Barcelona is probably most famous for all the Gaudi masterpieces. It certainly was the reason this city first came onto my radar. But there’s also a lot of other cool things to do and see… So come with me as I give you a quick city tour.
Before we get going though, here’s just some general prettiness:
Now we were lucky enough to be staying right around the corner from the Barcelona Cathedral. It’s free to go inside, just make sure you’re appropriately dressed (that means no booty shorts, no exposed shoulders – there’s a guy outside selling cheap scarves at 50 cents a piece making an absolute killing #genius ). But it’s worth the expense, because she’s quite a stunner on the inside:
From this area, a lot of shopping can be done. The main fashion stores which I’d class in the more affordable range (Zara, Berksha, H&M, Intimissi, etc) are right up from the square in front of the cathedral, the street is called Avinguda del Portal de L’Angel.
If you follow that street all the way to Placa de Catalunya and keep heading up, you’ll get to Passeig de Gracia where the more high end, exclusive labels are all housed… if that’s your budget, I totally envy you. 😉 I stuck mostly to the cheaper end.
There’s another street that starts at the square in front of the cathedral and ends in Las Ramblas – it’s called Carrer de Portaferrissa – there was quite a lot of shopping to be done here as well.
I particularly loved this very quirky & fun gifting store:
Now strolling the Las Ramblas is an absolute must (from beginning to end). Lined with trees all the way down, incredible buildings on its sides, and interesting finds like age-old water fountains and wacky street performers, it’s quite a magical place:
If you get all the way down you’ll get to a monument, called the Monument a Colom, which is protected by some very proud looking lions:
They seem to be protecting the harbour area, which is also quite pretty and worth some exploring:
I thought it was ugly. My friend Darryn thought it was very cool. But that’s what art is all about right? To each their own…
Keep on going and you’ll get to a big public garden called Parc de la Ciutadella. There’s a zoo for the kids, horse carriage rides, a lake with rowboats you can hire, a beautiful fountain and some other surprises too.
Relatively close to the gardens, you’ll find Barcelona’s version of the Arc the Triomphe – in fact theirs is simply called the Arc de Triomf. I must say though, this one has way more detail and colour, so I would say theirs wins in the pretty stakes.
Then if the heat is getting too much for you (it does get quite hot in this city during July), then don’t forget, this is a coastal city. So you can hit the beach! A cool way to get there would be to rent an electric scooter perhaps:
But we walked it and it was quite a nice walk actually. Now the theory goes, the further out you go, the better and less touristy the beaches get. So we walked, and walked, and walked until we got to the Olimpic port. Apparently the beaches in that area are the better ones. Just don’t go too far out, I’ve heard the very last beach is a nudist beach. Well unless that’s your kind of thing… I don’t judge…
The beach we ended up at was lined at the back with all these fancy beach bar type places, like this one:
But we sat there for quite a while, nobody helped us, the prices were seriously inflated in any case, so we left. Maybe you’ll have better luck at one of the others. It was at least very pretty though.
Then if you’re like me, you love anything that is very entertaining, but most importantly FREE. There’s one such thing in Barcelona and it’s called the Magic fountain of Montjuïc’s which kicks off at 9pm in summer and happens every 30min until 11pm (check out their website link to confirm times though – it changes per season).
To get there, follow the mini fountain trail from Placa d’Espanya, right to the end of Avda de la Reina Maria Christina (that’s a mouthful), you won’t miss it, and join the crowd:
Photos are cool, but watching this little video clip is much better. Just to set the scene, the show seemed to have a Disney theme to it (but in Spanish of course):
So there you go. That’s one hell of a list, but most importantly my advice would be to just roam the streets as much as you can. Who knows, you might even come across an extra special sight like this:
Or cool old buildings like these:
Or heavenly treats like these…. mmmmmm….
As you can see, Barcelona is truly an amazing city and definitely one to be added to your travel to do list…