1. Sagrada Familia
If you only get to see one thing whilst in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia is it. This huge cathedral has been in a state of construction since as far back as 1882, and there is at least another 20 years or so until it is complete. It is the most famous building of the most famous Spanish architect of them all, Antoni Gaudi, who died in 1926. It is a project on a vast scale, a truly original monument that seems entirely fitting to such a fantastic city as Barcelona.
Gaudi worked on the building up until his death, focusing on nothing else for the last 12 years of his life. Its incredible, original design has made it instantly recognisable, and it is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the city. A guided tour is worth taking to find out all about the history of the building. It’s also found right on Metro Line 5 so it’s easy to reach.
2. Parc Guell
La Sagrada Familia may be Gaudi’s masterpiece, but Park Guell is a close second. This huge park is full of a large number of attractions designed by Gaudi, with new wonders appearing around every corner. It gets its name from Eusebi Guell, who commissioned it to be a luxury villa for himself, and was built between 1900 and 1914. At one point it was going to contain luxury houses for the rich residents of Barcelona, but luckily it was converted into a public park that you can walk around for free.
So impressive is the park that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it includes La Torre Rosa, Gaudi’s old house that has now been converted into a museum. There are also numerous statues and a wonderful viewing area with a cafe to admire the city from above. It’s a steep walk to the top, and there are even outdoor escalators to help along the way, but it’s most definitely worth it.
3. Camp Nou
For any fan of the beautiful game, a trip to Barcelona should not definitely include a visit to the stadium of one of the best teams in Europe. The Camp Nou is one of the best stadiums on the continent, which is fitting as it is home to one of the best teams in the world. With a capacity of over 90,000, it is a vast arena that is impressive enough on a simple guided tour. But if you’re lucky enough to catch a game here then it will be an experience you won’t forget. And should you be really lucky and get a seat to witness the visit of Barcelona’s arch rivals Real Madrid, you’ll be able to watch one of the most passionate games in world football.
Built in 1957, the stadium also hosts a shop, a chapel for the players and the most visited museum in the whole of Catalonia, with over a million people making the journey to this Mecca of football to witness the over 400 trophies that Barcelona FC has managed to gather during its reign. Not to be missed.
4. Picasso Museum
Barcelona is a city of art, and nowhere do you realise this more than in the Picasso Museum. This is an absolute must for anyone with even the slightest interest in Pablo Ruiz Picasso, and for real fans it will be a definite highlight of your trip.
There are over 3,800 works in the permanent collection, a hugely impressive wealth of incredible artworks that show the development of the artist from young experimentalist to modern master. Opening back in 1963, the museum is rightfully placed in Barcelona, a city which Picasso shared a real connection with throughout his life.
Regular exhibitions are always changing, so you never know quite what you’re going to get, and the building itself, situated right in the heart of the old city, helps bring the experience to life.
5. La Rambla
Once you’ve seen all the main attractions of Barcelona, get out in the open air and take a stroll down La Rambla. This is the large street through the centre of the city that is over 1.2 kilometres in length. Lined by trees and completely pedestrian, it stretches from Placa de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus monument.
It is in reality a number of different streets, all given different names for different parts. The final part, the Rambla de Mar, goes right down to the harbour. Lots of shops, restaurants and tourists fill the street, and on a sunny day there is no better way to see the city by foot.
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