There is little doubt that Spain is home to riveting, historical and glorious cities such as Madrid, Sevilla and Granada. But if there’s time to visit only one city, then Barcelona should be it. Located on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, Barcelona offers everything an inquisitive and world traveler could ever want: a rich history, incomparable architecture, vast collections of art, warm and inviting locals and on lazy summer days, a relaxing day at the beach. After it hosted the Olympic Summer Games in 1992, Barcelona was finally given the credit it has long deserved and was established (or affirmed) as one of the world’s leading cosmopolitan cities. The extensive waterfront that was designed for the games only added to an already inviting and alluring city, where a unique mixture of Art Nouveau, Gothic and Moorish architectural styles take visitors from one century to the next in an unforgettable and flawless manner. From immortalized locals like Antonio Gaudi and Pablo Picasso, to equally interesting yet lesser-known citizens, the characters that emerge from Barcelona will draw you back time and again. Any visitor’s starting point should be La Rambla, the city’s beloved boulevard, which is lined with restaurants, shops and cafes. As you take a leisurely stroll down this pedestrian-laden promenade, revel in the faces, the feeling and the ambiance. It is surely a sight you will not soon forget.
Five best things to do in Barcelona
- La Sagrada Familia – This out of the ordinary temple was started in 1882 and unbelievably it has not been finished yet. It was originally supposed to be a modest, neo-Gothic church, but it is now considered the most famous building in Barcelona. The most amazing features of the building are the baroque style, the mixture of colors and the diversity of materials used. The building actually uses ceramics, mosaic, iron, plaster and a variety of stone types. It is open daily from 9:00am – 8:00pm.
- Tibidabo – At Tibidabo, you will find the city’s oldest and only remaining amusement park that was built in 1899! It’s a great place to enjoy over thirty different and exciting rides. Be sure to take in La Atalaya, to enjoy its fantastic views. Amazingly, some of the original 19th century attractions are still there, like the Museo de Automatas. Operating hours change, so check with the park.
- La Zoo – Located in the Parc de la Ciutadella, with over 7,000 animals and 500 species this zoo is one of the best in the world. It features dolphin shows and other mammals performing daily at 11:30am, 1:30 pm, and 4:00pm. A wonderful way to see tropical birds, reptiles, spiders, tigers and much more!
- Museu Picasso – This museum houses many of his important early works, including engravings, lithographs and pottery. Another bonus is the opportunity to see regular temporary exhibitions that showcase different aspects of the artist’s works. Open from Tuesday to Sunday 10:00am to 8:00pm.
- Catedral – This Cathedral’s history began in a small chapel in the 1st century. In 1298, the construction of the present Gothic temple was initiated and the last detail, the central needle, was incorporated in 1913. This cathedral is a breathtaking work of art that everyone who visits should behold. Enjoy mass or visit during regular hours Monday to Friday 8:00am to 1:30pm and 4:00pm to 7:30 pm. Saturday and Sunday 8:00 am to 1:30 pm and 5:00 pm to 7:30 pm.