Barcelona may only be the second largest city in Spain, but it is one of the most visited cities in the world. I maybe biased because I’ve made Barcelona my home but I also believe it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world. From contemporary art to a sun drenched beach here are the highlights of Barcelona…
Parc de la Ciutadella
If there is one attraction in Barcelona that everyone must see while in the city, then I personally think it should be Parc de la Ciutadella. Parc de la Ciutadella is a public park that was created in 1877, and it offers several great things to do in one location. It’s a tranquil place which is home to a citadel, waterfall and lake. While these features are absolutely beautiful, the Barcelona Zoo, zoology museum and geology museum are probably the main reasons why it draws so many visitors.
National Art Museum of Catalonia
Art is a major part of the culture of Barcelona, and the National Art Museum of Catalonia is one of the best places to experience the great art offered in the city. The National Art Museum of Catalonia was established in 1934, and they currently have just under 300,000 items on display. The museum is best known for its vibrant collections of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque artwork. Peter Paul Reubens, El Greco and Francisco de Goya are some of the famous artists with their works on display at the museum.
Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art
While the National Art Museum of Catalonia is best known for their collections of older artwork, all of the pieces on display at the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art were created after 1950. The museum was created in 1995, and it currently has seven different exhibitions on display. Andy Warhol, Anselm Kiefer and Sigmar Polke are a few of the top artists on display at the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.
La Barceloneta Beach
There is no better place in the city to enjoy the beautiful weather than La Barceloneta Beach. The beach has regularly been named one of the top beaches in the world. There are also several great restaurants and sculptures located within walking distance. One of the best things you can do in the city is to spend an entire day on the beach, especially when the sun is shining (which is often). When the sun goes down there are plenty of great bars which line the beautiful beach, so there’s no excuse not to grab a cocktail or two.
One of the most iconic structures in the city, Sagrada Familia was built in 1882, and it was officially named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. It’s an imposing sight and I think there’s no better example of Gothic and Art Nouveau architecture in the world. Sagrada Familia is easily one of the most beautiful churches in the world but it’s a controversial building. It has famously been under construction 1882 and it’s not expected to be completed for between 30 to 80 years. In spite of the building work, tours are available at the church every day.
Another famous image of Barcelona is the UNESCO listed world heritage site Park Guell. It’s a garden complex filled with bright and a little eccentric architecture designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi built in the years 1900 to 1914. Located on the hill of El Carmel (the Gracia district of the city) it’s quite a climb – especially when the weather is hot – but be assured this place is really worth it. To avoid the worst of the midday crowds aim to visit early in the morning.
Another fine example of extraordinary architecture in the city is Casa Batlló. It’s construction was the result of a total restoration in 1904 of an old conventional house built in 1877. Gaudi again worked his magic and turned it into one of the most photographed houses in the city. Although it wasn’t always this way – it was once highly criticized for its radical design.
Even if you have a few days in the city, you will find plenty to do. Plan your trip well and you can visit all these sites in a weekend or a short city break, I just hope you enjoy the city as much as I do.
By Barcelona ex-pat and part-time travel writer Amanda Adams. Originally from the UK she enjoys the cafe culture and the sunshine of Barcelona. Park Guell, the beach and Casa Battlo photos were taken by Gray.