Barcelona is the capital of the Spanish Province of Catalonia. It’s a very colorful and bustling city full of life, but it also has its drawbacks, as it’s just too busy during the season. Mercilessly busy. Barcelona fans say, that the popularity has increased even more after Woody Allen set “Vicky Christina Barcelona” there. Any passionate fan of Allen’s work had to come here, and see the places visited by movie characters.
When it’s worth coming?
If you decide to visit the city off season, you won’t only avoid the crowds, but also the biggest heat. The capital of Catalonia is beautiful all over the year, winters are mild (something about 10 degrees), and in order to try everything what’s best in Catalonia, better come in autumn or spring. The weather will be beautiful enough, however not as strenuous as in the summer, plus less people – in a word, it’s a perfect time for sightseeing. It’s worth to buy Barcelona Card after arrival, you get a lot of discounts including those on public transport and entrance fees. What’s important – you get the free admission to some museums, but firstly you need to check which days this offer is available.
What’s worth seeing?
Where to start? Perhaps from Tribidabo, the highest peak in Barcelona (500masl). When the visibility is good, you have a chance to see Majorca from the summit, and photography lovers get the opportunity to do great shots of Pyrenees. Later, you can go to one of the most famous streets of the city – Las Ramblas. If you hear someone saying something about rumble and crowds, he has this place on his mind. A great field of souvenir stalls stretches along the shopping promenade. There you can purchase flowers and a whole lot of interesting things.
There are plenty of dancers, singers, street mimes and actors, the music can be heard all the time, and you can see different mini show on every corner. You can stroll along the kilometer-long sidewalk that connects Placa de Catalunya with the harbor, there are also separate carriage ways for traffic, and beautiful trees along the way.
Unfortunately, this place has a one big drawback. Crowds of tourists strolling along the stalls, restaurants and cafes attract different sorts of pickpockets. You need to stay careful!
The architecture of Barcelona
The quaintness of the architecture lures the visitors of Barcelona. Much of this is thanks to one person – many buildings were designed by Catalan designer, Antonio Gaudi. When strolling, you surely will focus on houses Casa Mila, Casa Calvet, Casa Batllo. Gaudi designed Park Guell, in which you can see the Column Hall, interesting stairs to the main pavilion, and the house in which the artist lived. The Park was enlisted on UNESCO World Heritage Site, which conclusively proves its value and beauty. Also, lanterns at Reial Square are definitely worth seeing.
Gaudi made a project of monumental basilica, Sagrada Familia. Fascinating as it is, it’s also a bit scary (just as the rest of the buildings made by Gaudi, it was supposed to remind an organic creature). It was never completed – the artist died tragically, and his projects were destroyed during the civil war. Nonetheless, even in the present form, basilica still impress people and makes them wanna stop for a minute and just look at it. It’s amazing.
Those, who want to feel like in the distant past, should head straight to the Barri Gotic. A lot of buildings in the gothic district remember medieval times, and what’s more, many of them could as well tell the stories of Roman Empire. At this point you may easily feel like a Japanese tourist, and won’t take your camera out of your hand. Among other things, there is the Town Hall (Casa de la Ciutat), steeple cathedral (Le Seu) and the Parliament Palace (Palau de La Generalitat).
Another place that should be visited necessarily is Park Montjuic (Jewish Hill). You can get there on foot, or by a cable car. It is located in the south-west of the city center. There’s an incredible view of the city skyline and harbor from the top, and part of the slope is covered by succulent greenery of the gardens and parks. Here is Castell de Montjuic, a castle that is as worth visiting, as the military museum and the National Palace.
National Palace and the Font Magica
Speaking of the National Palace, you cannot miss the opportunity to see one of the symbols of the city, Font Magica, a unique fountain. It’s hard to say when it’s more appealing-when you only listen to it, or when you look at it. In the evenings it creates a real work of art, putting together the water, light and sound. It’s a place surely worth visiting. Another interesting fountain is the one located in the center of the Spanish Square which depicts seas around the Iberian Peninsula.
Don’t forget that you are in Spain. Afternoon siesta is obligatory also in Barcelona. It lasts mostly during the hottest hours (14:00-17:00) and everything including shops, offices and museums are then closed. It’s best to join Spanish people and take few hours off, just to forget about the busy schedule and indulge in a peaceful stay in a beautiful place.