I visited Barcelona for a second time this year as it is truly a magical city. There is so much to see and do that cramming it in to a long weekend for my friend who has never seen the city before was quite a mission. We stayed in the Hotel Catalonia in the plaza de Espana, which I would highly recommend. There was a huge shopping mall right next door and we were just within walking distance of the town. There was a cheap shuttle bus running to and from the airport and a metro right outside so getting around the city was easy and affordable.
The most obvious and un-missable place to visit when you hit Barcelona is La Rambla, which is where I suggest you go if you only have one day to enjoy the city. The bustling mile long boulevard is lined with human statues, fortune tellers, stalls, canaries in cages, kiosks, flowers stalls and restaurants. But remember to not get too carried away with the sights and smells and forget to hang on to your belongings as La Rambla is a pickpocket hotspot. Beware of people who try and distract you by dancing with you whilst their accomplice pokes their hand into your handbag!
There is an absolutely incredible food market, la Boqueria, just off la Rambla serving the most amazing array of fresh food. The shapes, sizes and colours of the fruit and veg in their natural form will make you swear to never step foot in a supermarket again. Bread, fish, meat, nuts, seeds, berries and spices are on offer from a number of vendors. Some of the food is only for those with eclectic taste buds demonstrated by the intestines and head of a lamb which provoked exclamations of disgust from most tourists. The decadent patisserie products swathed in chocolate on the other hand received nothing but admiration. I had the most amazingly calorific but perfect in every other way croissant with a fruit shake whilst I was there. It’s a shame that crossing borders restricts you from buying every tasty thing in sight; it is best to gorge yourself whilst you are there and accept the sad fact that you will not be creating a truly authentic paella with fresh ingredients from the market when you get home.
So once you have rambled down la Rambla, you will hit the sea. It was a lot quieter down here and we chilled out with a coffee overlooking the ships and boats in the port. On a sunny day there is nothing nicer than having a drink here enjoying the view and people watching. Alternatively venture to the square outside the breathtaking gothic Barcelona Cathedral and soak up the building’s magnificence. It is well worth taking a look inside and also wondering around the gothic quarter beyond. You are sure to be taken aback by the distinct difference between this eerie area of the city and the lively La Rambla.
The gothic cathedral is not the only cathedral worth a visit in the city, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most famous creations in the city. The city is crawling with Gaudi’s fairytale architecture- Park Güell is another magical Gaudi work of art emulating an English garden. It really is essential that you see some art whilst in Barcelona and the obvious place to start is Gaudi or perhaps Picasso. Pablo Picasso fans can visit the landmarks that shaped his youth finishing at the Museo Picasso which records the artwork of Picasso’s formative years. Fundació Juan Miró is another fabulous museum with over 150 sculptures, 115 paintings and graphic pieces. There really is no end to the artistic delights the city of Barcelona has to offer.
An artistic appreciation of the city is not something that everyone would enjoy, but Barcelona has plenty of other things to offer besides art and historical site seeing. Camp Nou is home to one of the biggest football clubs in the world, Barcelona FC and the celebrated, Lionel Messi. A walking tour of the club takes you into the changing rooms, the press room and right to the pitch side. Sports fans might also enjoy a visit to the 1992 Olympic stadium, just a short ride from the town centre.
There is so much to see and do in Barcelona that it is hard to fit it all in one article. Just see where your feet take you and it’s sure to be somewhere magical. Oh and try to fit in some flamenco dancing if you can!
Lucy Carswell is a Blogger and Marketing Assistant at Edward Baden Office Relocation. Edward Baden is an international company specializing in business relocations, working alongside its sister company, Cube Self Storage. A storage company, specialising in secure document storage and climate controlled storage for fine art and fine wines.