It seems redundant to point it out, but Spain has been a top visited country for a while now.
Tourists come to Spain for several reasons: sunshine, beautiful beaches, rich historic heritage, or exciting artistic opportunities the country has to offer.
Out of all the alluring places tourists can revel in, the coastal region of Cataloniais a top pick. Here you canexplore beautiful Costa Brava, famous for its beaches, but also Barcelona, the second largest city in the country, home to both Gaudi andone of the best soccer teams in the world, FC Barcelona.
Let’s explore together the best reasons why you should take a trip to beautiful Barcelona.
1. The markets
Barcelona is known for having some of the most interesting markets in the country. The city’s most famous food market is Mercat de Sant Jose, more commonly known as La Boqueria. Due to its central location inthe Ciutat Vella district and access from La Rambla,the town’s most popular street, La Boqueria is easily accessible andis worth a stop by. You can grab a cup of freshly squeezed juice and explore at your own pace.If you’re hungry juststop at one of the numerous “bars” inside the market.You’ll be served pinchos – small skewered snacks consisting of different toppings served on fried bread. You can also grab a seat at one of the restaurants found on the outer side of the market,where you can enjoy a meal in a more formal setting. Remember that La Boqueria is closed on Sundays. If you prefer a less noisy market, then try the Sant Antoni Market or Mercat de la Concepció.
Most of the unusual, yet mesmerizing buildings that you will come across when visiting Barcelona are a direct result of Antoni Gaudí’s work. Although most of his work dates to the early 1900s, the recognition for the impact he had on CatalanModernism came much later, after his death.
Barcelona hosts seven of his architectural works listed on the UNESCO World Heritage List: Park Güell, Palacio Güell, Casa Mila, Casa Vicens, the Nativity façade and the Crypt of La Sagrada Família, Casa Batlló, and the Crypt in Colonia Güell.
Visiting all of Gaudi’s creations can take a toll on your financial bottom line, but always remember that you can choose to visit two or three of his works on full tours (Park Güell and The Sagrada Família are highly recommended), while others can be admired from outside – like Casa Batlló andCasa Mila).
You might want to leave the visit to La Sagrada Família last, make sure to buy your timed-entry tickets in advance since the lines can get quite big and you don’t want to spend 2 hours in line when you could be exploring.
3. The beaches
It should come as no surprise that Barcelona is the perfect destination for beach lovers. The city has seven beaches totaling 2.8 miles (3.5 km) of coastline.
The most popular (and crowded) beach is Playa de La Barceloneta. Its proximity to Las Ramblas and the city port makes it easily reachable. Although it is considered overcrowded by some, it remains one of the must-see beaches due to the large number of activities it offers, from many food options to water sports which everyone can enjoy.
Nova Icària beach is another option to consider if you’re looking to spend a relaxing day soaking up the sun. Here you’re find a less crowded beach, crystal clear waters and plenty of white sand. You can also play volleyball since there are sand courtsalwaysfullof people willing to enjoy a friendly game.
If you really want to get out of the city,you can go to Platja del Garraf, just 40 minutes south of Barcelona by train. This makes a great day trip if you want to explore other areas.
4. The Plaças
Barcelona is home to numerous squares, each with its own story.Plaça de Catalunya(i.e. Catalonia Square) is the largest square in the city and is considered the city center due to the intersection of threeneighborhoods: Eixample, El Raval and the Gothic Quarter.
Another gem that travelers can visit while walking down Las Ramblas is Plaça Reial, right at the eastern edge of the Gothic Quarter. You’ll often be able to see public performances, like live music, while relaxing in the shade ofpalm trees.
Make sure to go to Plaça d’Espanyato enjoy the nearby water fountain show that takes place at the Montjuïc fountain. Shows take place at different hours, depending what time of year you’re visiting.
About the author:
Alex is a passionate foodie that sometimes writes about cities he’s visited over time. He works for UpTrek, a platform that wants to disrupt how travelers find and book exceptional travel experiences.