Places to Visit in Barcelona

We know it’s barely 2015 but if you, like us are crazy about travel, planning your holiday now will not only save you some cash, but all that last minute hassle as well.

Fancy a change from the traditional Cathedrals and museums Europe has to offer? Then how about a visit to Barcelona. This whimsical city lies on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea and is the second-largest city in Spain.

It is renowned for its modern art, architecture, and Catalonian culture. The city has loads of history from the Picasso Museum to the site of the 1992 Summer Olympics, not to mention beautiful sun-drenched beaches. These are the top 5 must-see attractions should you find yourself in Barcelona.

 

1. Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia - Flickr: Maria Rosa Ferre
Sagrada Familia – Flickr: Maria Rosa Ferre

Sagrada Familia is the most famous work of neo-Gothic architect Antoni Gaudi. With its honeycomb steeples and multicolored flourishes, the building seems to be straight out of a dark fairytale. The looming façade was meant to draw the eyes up to heaven. Construction of the whimsical church began in the late 19th century and is still going on today – cranes surround the church on many sides.

Art critic Rainer Zerbst said, “It is probably impossible to find a church building anything like it in the entire history of art.” When you visit, be sure to purchase your ticket ahead of time to skip the long lines!

 

2. Parc Güell

Parc Guell - Flickr: batuceper
Mosaic Benches in Parc Guell – Flickr: batuceper

Parc Güell is another architectural gem of Gaudi. Palm trees and serene gardens are spread throughout the park, giving a relaxing feeling. Enjoy the view of the Barcelona skyline and the ocean while perched atop one of the famous mosaic benches. The spectacular views and multicolored tile architecture will keep you captivated for hours.

 

3. Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter)

Barri Gotic - Flickr: Aditya Karnad
Barri Gotic – Flickr: Aditya Karnad

What better way to get to know the historic Gothic Quarter than by getting lost in its winding backstreets? This charming area dates back to the 19th century and has much in the way of history and culture. Some streets were built by the Romans, and some are very typical of Catalonia. You could get lost for hours exploring trendy restaurants, retail shops, tapas and hidden bars like Bar Mingus who have some of the best beers on tap!

 

4. Ciutat Vella (Old City)

Ciutat Vella - Flickr: Valerie Hinojosa
Old City Barcelona – Flickr: Valerie Hinojosa

The Old City gives visitors a taste of medieval Spain. The ancient statues, churches, and other historical buildings are remarkably well-preserved. It is easy to stumble upon shops and restaurants with authentic Catalonian food. Like the rest of the city, the architecture is marvellous and the balconies teem with greenery. A visit to Ciutat Vella will make you feel like you have stepped into historical Spain – be sure to try the delicious treats and coffee at Caelum, a welcome rest from the busy streets.

 

5. Sant Pau Recinte Modernista

Sant Pau Recinte Modernista - Flickr: Son of Groucho
Sant Pau Recinte Modernista – Flickr: Son of Groucho

This restored hospital opened in February 2014 and has since been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The art and architecture in Sant Pau Recinte Modernista beautifully exemplifies the Art Noveau and the Modernista Movement characteristic of Barcelona. As if the stunning tile work and beautiful landscapes weren’t enough, the museum is only a short walk from Sagrada Familia. It is a nice spot to escape the crowds around the basilica and enjoy the Modernista art.