What to do…
Barcelona offers a wealth of exciting tourist attractions as well as some fabulous art galleries, historical monuments, avant-garde buildings and beautiful open spaces.
But part of the charm of this city is being able to sit on a café terrace sipping a chilled beer watching the world go by. Our advice to you on your visit to the city would be to combine the ‘must-see’ tourist hot spots with some café culture and window shopping.
Just to help you on your way, here are intoBarcelona`s top ten things to do on your visit:
1. Take a wander up the tree-lines Paseo de Gracia, Barcelona’s most famous boulevard. Start at Plaza Catalunya and prepare for some serious window shopping as well as Gaudi highlights: Casa Batlló (1907), one of Gaudí’s most remarkable works (the ground floor, in particular, is astonishing), and the stunning Casa Milà ( La Pedrera, 1912). For a spot of lunch, hang out at the bar at Ciutat Comtal in the parallel street Rambla Catalunya 18 where they have some exquisite ‘montaditos’ (tapas on bread).
2. If you are visiting in summer then pop downearly evening to one of the Chiringuitos (beach bars) in Barceloneta or Mar Bella, a little further up. Even if you have kids in tow, it’s a great way to end the day (bring a bucket and spade). As well as drinks, most chiringuitos offer decent tapas, whether it be a simple bowl of olives or fried calamari.
3. Take one of Barcelona`s cable cars (teleferic) from the Torre Sant Sebastia in Barceloneta to Montjuic. It’s the ideal way to get to see the city’s layout with its criss-cross roads of Eixample and the more huddled streets of the Old Town, Tibidabo mountain, the Mediterranean Sea and on a clear day, even the foothills of the Pyrenees. Montjuic is worth visiting in itself – home to the Olympic village from the 1992 Olympic Games ad well as the dive and swim complex.
5. If you are staying in el Born, then your back garden is the beautiful Parc de la Ciutudella. Here there is normally some festival or other taking place and if not, you have the boating lake, endless green space for picnics, the Gaudi fountain & bandstand and up the far end Barcelona zoo. If you are travelling with kids, they’ll love the playground where free toys are on offer at set times of the day.
6. If you want to just to do one cultural visit on your trip to Barcelona, then it goes without saying that Gaudi’s most famous work, La Sagrada Familia is a must-see. Gaudí devoted his last years to the project and at the time of his death in 1926, less than a quarter of the project was complete. In 2010, building work passed the mid-point in 2010 with an anticipated completion date of 2026—the centennial of Gaudí’s death. Just be warned you can be queueing for a while so get there early.
7. Cycle along the seafront. Many people forget when visiting Barcelona that is has so much to offer along its coastline. There are a loads of places where you can hire bikes (including right next to the Esparteria apartments) and it is an excellent way to see the city (and get a tan). Take your bike from your apartment in el Born and down Joan de Borbó and the Old Port. When you get to Barceloneta hang a left and go along the seafront past the Olympic Port to the Forum.
8. If you fancy experiencing Barcelona from the sea, why not do it by Catamaran? Catamaran Orsom is the largest in the Port (23m) and can take up to 80 passengers. There are day tours and evening jazz tours as well as tailor made tours for parties, weddings and hen & stag nights. The same company is also offering speedboat tours to and from the Forum www.barcelona-orsom.com.
9. If it is a clear day, a trip to Gaudi’s Parc Guell is a must. From the upper terraced area, there are incredible panoramic views of the city including Montjuic, the Sagrada Familia and the Mediterranean. The park contains some amazing tiling and stunning orginal buildings and is typical Gaudí. The park is located a little out from the centre of the city so the easiest way to get there is by taxi. You can also get the metro, but be warned the walk to the entrance is up up up!
10. Finally, take a day trip. If you have time we recommend a trip to Sitges, Girona, San Pol de Mar or Montserrat. All are relatively close by train or car. Sitges offers 6 miles of beaches and a town full of architecture and history, while Girona offers all the history and shopping without the beaches. San Pol de Mar is a little piece of paradise on the Costa Brava, and Montserrat is a breathtaking mini mountain range with a reputation for startlingly still air…