Saturday, February 9, 2013

Tips From a Local - Barcelona, Spain

Sagrada Família 
Marta, a native of Spain, wrote this post outlining some must-see spots in Barcelona.  Many of these famous sites were designed by Spanish Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí.  Some of these must-see attractions include El Park Güell located in the Gràcia district.  Another is Sagrada Família, a Catholic Church whose construction began in 1882 and was recently finished (on the inside) allowing it to serve as a functional church. Once you are in Sagrada Família you can take the street, called Avinguda Gaudí, to Sant Pau Hospital (modernism architecture from Doménech i Muntaner).  La Pedrera, Casa Batlló (also from Antoni Gaudí) and Casa Ametller are very impressive to see from the inside and located in Passeig de Gràcia.

Sant Paul Hospital
Explore the hill known as Montjuich, which contains the Castle of Montjuic and beautiful fountains in the Square known as Plaza España.  Walk down the tree-lined pedestrian mall known as Les Rambles (connecting Plaça Catalunya to the Sea) and definitely stop in Mercat de la Boqueria, a very nice market, along the way. Another place to check out is Plaça Reial (Royal Plaza), with outdoor restaurants and nightclubs.  At the end of the Rambles is the Colombus statue and the Maremagnum, another nice place to walk around. Don’t loose your time and money going to the Aquarium though!

Mercat de la Boqueria - Eat some famous Jamón
A fun area for dinner and drinks is El Born, one of Barcelona’s oldest neighborhoods.  Make sure to stop by the Santa Maria del Mar church, a gothic church dating back to 1329.  Also take a tour of the Palau de la Musica.  If shopping is what you’re after, visit Portal de l'Àngel and Plaça de la Catedral.  During Christmas there is a fair going on in this area where you can find a lot of Nativities and Christmas traditions.

Most of these areas can be reached by using the tourist bus allowing you to hop on and off whenever you want!  Depending on the length of your stay, it might be worth buying the Barcelona Card, which includes public transportation and discounts at select museums as well as free admission to others!

Girona - a great day trip from Barcelona
If you have a whole day free you can consider going to Girona (there are regional trains going there and it takes around 1.5hr, as well as public buses).  It’s a really nice city with an impressive old downtown.  Another nice place to visit, but in the opposite direction is Sitges.  The mountain Montserrat, with a black virgin inside the monastery, has some hikes and is a good spot for climbing.  If you are really in seeing Salvador Dalí's paintings then consider going to the museum names after him (Museu Dalí) in Figueres.  

Disfrute de Barcelona!  Enjoy Barcelona!


  1. Wow, Marta...I want to get a plane ticket this minute! Thanks for the suggestions. Kathleen

  2. I had heard that Barcelona has beautiful churches!