Barcelona! A charming European destination that attracts tourists from all over the world without trying too hard to lure them in. Why do millions and millions of travelers include Barcelona in their itinerary? What’s so special about this Spanish city that it’s not even Spain’s capital? How come Barcelona has a special place in many people’s hearts, regardless of their age?
The enchanting Barcelona
The city welcomes you with a certain Mediterranean, exotic vibe even though it’s a metropolis in all its splendor. Once you arrive here, you’ll instantly feel you’re on holiday. Some come to spend just a weekend in Barcelona and some come for a few days or more, but all of them want to return. The beautiful, long strips of sand, the palm trees, the lively Las Rambla, and the soothing yelling of the seagulls rotating above Port Vell create the perfect setting to relax and discover one of the most beautiful and entertaining cities in the world.
Start with a long walk along Las Ramblas, the most famous boulevard in the city, a pedestrian-only street filled with cafes and restaurants. The surrounding area abounds in shops and the usual souvenir stalls. However, since the cafes and restaurants here tend to be overpriced, it’s better to just admire the views and head to El Born.
El Born is the trendiest neighborhood in the city, a bohemian destination that welcomes visitors with tapas bars, chic cafes, restaurants and vintage shops. You’ll also find the beautiful Church of Santa Maria del Mar and the impressive Santa Caterina Market that awes travelers with its superb roof.
The oldest and most visited quarter of Barcelona is undoubtedly the Gothic Quarter, home to the Cathedral of Barcelona and a few Roman ruins that remind travelers about the city’s rich history. It’s always crowded but its picturesque medieval streets and beautiful buildings are worthy of your patience.
The largest neighborhood in the city is L’Eixample, home to the fabulous and overwhelmingly beautiful La Sagrada Familia, a breathtaking masterpiece created by Gaudi. As soon as you enter this magnificent structure, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to a different universe, a hypnotic and mesmerizing world, where you’ll feel humble and, at the same time, grateful for this gift.
The cultural Barcelona
The name of Gaudi is and forever will be associated with Barcelona. This is where you’ll find some of its most beautiful creations, masterpieces embroidered in stone. Start with La Pedrera, an undulating apartment building that hypnotizes and fascinates without trying too hard to impress. Don’t miss a visit to the roof to admire imposing chimneys that will remind you of brave warriors.
Not very far from La Pedrera awaits Casa Batló, a fantastical creature that glitters in the sun and plays with lines and colors. This house seems to have appeared straight out of the modernist dream of a gifted genius that couldn’t care less about the guidelines, rules, and patterns of his time. End your journey into Gaudi’s genius mind with a short trip to Park Güell from where you can admire the city and a few other masterpieces of the artist. The park is located in the bohemian Gràcia neighborhood, a quiet area of Barcelona, where you can discover beautiful views, outdoor cafes, and trendy bars.
And then there are the museums! Many of them and all interesting and rich in exhibits. The Picasso Museum needs no recommendation, especially since it’s home to one of the biggest collections of Picasso works. There’s also the Catalan Art Museum, a perfect stop if you want to find out more about this region’s history, as well as the Barcelona History Museum and the Maritime Museum. Fundació Joan Miró houses an impressive collection of artwork by Joan Mió and other contemporary artists.
The fun Barcelona
The nights in Barcelona are legendary and memorable for many travelers. Dinner is served after 9 pm in restaurants and the bars stay open until late at night. The parties start after 10 pm and end only when the sun comes up. The nights are white in Barcelona and the Europeans know how to party.
But it’s not only about the nightclubs! From sophisticated cocktail bars and cheap cava (sparkling wine) bars, Barcelona invites visitors to discover a different way to spend the night. The prices for drinks tend to be decent, except in the most popular nightclubs where the crème de la crème comes to spend the night and be seen.
If you visit Barcelona during the summer, Barceloneta is the perfect place to spend your days. This beach is a beautiful strip of powdery-sand, perfect to worship the sun and admire the sunset, as well as to savor an exotic cocktail or a cold beer at one of its xiringuitos (beach bars).
Barcelona has one of the best urban beaches in the world, so you can combine a fun urban city trip with an exotic beach holiday without spending too much money. The most popular beach is Platja Barcelona at Vila Olimpica, home to the 1992 Olympics and the ideal setting to relax in the sun.
With great weather, fabulous beaches, fascinating museums, delicious food and never-ending parties, Barcelona seems to have discovered the secret to always be present on travelers’ maps.