Barcelona is a brilliant mix of trendy nightlife offset by unique architecture, beautiful beaches balanced by a booming business center and amazing foods counterbalanced with dozens of easy ways to work off the calories. Throw it all together and you get the wonderful “ambiente” that makes up Spain’s most populous city.
- Walk las Ramblas – Like Times Square and Fisherman’s Wharf, La Rambla is definitely a tourist trap. But also like them, no visit to the city would be complete without checking it out. La Rambla, also known as Las Ramblas because it consists of several sections, is a 2 kilometre pedestrian mall connecting Plaça de Catalunya with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Here you can pick up souvenirs, eat tourist food and be entertained by street performers, but the people watching is what makes La Rambla worth the time. Park on a bench or a sidewalk café for a few minutes, and you’ll see every size, shape and color of human pass by. Like any other place in the world crowded by tourists, keep a close eye on your possessions here, especially cell phones. When you’re rested up, head into the Gothic area just behind La Rambla for a trip back in time and check out the fabulous old architecture.
- Font Magica Montjuic – This large ornamental fountain was first introduced at the 1929 World Fair and has been entertaining visitors and locals alike ever since. Font Magica is something like the fountains at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas – on steroids. The fountain pumps out 2,600 liters per second of recycled water and puts on a choreographed show set to music and boasting more than 50 shades of colored lights. The result is nothing short of, well, magic.
- Basilica de la Sagrada Familia – La Sagrada Familia is a church that has been continuously under construction since 1882 and is funded entirely by donations. It is a massive undertaking that when finally completed will have 18 towers. The brainchild of the great architect Antoni Gaudi, Sagrada differs from other churches not only in its size, but in its spectacularly unique design. Gaudi believed that God created nature to play an important role in human spirituality, and he reflects this in his design: rather than standard church columns, Sagrada’s are designed to represent tree trunks and windows are planned to maximize the light they capture. As a result, walking through the church is like walking through an indoor forest. No matter how many cathedrals you’ve already visited in the world, Sagrada Familia will leave you speechless. Sagrada Familia has become one of Barcelona’s top tourist attractions with millions of visitors
each year, so save yourself some time and buy your tickets online before arriving.
- Head to la playa – Just outside city limits and easily accessible by metro, bus, bike or on foot, Barcelona has four main beach areas covering 4.2km of swimmable Mediterranean access. There are plenty of huts along the beach offering cold refreshments, and the people watching is outstanding. Note that Mar Bella is a nudist beach.
What’s your favorite spot in Barcelona? Share in the comments below!