Top tips and things to do in Barcelona
Barcelona is the capital of Spain's Catalonia region and is renowned for its art, architecture, food and, of course, soccer. It's one of those cities that is a must-visit, with everything you could desire for a holiday. Culture, scrumptious food, great shopping, fantastic nightlife and nearby beaches to make your city escape feel like a real summer holiday.
From the lesser known Monastery Monserrat to the beaches of Barceloneta these are my top recommendations to have an amazing holiday in Barcelona:
- Barcelona is a huge city, and if the attractions you want to visit are not within walking distance, the underground is an easy and quick way to get around.
- My first stop would be Sagrada Familia, a large unfinished Catholic Basilica built in 1882 – with construction continuing today. This is a historical and architectural icon, a wonderful piece of “art” by Gaudi. If you travelling in the high season, I would recommend you pre-book this attraction, as waiting times can be long.
- A 10-minute walk from Sagrada Familia will take you to Placa De Catalunya to enjoy the vibe. This large square is considered to be the city centre, and where the “old” suburbs of Barri Gotic and Raval meet with the newer Eixample built in the 19th century. Some of the most important streets in Barcelona lead to Placa De Catalunya, such as La Rambla.
- Walk down Ramblas towards Port Vell, a harbour that was renovated before the Olympics in 1992. Port Vell is now the home to a mall containing restaurants, bars, and a cinema. If malls aren’t for you, it is a still a great scenic walk, and a wonderful way to get in a great sea breeze.
- For beaches, surfing, and tapas, head to Barceloneta. Here you can visit Ciutadella Park or enjoy some tapas and a glass or two of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) at La Champaneria – or eat Paella on a Sunday as is a local tradition.
- Keep an eye out for Flamenco street performers. These artists give the public their best performances and will make you want to take dance lessons, if you dare!
- If you a sports enthusiast, a visit to the Barcelona Museum and Stadium is a must. I was even privileged enough to watch Barcelona vs. Valencia in the Kings Cup Semi-final. Wow! Words cannot describe it! The atmosphere was electric.
- If you are into culture and history, I would recommend a day tour to the Benedictine Abby named Santa Maria de Montserrat that houses the patron Saint of Catalonia. You can get to Montserrat by train/bus and then either a cable car or funicular ride up to the top. While you’re there, buy some souvenirs, or the local liquor made in the village at the bottom of the mountain.
- My last tip: if you are foodie, don’t leave Barcelona without having tasted Crema Catalana, a traditional dessert, or some roasted chestnuts. Do yourself a favour and visit La Boqueria Market – this is how food shopping should really be done!
From all the wonderful churches and museums, to time spent shopping for Spanish brands such as Zara, Pull&Bear and Bershka, to name a few, there is so much to see and do in this cosmopolitan, eclectic City, that that one visit to Barcelona isn’t enough time to take it all in!
Written by Tanya Cardona