinner with the show. Seeing a flamenco show while in Barcelona is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of this beautiful city.