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Renowned for art and architecture, Barcelona is the city to visit in Spain. Famous for the Spanish weather, Gaudi's creations and an incredible football team, Barcelona has a lot to offer and plenty to explore. As well as sun, sea and sand, you can enjoy magnificent architecture, spectacular nature and the beautiful Catalan culture. Catalonia's stunning Spanish city and capital are one of the world's must-visit cities with incomparable beauty and impressive buildings. Barcelona is a magnificent city with the perfect blend of modern and medieval. So whether you travel as a couple, backpacker or a family, there is something for everyone to suit every budget.
La Sagrada Familia
Barcelona is well-known as the home of many of Gaudi's creations and is a city of unbelievable landmarks. La Sagrada Familia is the most famous of his incredible architecture and is recognized as a symbol of Barcelona across the world. The Basilica is one of the city's most visited points of interest and stands out as a beacon of exceptional design on the city's scenic backdrop.
The Basilica has been under construction since 1882, with Gaudi playing an active role in its construction right up until his death in 1926. Whilst this masterpiece remains unfinished, it is a work of art and the most iconic building in the city. The aim is for the building to one day be finished. However, this is not expected for some time as the interpretation of Gaudi's designs challenges modern-day architects. With fantasy elements combined with religious motifs, Gaudi's work is a beautiful, unique creation. The intricate carvings, flashes of colour and magnificent pillars make La Sagrada Familia a wonder to see. So if you have one landmark and attraction top of your list in Barcelona, make it the iconic La Sagrada Familia.
One of the top-rated tours among tourists is the "Priority Access: Best of Barcelona Tour." It's an excellent tour if you want the full Barcelona experience, especially for first-time visitors, and it includes skip-the-line access to La Sagrada Familia!
Known as 'The House of Bones', Casa Batllo is another of Gaudi's Modernist masterpieces. Using Mother Nature as his muse, Gaudi created Casa Batllo with a skeletal design and shark jaw balconies while elements of fantasy play into the architecture, with the roof representing a dragon's spine. The building has a unique appearance that seems incredibly magical and interestingly creepy all at once. Casa Batllo is a private house, once home to the aristocratic Batllo family and remains to this day one of Gaudi's most striking works of art.
While many of Gaudi's masterpieces were new creations, Casa Battlo was a renovation rather than a construction project. The architect designed the entire remodel of the residence, the residence that was interestingly originally designed by Emilio Sala Cortes, Gaudi's former teacher. Gaudi redesigned the building from a classically styled building into a modernist creation bursting with imagination. The architect's masterpiece is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site and one of Barcelona's must-see Gaudi creations. Casa Batllo is one of the stops included in the Priority Pass tour below.
Just a few metro stops away from the city center, Park Guell offers magnificent panoramic views over the city of Barcelona. Known as the world's most beautiful park, Park Guell is another of Gaudi's fabulous creations, designed for aristocracy as a stylish space and tranquil retreat away from the city center. Covering more than 17 hectares, Park Guell is one of the largest green spaces in Barcelona and is a beautiful blend of gardens and architecture. Park Guell is one of not only Barcelona's most photographed locations but also one of Spain's most photographed and is often the landmark pictured on postcards.
The park is set on a hill and features grand viewing platforms, sweeping steps, and beautifully landscaped gardens. The colorful mosaics and intricate reptile carvings make the park a memorable one to visit. Park Guell has a magical vibe with scenery and creations that seem to have popped out of a fairytale. The park is also home to Gaudi's former residence, which is now a museum showcasing unique furniture also designed by the renowned architect.
The previously mentioned tour "Priority Pass: Best of Barcelona" includes entry to Park Guell if you select the full-day tour.
Montjuic is a beautiful, forested mountain in the heart of Barcelona with a wealth of things to explore. A cable car will take you from the city up to the mountain to explore the many attractions Montjuic has to offer. From the cursed castle to the National Museum of Catalan Art, Montjuic is a cultural hub and home to a number of architecturally beautiful buildings. Montjuic also features Poble Espanyol, a mock Spanish village offering shops, restaurants and bars designed to showcase the regional styles of architecture across the country. Montjuic is also home to Barcelona's Olympic Stadium, built for the 1936 games and used for the 1992 games after the city lost out to Berlin in the former years. The botanical gardens on the mountain are delightful to explore, while the numerous Montjuic miradors, lookout points, provide panoramic views of the city below extending to the coast.
At the base of Montjuic, Barcelona's Magic Fountain is one of the city's most visited attractions. Designed in 1929 for the Universal Exhibition, Magic Fountain was restored in 1992 and performs nighttime displays every half hour on weekends. The fountains showcase a spectacular performance of light, music and water whilst it bubbles and bursts in a stunning 20-minute display. In the Summer months, Magic Fountain is the perfect location to view a sunset backdrop to the dramatic spectacle.
Montjuic along with the National Museum of Catalan Art, are both included in the aforementioned Priority Pass tour.
Born in 1881 in Malaga, at the age of 14, Pablo Picasso moved to Barcelona, attending the Llotja School of Fine Arts. Barcelona was a city that had a profound effect on Picasso as a young artist and is the destination where he took most of his creative inspiration from. Picasso used the city as his muse in his early days as an artist, creating thousands of paintings and sketchings inspired by up and coming 20th century Barcelona. Picasso was a strong figure in Barcelona's bohemian scene, socializing with other artists and avant-garde thinkers at the famous The Four Cats Cafe, where his first exhibition was staged in 1900. Even after departing Barcelona for Paris in 1905, the city continued to influence Picasso's creations with one of his seminal works and the first example of Cubist paintings depicting a seedy area of Barcelona.
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona celebrates one of the greatest artists of the 20th century and showcases over 3500 pieces of his artistic creations from the early years to the abstract art he is famous for. The archives offer an incredible insight into the evolution of Picasso as an artist as well as documenting his time in Barcelona and is a great place to understand the artist's formative years. The museum is one of the city's most popular attractions welcoming over one million visitors annually.
The vast private residence of Casa Mila is the second most-famous creation of Gaudi's after La Sagrada Familia and is commonly known as La Pedrera, which translates to stone quarry. This biomorphic mansion is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the seven UNESCO-listed works by Gaudi in Barcelona and its rocky facade is very recognizable. If by some fluke you haven't seen Casa Mila prior to arriving in Barcelona, you will notice the building's imagery scattered across the city and popping up on scenic postcards. This iconic landmark is highly celebrated in Barcelona and is one of the city's most visited attractions.
Casa Mila is simply an architectural and artistic masterpiece, inspired by the great cliffs close to Barcelona and bursting with intricate design elements. The building is designed as a wave, and there is not a single straight line in the complex. Casa Mila was built as a home for the wealthy Mila family but is now a museum dedicated to the life and work of Gaudi, showcasing the architect's designs, models and creations. Admission includes visiting the La Pedrera apartment, two beautiful internal courtyards and rooftop access to view the surreal Gaudi chimneys and breathtaking views over the city. Casa Mila is included in the full-day Priority Pass option.
Horta's Labyrinth Park is one of Barcelona's best-kept secrets and is a hidden gem that is delightful to explore. The gardens were designed by an Italian engineer in 1792 and are officially Barcelona's oldest park. The park was built and owned by the family of the estate in which it lives but was handed over to the city in 1967. Covering 55 hectares, Horta Labyrinth Park has plenty of quiet spots and a wealth of corners to explore, including romantic gardens, a beautiful waterfall, and an intricate maze. The park is a complex creation that has an Italian vibe, is dedicated to Greek mythology yet located in the center of a Spanish city.
Sitting on the hills above the city, Horta Labyrinth Park is the perfect place to escape the busy city and explore somewhere off Barcelona's beaten track. The park is beautiful for a relaxing exploration, while the labyrinth offers a wealth of fun to get lost in. The neoclassical style labyrinth features a variety of statues representing Greek Kings and Gods, including a pavilion dedicated to the nine muses. The labyrinth also has plenty of wrong turns, dead ends and is undoubtedly the highlight of the gardens.
The stadium of the world-famous Barcelona FC has been the base for the team since its completion in 1957. Over the years, Camp Nou has been the home ground of world-class players, including Maradona, Ronaldo and Messi, who have all had a starring role on the team. As the largest stadium in Europe with a seating capacity of 99,000, Camp Nou is a mammoth to explore.
Outside of attending a match, Camp Nou can be visited as a part of a tour which is the only way to get a backstage pass and behind-the-scenes access to Barcelona FC. The Camp Nou Experience combines a stadium tour with a visit to the FC Barcelona museum. The experience is 1.5/2 hours with the opportunity to visit the changing rooms, players tunnel and commentary box within the stadium before moving onto the museum. The museum is one of the most visited museums in Europe. Not only is it the place to learn about the team's history, but you will also see the trophy room, home to five European cups, and explore the area in the museum dedicated to Lionel Messi. You don't want to miss the chance to see such a renowned team play, and if you're a sports fan, The Camp Nou Experience is a must.
Las Ramblas is a tree-lined pedestrian street that runs through the heart of Barcelona and shows off the best of the city. The street is iconic in the city, and as it is famous across the world, Las Ramblas is often the first stop for tourists. The street is 1.2km in length and joins the sea to the city centre travelling from the Maremagnum shopping centre at the marina of Port Vell to Placa Catalunya, a popular meeting spot with a magnificent central fountain.
Las Ramblas is packed with shops, restaurants and cafes, the perfect place to shop for souvenirs, enjoy some tapas or sample sangria. However, one of the most visited locations at home on the famous Las Ramblas is La Boqueria, the city's most bustling marketplace. Selling everything from fresh fruit to black eels, La Boqueria offers an abundance of fresh produce to haggle over. Tourists heavily frequent the perimeter of the marketplace, so you will find the centre of the market that will offer you the best deals.
In addition to the shopping and dining options on offer along Las Ramblas, the famous street also showcases culture and entertainment in abundance. Midway along the street, you will find Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona's prestigious theatre and opera house, where entertainment is an elegant affair. On a more relaxed and novelty scale, many street performers can be found throughout Las Ramblas, providing passers-by with entertainment and giving the Spanish city somewhat of a Parisian vibe.
There is so much to explore in this beautiful city, full of history and wonder. Whether you're on a tight budget or willing to splurge, there are many options for everyone. We hope this article gave you some good ideas and we would like to personally wish you the best on your trip!