Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city, is inextricably linked to the architecture of Antoni Gaudi. His most famous and unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, is the emblem of the city.
Like the basilica, Barcelona takes traditional ideas and presents them in new, even outrageous, forms. The city's bursts of building and innovation give the impression that it's still being conceived. Both the church and the city can be tough places to get a handle on, yet their complexity is invigorating rather than forbidding.
Since it hosted the Summer Olympics in 1992, Barcelona has been on the hot list of European destinations. The staging of the Universal Forum of Cultures in 2004 also raised the city's profile. Over the past decade, better infrastructure, increased cruise ship traffic and a reputation for gastronomic excellence have put Barcelona at the forefront of European city destinations. (Copyright ©2020 Northstar Travel Media LLC. All Rights Reserved)
BARCELONA POINTS OF INTEREST
The Ramblas Barcelona's famous tree-lined street, the Ramblas is lively day and night with street performers and stalls and shops selling everything from jewelry to tropical fish. La Ruta del Modernismo Gaudí's incredible flight of fantasy, the still-unfinished La Sagrada Familia church is an inspirational start to an exploration of Barcelona's "modernista" architecture.
Spend a day in the gardens, museums and amusement park on the mountain of Montjuïc, taking in art from Romanesque to Miró, and Spain's architectural history in the Poble Espagnol.
The Port The newly cleaned up beaches of Port Vell or Port Olímpic are a great place to sun bathe before sampling the paella from one of the sea-view restaurants.
Museu Picasso The Museu Picasso holds one of the most important collections of the great man's art in the world - muse over paintings from his famous Blue Period in the setting of a beautiful medieval palace.
La Seu Cathedral Situated in the heart of the old town, the Seu Cathedral is one of the great Gothic buildings in Spain, whose soaring interior and rich altar pieces easily live up to the grandeur of its facade.
Tibidabo The views from the top of Mount Tibidabo, which forms the northwestern limit of the city, are superb. On clear days you can see not only the whole of Barcelona, but across to Montserrat and the Pyrenees, and out to sea as far as Mallorca.
Parc de la Ciutadella A short step from the old town, the Ciutadella park offers a refreshing break from the streets. It encompasses a lake, the city zoo, Gaudí's monumental fountain and the Museu d'Art Modern.
La Boqueira The bustling Boqueria food market is the largest in the city, assaulting the senses with its noise and smells. If it makes you hungry, there are some great snack bars at the back.
Passeig de Gràcia and Rambla de Cataluny These smart boulevards, leading off from the Plaça de Catalunya, are a great place to spend your pesetas in a series of swanky stores, in between admiring the architecture and relaxing in open-air cafés.
If you have any questions about Barcelona, let me know - I've personally been and have visited all the sites in this blog post as well as many others in the city. This is only the tip of the iceberg! While travel is still curtailed, remember to stay travel inspired. Start or continue making your #BookItList for destinations you would like to visit, both near and far - domestic and international.
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