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Visit Barcelona: All the essentials of a visit to Barcelona

Today I take you to discover one of the most touristic cities in Europe, the capital of Catalonia: Barcelona. Here are the main must-see tourist places to visit in Barcelona. A quick tour of what you should not miss during your stay in Barcelona, ​​but also practical advice to best organize this visit to Barcelona and my opinion on this visit to the essentials of Barcelona.

What to do and see in Barcelona?

La Sagrada Familia

The El Eixample district is split in two by Passeig de Gracia. It is in this district that the very famous Sagrada Familia is located. This basilica is one of the main must-sees in Barcelona. Last work of the architect Gaudi (1852-1926), it is still under construction but can still be visited. The use of different materials (slabs, stones of different kinds, glass) and the mixture of Art Nouveau and Gothic in the building, exude an eccentricity and dynamism typical of the architect. Eighteen towers of varying sizes, reaching up to 170 meters in height, make the construction incomparable to any other. From the top of the highest of these towers, one can discover a grandiose panorama.
But the most impressive is the moment you enter inside this majestic building. It contrasts completely with the exterior and the facades. The latter are loaded with symbols and patterns. The interior, meanwhile, is very sober, bright, white and airy.

The Ramblas

This 1.2 km long promenade is also called La Rambla. The plural exists to remind us that it is divided into 5 sections, each of which had its own particularity. Originally, it was a stream surrounded by walls. In the 16th and 17th centuries, many buildings were built on both sides: convents, educational and cultural centers. The wall was destroyed at the end of the 17th century and wealthy people came to settle in opulent residences, while the avenue became a promenade. Many flower and bird kiosks are installed as well as fountains, benches and pretty lampposts. In particular, you can admire the storefront of the Escriba pastry shop which dates from 1820, the Liceu theater which was built in the 19th century as well as the Palace of the Virreina, built in a baroque and rococo style.

Park Guell

It is one of the most beautiful green spaces in the world. Initially, Gaudi was to create a garden city, but financial problems led him to develop the park between 1900 and 1914, building only 4 houses there, two of which were shaped like mushrooms. Fountains, mosaics, serrated arches, pillars reminiscent of tree trunks,… The whole decoration aims to integrate this park into the surrounding nature. Today, many tourists come to admire this incomparable work and it is necessary to book your entrance ticket before going there, in order to avoid too many crowds.

Camp Nou

Among the must-see places to visit in Barcelona, ​​sports fans, and more particularly football fans, will appreciate a visit to the Camp Nou Stadium! Stadium of the mythical FC Barcelona football team, the visit immerses you in this environment for a few moments. Discover the history of the club since its creation, its many trophies proudly displayed, the other sports practiced in this same club and then visit the backstage of the matches: locker rooms, press conference room, commentary booths then comes the time to borrow the large corridor leading to the lawn where the most watched matches take place.
This visit takes you off the beaten track and off the beaten track and past masterpieces by Gaudi, but will interest both adults and youngsters. In addition, you will be accompanied by an audio guide in your language during your visit.

Plaza de Catalunya and the Palace of Music

This huge square is one of the must-see places in Barcelona. Located in the heart of the city, it is the hub of all transport: metro, bus, taxis, bicycle rental, etc. It is also the starting point of some major avenues, such as the Ramblas or Passeig de Gracia. Bordered by cafes, restaurants and other shops of all kinds, it has many interesting fountains and sculptures. Moreover, in the evening, you can admire a water and light show.
It is also here that you can discover the Palace of Music. This magnificent monument is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was built in 1908 by the architect Lluis Domenech I Montaner. You can discover it during a concert or visit it.

The Boquería market

The Boqueria market is one of the most important gastronomic places in the world. The Art Nouveau style entrance welcomes you for a discovery of picturesque stalls, with varied colors and unforgettable scents. You can also have a bite to eat in one of the restaurants there. Not far from there, leaning on the ground, you can also discover a mosaic of Miro: the Pla de l’Os.

The Bario Gotico and the Cathedral

This neighborhood is another of Barcelona’s must-sees. This is the medieval town center and its many alleys, which invite you to stroll. During your walks, you can admire the Palace of the Generalitat and the La Seu cathedral, a magnificent witness to Gothic art. The latter was built between the 13th and 15th centuries. Within it, nestles a cloister, a true haven of peace.
Plaça del Rei is surrounded by the Palazzo Real Major, built in the 13th century in a Gothic style. It now houses the city’s Medieval History Museum.
You can also admire the Mirador Tower of King Marti which dates from the 16th century and visit the Sainte Agathe chapel.

The Picasso Museum

The Picasso Museum is located in a trendy, very festive and always lively district, it is the El Born district. This museum is a must in Barcelona for all art lovers. Indeed, the Picasso Museum contains works of art: the beginnings of Picasso, but also works by Salvador Dali for example. The buildings in which this museum is located are also worth a visit.
After your visit to this museum, you can rest in the Parc de la Ciutadella, built in 1753. This is the largest park in the city and locals like to meet there. You can also visit the museum and the zoo, or take a boat trip on the lake.

Passeig de Gracia

In the 19th century, this avenue housed the homes of the most illustrious families in the city, but it was also a promenade for pedestrians and coaches. From the 20th century, it became the main artery for motorists. This is the longest and most luxurious avenue in Barcelona. While its luxury stores and major chains attract many people, tourists mainly visit it for the architecture of its houses, some of which are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as Casa Batllo and the Casa Mila which we will talk about right away.

Casa Batllo

As we have just said, Casa Batlló is located on one of the main streets of Barcelona: Passeig de Gracia. This magnificent house was completely renovated by Gaudi between 1904 and 1906. As soon as you enter, you will be impressed by its originality. Its facade seems magical, the curves and the mixture of colors, from green to blue, passing through orange. This palette of colors and shapes recall the world of the sea.

Once you have admired this astonishing facade, enter inside the building and discover an equally dizzying universe. It is a work of art in its own right thanks to the use of mosaics and stained glass that cover the floors up to the ceilings. Each piece is unique and takes you to a completely surprising marine setting. Gaudi has redoubled his ingenuity to offer pleasant, unique and above all, very practical accommodation.
The tour takes you up to the roof, passing through some thoughtful balconies. The roof is like the rest of the house: ingenious, practical but still very aesthetic and colorful. The smallest detail is important in the design thought out by Gaudi. A true work of art filled with ingenuity.

Casa Mila

Now let’s talk about the second house designed by Gaudi and located on Passeig de Gracia, us away from Casa Batllo. Casa Mila, also nicknamed La Pedrera, was created between 1906 and 1910 by Gaudi in an Art Nouveau style, very different from its neighbour. Its facade, in the shape of waves, is one of the marks of the originality of the architect who would have been inspired by the cliffs to design it. The large wrought iron balconies have motifs of plants, algae and rocks, motifs that are also found inside.

The use of marble and ceramics for the decoration of these 1835 m² on nine floors adds to the dreamlike side of the work.
Today, you can visit part of this building only, the rest having been rehabilitated in offices, apartments, …
The visit begins with a reconstructed apartment from Gaudi’s time, just as he imagined it. Furniture is an integral part of the home. It is also entirely designed to be aesthetic and above all, very functional. You will then access the vast attic of this building and then the roof, one of the most remarkable parts of the visit, due to the still very surprising shapes and the very present decoration. A true masterpiece, a must for a visit to Barcelona!

The Montjuïc

This district, located on the heights of the city, is accessible by metro or funicular. You can also admire the castle there. It is a military fortress 170 meters high. The National Museum of Catalan Art is worth a visit, as is the Miro Foundation. I present to you two essential sites just after.
The Fountain of Montjuic is the subject of a water and light show at nightfall. The botanical garden contains some 20,000 different plant species from all over the world.
It is also in this district that the Olympic stadium was built in 1992, while the Poble Espanyol was created in 1920, on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition. You can discover the most beautiful villages in Spain in miniature and become familiar with the architectural heritage, traditions and crafts of the country.

The Miro Foundation

The Joan Miro Foundation is therefore located on Montjuic, inside the park itself. This place is entirely dedicated to Joan Miro, a Barcelona artist born in the years in 1893. He was a complete artist, touching on different types of art: sculptures, paintings, drawings, …
His works are visible both outside and inside the museum. The museum presents the works in different rooms, chronologically exposing its different works. From his beginnings in Paris, then the war period to then conclude with a collection of more colorful and lively works.
It is very interesting to opt for the multimedia guide that will be offered to you at the entrance. You will learn more about the history of this great gentleman, his work and above all, about the works that you can admire!

The National Museum of Catalan Art

This is probably one of the most beautiful museums in the city! The National Art Museum of Catalonia brings together a spectacular collection of works of art from Catalonia from the Middle Ages to the beginning of the 20th century. Art lovers will be delighted.
The richness of this collection is considerable. During your visit, you will pass from one era to another: start with some religious pieces in the Gothic style, then Romanesque frescoes dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, and beautiful sculptures and other pieces of furniture designed by Gaudi for example.
You will also discover sumptuous paintings designed by the greatest painters in history: El Greco, Diego Velasquez, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. These names inevitably evoke something for you, whether you are an art lover or not.
This museum is a little nugget, a must in Barcelona that I highly recommend. An audio guide will be offered to you at the entrance. And above all, do not miss the view from the roof terrace. This one is splendid, particularly at the end of the day, at sunset.

Barceloneta

The visit to this fishing district, created from 1753, begins with the ascent of the Mirador de Colomb, 60 meters high and built in 1888, in homage to the navigator of the same name. From the top of this iron column located on a stone base, there will be a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings. The squared streets of the district are typical.
Some must-see visits are to be made, such as the aquarium or the Catalonian History Museum.
The Aquarium is one of the largest in Europe and is worth a visit to better understand the Mediterranean and its depths. This visit will appeal to both children and parents!
The History Museum of Catalonia, meanwhile, allows you to better understand the evolution of the region. Its panoramic restaurant offers a magnificent view of the district.
You can also take a funicular to get from the Olympic Port to Montjuic. This is where the most beautiful beaches in Barcelona are located.

The beach

Speaking of the most beautiful beaches in Barcelona, ​​the location of the city, close to the sea, allows it to offer many possibilities to its visitors. Whether it’s a boat trip, an initiation to surfing or stand-up paddle, or just enjoying its large white sand beaches, Barcelona is full of surprises. The beaches are lined with restaurants and bars of all kinds, offering a certain life in high season. Swimmers will find a perfect spot after the Marina. For lovers of walking or jogging, a very pleasant promenade has been laid out along the beach.

Gastronomy !

It was difficult for me to present you the essentials of Barcelona without addressing the subject of gastronomy! This point is particularly important for us French people. Especially since Spanish gastronomy in general is rather pleasant to taste.
So, I offer you a small overview of the essentials of Barcelona for your taste buds.
First of all, you should know that Barcelona is home to great, daring and modern chefs. Molecular cuisine is particularly popular in the Catalan capital. There are as many tapas bars in Barcelona, ​​as in all of Spain!
Barcelona is also a city located on the shores of the Mediterranean, which is synonymous with fresh and excellent seafood: fish, prawns, cuttlefish, but also olive oil, garlic, … You will have understood it, the local cuisine is tasty and spicy.
Salsa Romesco is the typical example of Barcelona gastronomy: a sauce made from tomatoes, red peppers, garlic, almonds and always a drizzle of olive oil.
And for dessert, you can opt for a Catalan cream, a kind of crème brûlée where the cream is replaced by milk. A treat for gourmets!
Finally, the best for last, a kind of local champagne to accompany your dessert: Cava. A sangria recipe is made with Cava to replace the original red wine. I advise you to taste!

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