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For the Love of Travel

Barcelona things to do in 2019

Barcelona, Catalonia’s pulsating capital, is a beautiful beach city that shows off her splendor and happy lifestyle. Attractive views, majestic architecture, and fascinating cultural attractions make for an appealing destination.

The city’s pleasant Mediterranean climate is an added charm. Barcelona has the mood of an old quarter almost like a medieval ambiance, but still even more famous for its Modern architecture. Leaving a legacy in Barcelona is Antoni Gaudí with his unconventional Surrealist buildings where some are also listed in UNESCO.

Whether you want merely unwind and soak up the city’s colorful vibe, escape the sandy beaches, and go with friends over laidback meals on outdoor terraces, Barcelona will not disappoint.

Check out other hotspots you can only experience in Barcelona:

Basilica de la Sagrada Familia

La Sagrada Familia

This dramatic basilica which is amongst Europe’s most Avante-Garde churches is Barcelona’s most popular tourist spot. A UNESCO-listed attraction, the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is situated in the northern part of the city, standing out with its 18 spindly towers soaring high above the rest of the monuments. The Basilica of the Sacred Family is identified by its Spanish’s official name: Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família.

Historical fact: In 1883, Antoni Gaudí was tasked to design the basilica as a neo-Gothic church. However, instead of following the original plans, he built a signature model of his popular surrealistic Art Nouveau architecture. Gaudí had no definite ideas in mind, desiring to change and add to the plans as work progressed. Even though Gaudí had initially forecast between 10 and 15 years, the church was never completed. Therefore, the primary work by the most valuable Catalan architect of present times, continue to just be a shell, and no one knows whether or when it will ever be completed.

Tourists are amazed by the elegant exterior with its dramatic Nativity facade presenting the Jesus’ natal, and the Passion facade that shows Jesus’ pains, death, and resurrection. Also magnificent is its interior which covers ninety meters long of space by sixty meters high. The ceiling dazzles with lavish ornate details, and vibrant stained-glass windows allow daylight to come in. The apse brings out an unusual Crucifix made as a canopy with lanterns. The overall effect is astonishing. Gaudí best described the heart of his architectural masterpiece when he defined it as “a work that is in the hands of God and the will of the people.”

Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter)

Barri Gòtic

For more than two thousand years, the Gothic Quarter has been the religious and secular center of the city. Remnants from ancient Roman buildings can still be found here, but the Middle Ages are best embodied by the historical monuments brought together into this quarter. A masterwork of Gothic structural design, the medieval church rests on Monte Tabor, the tallest area in the town proper. This is the place Christopher Columbus was welcomed by the Catholic Monarchs after his first trip to the New World, and ever since the 14th and 15th centuries, the city government has had their office here.

Explore around to discover this magical medieval world that is free of traffic, a lovely labyrinth of narrow cobblestone streets and alleyways that are full of character. Discover quiet squares, Instagram worthy spaces made livelier by people’s chitchat and laugh or from the strum of a classical Spanish guitar. In the Gothic Quarter’s secret corner, kids frequently play soccer, and a lot of small cafés with sidewalk terraces are seen in charming courtyards. With its enticing restaurants, tiny boutiques, and museums, the Gothic Quarter is a happy place for visitors to explore. Don’t leave without checking out Picasso Museum and the Plaça del Rei town square wherein open concerts are held.

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Parc Güell: Gaudí’s Surrealist Park

Parc Güell

Vibrant, happy, and full of fancy, this superb dreamlike park is an additional UNESCO World Heritage Site created by Antoni Gaudí. Constructed from 1900 and 1914, the Park Güell is landscaped beautifully and features structural elements in Gaudí’s signature style. Grottoes, viaducts, a colonnaded hall, twisted staircases, and semi-closed conversation seating are spread throughout the area. These creative structures are adorned in multicolored ceramic pieces. A stunning terrace presents sweeping views of the city and the ocean. Gaudí himself fell in love with the area of the city that he built his home here. The Casa Museu Gaudí, which is bordered by a lovely garden, occupies the house where Gaudi lived; the collection shows varied artworks, most of it decorative furniture and objects, designed by Gaudí.

La Rambla: Barcelona’s Social Hub

La Rambla

La Rambla is where the heart of Barcelona’s social life can be found. It is a wide, tree-lined road that separates the Old Town into 2 areas. This broad street that features wide pedestrian sidewalks is lined amid a lot of restaurants, shops, and outdoor coffee shops, making it among the most famous hangouts in the city. All through the day, numerous locals are seen here to do their daily shopping at the Mercat de la Boqueria, a vibrant market that is selling vegetables, fruits, and other food items. In the evening, groups of families and friends take their night walk on La Rambla to enjoy the fresh air and dynamic ambiance. Visitors usually take pleasure in the amusing spontaneous street performances. Depending on the day, onlookers might be treated to live music or a mime show.

La Rambla frames the Barri Gòtic on its northeast side and mid down the avenue is the Plaça Reial, a beautiful palm-fringed square surrounded by historical houses. These lavish structures have arcades full of cafés, shops, and restaurants. In the middle is the Fountain of the Three Graces with a candelabra created by Antoni Gaudí. Palau Güell is also one of the important monuments on La Rambla. It’s a flamboyant mansion constructed by Antoni Gaudí in 1886. Eusebi Güell, the building owner was a great patron of the arts, and the structure was built with a large domed hall meant for poem readings and private concert performances. All of the building mirrors Güell’s massive wealth, with splendid decor, valued textiles, and handmade furniture designed by Gaudí.

Casa Mila (La Pedrera)

Casa Mila

Antoni Gaudí’s most renowned secular building in the Eixample district off the stylish boulevard of Passeig de Gràcia is Casa Milà. Warmly known as “La Pedrera,” which means “The Stone Quarry” because the structure bears a resemblance to an open quarry, the UNESCO-listed site is constructed from 1906 to 1912, this loud avant-garde residence mirrors a work of sculpture other than a working building. Each line of the natural stone frontage is curved, with round windows as well as metal balcony railings that twine around in plant-like forms even though the roof has a surging shape complemented by the decorative chimneys.

The building’s entrance is on the Carrer de Provença, via a stunning wrought-iron gate that directs to an indoor courtyard. The ribbed arches that were designed for load-bearing purposes hold up the structure, an element that shows Gaudí’s genius as a structural engineer. Tourists may stroll around the roof patio for a closer look at the strange formed mosaic-adorned chimneys. The roof area is an added bonus for visitors, giving sensational sights of the city, with views extending to the Basilica de Sagrada Família in the distance. Casa Mila accommodates the Fundació Catalunya cultural center that carries out events all through the year. The place is open daily to the general audience for visits, with audio guides available. A great stopover for visitors is the Cafè La Pedrera which is a relaxing place for a snack at a site worthy of the venue.

Theme Park and Picturesque Views in Montjuïc

Montjuïc, Barcelona

This top of the hill neighborhood is located in an old Jewish cemetery, thus the term “Mont Juïc,” which when translated means “Mountain of the Jews.” Situated 213m above the sea, the hillside is capped by a fortress on its peak and it tilts steeply down to the Mediterranean. The picturesque part of the city is most well-known for the Tibidabo Amusement Park but is also recognized for its attraction natural park with beautiful views and excellent museums. The National Art Museum of Catalonia has a brilliant collection of Catalan art between the 10th to the 20th centuries, which includes paintings, sculpture, drawings, engravings, and photos. A Spanish Village called The Poble Espanyol is another famous site to visit. This pretty village was constructed for the 1929 World Exhibition. Montjuïc was the location of the 1992 Summer Olympics, and visitors may spot the stadium where Olympic competitions were held.

Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló

The UNESCO-listed site Casa Batlló is also one of Gaudí’s creation redesigned in 1904, one of Barcelona’s most character Modernist buildings. The mansion was made for the textile manufacturer Josep Batlló i Casanovas as a private dwelling. With its freely swinging forms and decorative frontage, this dreamy building resembles a castle from a fairy tale. Classified as Art Nouveau, many of the design features are far different from any standard structure. The ground floor has an oval window that resembles entrances to caves. On the facade, decorative glazed ceramic tiles in colors of blue, green, and yellow ochre add to the lavishness. The wave-shaped roof, similar to the back of a dinosaur, has several decorative chimneys.

Monestir de Pedralbes

Monestir de Pedralbes

The Monestir de Pedralbes is a great sample of Catalan Gothic architecture. The convent stands in a beautiful small park called the Jardines Reina Elisenda. This serene garden is full of palms, organic shrubs, cypresses, and shaded trees. Founded in 1326 by Queen Elisenda de Montcada for the Order of Saint Clare, the convent features a stunning Gothic church and an idyllic three-story cloister so people can enjoy a relaxing time out in the tranquil setting while discovering about the life and work of 14th-century nuns.

Quadrat d’Or

quadrat d'or barcelona

The Quadrat d’Or or Quadrant of Gold) is a part of the Eixample district known for its Modern architecture where the neighborhood was constructed with funds given by the city’s affluent families. The area is surrounded by the Avinguda de la Diagonal, the Plaça de Catalunya, Carrer de Muntaner and the Passeig de Sant Joan. The unusual buildings were inspired by Antoni Gaudí’s work and were built during the late 19th century. Many architects left their mark on the vicinity, resulting in diverse modern design buildings.

Museu de Zoologia

museu de zoologia barcelona

Zoological Museum known in Spanish as Museu de Zoologia is located in a Moorish-inspired building in the Parc de la Ciutadella which was constructed for the 1888 World Exhibition. The structure is recognized as the Castell dels Tres Dragons or Castle of Three Dragons due to its 3 towers. The large collection displays exhibitions of varied animal groups which are utilized for teaching and research and purposes.

Best Accommodation Choices according to Budget in Barcelona

While a lot of Barcelona’s attractions are seen in the streets of the Gothic Quarter and in the adjacent Eixample district, others are spread in different directions. Good thing for tourists, there is a huge choice of hotels in these neighborhoods in all budget ranges. Check out some of the most recommended hotels in Barcelona:

  • Luxury Hotels

  • Standing in an excellent location in the center of the old Gothic Quarter is Mercer Hotel Barcelona with a rooftop pool to boot. Just a short stroll away from La Rambla is Casa Camper Hotel Barcelona which includes breakfast and all day complimentary snacks, while El Palace Hotel is all about lavishness in a vintage building, a rooftop pool, afternoon tea, and spa.
  • Mid-Range Hotels

  • Close to La Rambla is Yurbban Trafalgar Hotel which has a rooftop pool too. The EuroPark Hotel is surrounded by restaurants and shops in smart Eixample, flanked by Gaudi’s church of La Sagrada Familia and Gothic Quarter. 2 blocks away from La Rambla Room is Mate Pau found along the Gothic Quarter, offering well-designed rooms consistent with Room Mate’s fashionable brand image.
  • Budget Hotels

  • In the middle of the restaurants and shopping neighborhood is Hotel Curious. It’s located just off La Rambla and close to La Boqueria market and the airport bus stop. A lot of the rooms at Hotel Constanza Barcelona have balconies and is only a few blocks north of the Gothic Quarter. Even though it is just a thirty-minute stroll to the Gothic Quarter, Ibis Barcelona Centro is very close to La Sagrada Familia, the metro station connecting to all the city’s attractions.