Photo by Vitor Monteiro on Unsplash
Barcelona, Spain is a Mediterranean paradise full of exotic culture, great food, and even better weather. But why is this city a must-see destination?
Easy and Friendly City to Navigate
Central Barcelona is easy to navigate once you orient yourself to a few key landmarks, like the beach, the Cathedral of Barcelona, and Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas is an open-air market and the street leads all the way to the beach. If you do somehow find yourself lost in Barcelona, it will be quite easy to find someone who speaks English and can give you directions. Barcelona is a hot, international tourist destination and it is full of people from all over the world. While exploring the city, you will hear every language imaginable. The official language of Catalonia, the region in which Barcelona is situated, is Catalan. Catalan is similar to Spanish, but every Catalan speaker also speaks Spanish and probably some English as well. If you do know some Spanish and you are eager to practice your language skills, the locals are generally amiable and will gladly converse with you in Spanish or Spanglish.
Antoni Gaudi was a genius 20th-century architect, after whom the English word gaudy was coined, and his uniquely extravagant projects can be found all throughout Barcelona. His most famous building is the Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that many describe as looking like melting ice cream cones. It is unlike any other cathedral in the world and features stunning stained glass that lights up the interior like a neon rainbow.
Other must-see Gaudi destinations include Park Guell, Casa Batllo, Casa Mila, and Casa Vicens. Once you become familiar with Gaudi’s over-the-top style, you will spot his buildings throughout Barcelona without even looking for them.
The gothic quarter is full of narrow, rambling roads. So long as you have knowledge of landmarks or access to GPS, the gothic quarter is a great place to wander and get lost. You will find authentic restaurants full of Spanish food, and quirky shops featuring everything from art to clothing. You never know when you will stumble upon a historical landmark such as a cathedral, or find walls covered in modern street art. Combine that with beautiful beaches and Mediterranean flora and fauna, and you will have a hard time taking a bad photograph. The street art, ancient buildings, and narrow streets themselves all provide the perfect backdrop for an Instagram picture that will have all your followers feeling #jealous.
Full of Art
Spain is home to several famous, industry-changing artists such as Salvador Dali and Pablo Picasso. Their infamous creations have inspired millions and, in Barcelona, you can see their revolutionary work in person. The Picasso Museum in Barcelona costs €12 full-price, but they offer free admission on Thursdays and select Sundays.
The Dali Theater Museum is located in Dali’s hometown of Figueres, Spain. Figueres can be easily accessed from Barcelona via train. The train ride is approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes and provides views of the beautiful Spanish countryside. The Dali museum features famous pieces such as Lincoln in Dalivision. Tickets cost €14 and provide you with entrance to both the Dali museum and the Empordà museum, as well as 30% off admission to the Toy Museum of Catalonia.
After long days of sightseeing and shopping, you’ll find a relaxing day at the beach hard to resist. The beach is easily accessible by foot or public transportation. Lay on the sand and enjoy views of Beach Gym, which is Barcelona’s version of California’s Muscle Beach. Or watch the endless stream of cruise ships docking and disembarking. The warm breeze rolling off the Mediterranean Sea and endless dining options make the beaches in Barcelona a must-visit destination.
Whether you are looking for trendy shopping, jaw-dropping architecture, or world-class museums, Barcelona has something for everyone. Do yourself a favor and add it to your itinerary ASAP.
Zianna is a graduate student at Arizona State University. She loves writing and plans to make a career out of this passion. She is a proud mother of her adopted pets, Harv the dog, and Barb the cat. When Zianna is not busy taking care of her fur babies you can find her at the movie theater, line dancing, traveling, or binge-watching reality tv.