The famous stomping ground of Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona is one of the world’s most captivating cities, a seaside gem adorned with fabled architecture, historic streets, world-class cuisine and a very healthy nightlife scene. Vivaciously Catalan at heart, it’s Spain’s second-largest city and offers a distinctly different flavour to the capital, Madrid. While there’s so much to see and do, don’t miss these top five things to do in Barcelona.
It’s the famous unfinished masterpiece of Gaudi that Barcelona is so famous for, a church still being pieced together bit by bit to this day. Under construction since 1882, there’s still a way to go, but that doesn’t make it any less fascinating. Gaudi’s all-consuming obsession, it’s a medieval mammoth of detail, symbolism and undeniable vertical presence; its tallest spire will reach 170 metres. A feast for the eyes, this is history in the making.
This whimsical hillside park is where nature interplays with the unique visions of Gaudi, putting his rule-breaking ideas in new light, in a verdant setting. One of the world’s most impressive man-made landscapes, wander the steps and winding paths to discover amazing buildings, eye-catching sculptures and no shortage of mesmerising mosaics. Include a stop at the Gaudi House Museum and don’t miss the fabulous panoramas out across the city.
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Barcelona is one of Europe’s great beachside cities, with its toes dipped in the sparkling Mediterranean. There are many beaches spanning all the sandy flavours, from bustling and resort-lined to quiet little coves and a few that require no bikini at all. Barceloneta however is the most popular, a central stretch of shoreline oozing atmosphere thanks to the thumping music and hoards of sun-lovers. Even if not to swim, it’s also a great place to relax over seafood dishes and tapas with a view.
Even if you’re not a football fan, the passion and roar that fills the stands at Camp Nou Stadium is an experience that’s impossible to forget. Devoted soccer fans truly set the atmosphere for games played on the home field by the legendary Futbol Club Barcelona. For those in the action behind-the-scenes taste, wander through the most emblematic areas of the stadium, explore the museum and multimedia exhibits.
Really feel the distinctive ‘vibe’ of Barcelona with a leisurely amble up the tree-lined pedestrian mall, Las Ramblas, which cuts through the heart of the city centre. Stretching for more than a kilometre, it’s vibrant and lively and offers fascinating insight into Catalan culture. As well as the nightlife spots, dining, hotels and shops, you’ll discover the Christopher Columbus monument, the La Boqueria Food Market and a few other local attractions along the way.
• Casa Batllo
• Gothic Quarter
• Picasso Museum
• Cathedral of Santa Eulalia
• Montjuic Castle
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