BARCELONA SPAIN… The Cosmopolitan City.
Barcelona is an astounding cosmopolitan city that lies on the water in the Northeast of Spain. It is the second largest city in Spain and the capital of the Catalan district. Barcelona is a bilingual city where everyone speaks Castilian Spanish, but natives speak Catalan to one another to indicate their prideful Barcelona roots. The city has astonishing architecture, vivacious nightlife, and incomparable culture. Get accustom to Barcelona’s rich culture and vibrancy.
SIGHTSEEING RECOMMENDATIONS: Incredibly astounding, unbelievably breathtaking, remarkably picturesque, and always memorable are all words that describe Barcelona’s sightseeing offerings. The city’s architecture revolves around the well-recognized, legendary Spanish artist, Antoni Gaudi. His magnificent work is abundantly scattered throughout the city. Out of all Barcelona’s offerings, Gaudi’s unfinished yet spectacular Sagrada Familia is a must. The Sagrada Familia is also known as Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia, which translates to “Expiatory Temple of the Holy Family.” Another must-see is Gaudi’s well-recognized Parc Guell, a garden complex with great architecture on the hill of el Carmel in the Gràcia district. Can’t get enough of Guadi? Then visit the house that Guadi made for Rosario Segimon and Pere Milà named Casa Mila (aka La Perdera). Casa Mila seems to have more artistic brilliance than Gaudi’s other house, Casa Bastillo. Other than Guadi’s masterpieces, visit the Picasso Museum. The Picasso Museum is tucked away off of Las Ramblas down a little alley and features works from Pablo Picasso’s apprenticeship years. Once you are finished strolling through the Picasso Museum, stroll by “La Boqueria“- the bustling outside farmer’s market located just off of Las Ramblas. Experience the authenticity of true Spanish meats, wine, fruits, vegetables, and more. After “La Boqueria,” wander down Las Ramblas and enjoy the shops, cafes, and small vendors. Las Ramblas is very touristy so the prices can be high but it is definitely worth the saunter. Another must-see on the other side of Barcelona is Font Magica, a spectacular fountain show that illuminates the sky with colorful-lit water. Check times of the show, as it is a definitely worth it! Font Magica is located at the base of Montjuic (translated to English: the Hill of the Jews). At the top of the Montjuic hill, there are spectacular views of the entire city. Go to Montjuic around 2pm on a clear day. As you are walking up the hill, you will pass the Olympic Stadium and as you are walking down the hill, you can catch the Fountain show (Font Magica). If you have time, visit Barceloneta- the local man-made beach. Suntan, stroll along the boardwalk or play some beach volleyball. If the beach isn’t your scene, take a leisurely visit to Parc de la Ciutadella, a decorative spacious park. Relax on a row boat ride through the park’s pond or meander by the large statuesque monument. Barceloneta and Parc de la Ciutadella are definitely great ways to end an eventful, culturally-rich sightseeing adventure. Now enjoy the beautiful sites of this legendary city, Barcelona…
Barcelona could be considered an international cuisine mecca, as it has some of the finest dining in Europe. Multiple restaurants have Michelin Stars, ranking among the top dining experiences in the world. Other restaurants are great for a quick meal.
Cal Pep- Hidden away in a little plaza in the Born area. Food is exceptional! Great tapas for lunch and dinner (The tapas are equivalent to a full meal). Get there early because it gets packed very quickly. Mid priced.
La Dolca Herminia- Mid-priced, one of my favorite restaurants in Barcelona! Amazing food. Mediterranean cuisine. Nice environment. They have English language menus. Visit their website at www.ladolcaherminia.com
Alkimia- a Michelin star restaurant in Eixample area. Very very good food. Elegant restaurant. Dress appropriately. New Catalan, avant-garde cuisine. Expensive.
Taller de Tapas- a vast variety of tapas can be found here- something for everyone. Mid priced. Especially great for lunch. www.tallerdetapas.com
Noti- a trendier restaurant located in the Eixample area. Great main courses and amazing deserts. High ranged pricing. www.noti-universal.com
Los Caracoles- which translates to “the Snail.” Don’t let the name deceive you. Los Caracoles has vast variety of solid Catalan traditional food. Located just off of Las Ramblas, near Placa Reial. Good, lively atmosphere. Mid priced.
Hoffman- a top restaurant that is led by the “Hoffman”- the one of the best cookery schools in the world
Comerc 24- a well known restaurant for its great Catalan cuisine, same chef as Alkimia.
Obviously, the happenin’ bars and clubs change over time. However, here are some good staples that are legendary. Put your dancing shoes on and enjoy the great clubs. Some city favorites include Pacha, Razzmatazz, and Otto Zutz. If you want to enjoy a drink before these popular, trendy clubs- go to L’Ovella Negra (the black sheep), which is located off of Las Ramblas. Sip on pitchers of the infamous Spanish Sangria while mingling with this laid back crowd. For the stylish non-touristy lounge/bar, Buddha Bar is your place. Dress nice, as they can be selective as to whom they let in (especially on certain nights- Thursdays and Sundays).
DAY TRIPS FROM BARCELONA:
If you have extra time or want to get out of the city for the day, day trips out of the Barcelona around the Catalan distract are the way to go. Here are our favorites:
Girona/Figueres Daytrip Option 1: Girona is a small city located an hour northeast of Barcelona. It is rich in history, as it used to be inhabited by the Iberians and has transformed into civilized, Catalan town with abundant culture. After stopping in Girona, head about 20 minutes north to Figueres, notably known for the Dali Museum. The Dali Museum makes this stop worthwhile, as it is hands-down one of my favorite museums I have been too (along with the Musee d’Orsay in Paris). Definitely go if you have time.
Stiges Daytrip Option 2: If you are looking for the beach scenery and experience, head southwest of Barcelona to the favorite small beach community called Stiges. Stiges has picturesque beaches with that small coastal town feel.
Penedes Daytrip Option 3: Visit Penedes if you have extra time and truly enjoy wine tasting. Penedes is located southwest of Barcelona and is known as the wine-making region of Catalonia. It is divided into two regions- Alt Penedes and Baix Penede. Alt Penedes is higher in altitude and warmer in temperature, allowing for a vast variety of grapes to be grown. Baix Penedes consists of the low-lying plains of this area. If you do want to go wine tasting, take a tour. The Spanish Trails Tourist office has a very memorable tour and experience. Charles and Tracy are the amazing owners, who are Americans who have been living the life in Barcelona. Their shop is located off of Las Ramblas by the restaurant Los Caracoles. The address to Spanish Trails Adventure (spanish-trails.com) is c/ Vidre 7, Bajos 308002, Barcelona. If you want to get in touch with them, they can also be reached at email@example.com or by phone at +34 93 500 1616. Even if you don’t want to go on this tour, stop by their shop because they are a wealth of information as they have lived there for years!