Barcelona is a Catalonian wonder that offers all the fine-dining, architectural splendor and incredible sightseeing you might expect from a Mediterranean masterpiece. Although it can be a little bit intimidating given the sheer amount of things to do and see, there are also countless ways to soak up the local culture in Barcelona while perusing the famous landmarks scattered about the city. From the breathtaking architectural masterworks to the mesmerizing flamenco performances and variety of Catalan cuisine the city is known for, Barcelona has earned its place as one of the must-see destinations of Spain.
Although there are plenty of ways to experience Barcelona, starting at the renowned Park Güell provides a great spot to get acquainted--not to mention, to snap some picturesque photos. Park Güell was designed by master architect Antoni Gaudi whose works are spread out all over the city. It is a sprawling public park infused with splashes of color and classical Catalan features that have helped make it a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Park Güell is also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Gaudi’s influence on the city, as other famous works like Casa Milà, Sagrada Familia and Casa Batlló continue to inspire new generations of architects.
In addition to Gaudi’s most famous buildings, there are also plenty of other examples of architectural artistry throughout Barcelona, including buildings like the Torre Agbar. The colorful 38-story building has drawn comparisons to The Gherkin in London and is particularly known for being spectacular at night, with stunning red and blue colors visible in the night sky. The Gaudi-inspired La Casa Comalat is another way to check out modern Catalan architecture without the intense crowds of some of the more popular sites in the city, offering a bit of respite off the beaten path while still enjoying one of the top sites of Barcelona.
Although known for its architecture and cuisine, Barcelona also has a thriving art scene thanks to its long history of being a haven for artists. The Picasso Museum remains an absolute must-see for both art aficionados and novices alike, although sliding through the galleries of Fundació Suñol can give you a terrific glimpse at the contemporary art scene of the city. In addition to a flurry of cafes and restaurants, popular hub Las Rambles also offers exciting street performances as well as a great overview of local culture.
Of course, even the most ardent supporters of arts and architecture might want to see what else drives the city of Barcelona, which might mean perusing a passionate sports scene that offers a variety of different activities. One way to jump headlong into Barcelonan sports culture is to catch the iconic F.C. Barcelona at the renowned home stadium Camp Nou, although watching a game of Takata in front of the Club Atletica Barcelona can give you a closer look at a lesser known part of the local sports life. You also might not want to forget about the beaches either, with options like popular Sant Sebastia Beach or the less well-known Llevant Beach providing some relaxation away from the heart of the city.
A day traversing Barcelona can obviously work up an appetite, although you’re obviously in luck thanks to the incredible array of fine-dining experiences available throughout the city. Those looking for a renowned eating experience might want to check out the fine-dining of two-star Michelin restaurant ABaC, yet there are plenty of other terrific local options that will give you a taste of what Barcelona has to offer. In addition to being well-known for tapas, the city’s restaurants also serve up delectable localized versions of main course favorites like paella and allioli before capping off the meal with a dessert like crema catalana, often sending dinnertime deep into the night in typical Barcelonian fashion.
Even if the incredible array of options can make planning a Barcelona trip seem difficult, we recommend starting with the essential things do. However, any route you choose is sure to lead to an amazing cultural encounter that is every bit as invigorating as it is unforgettable. Complete with awe-inspiring scenery, a rich cultural history and a spirited contemporary urban environment, Barcelona continues to draw explorers of all different interests for a reason.