What to see in Barcelona? This is the first question that arises as soon as you start planning a weekend in the Catalan city.
I am not a big fan of Barcelona, but I recognize that I am a white fly because the capital of Catalonia is one of the most popular destinations for travelers from all over the world, and should be visited at least once in a lifetime, also because there are often cheap flights to reach it.
Although I don’t particularly love her, I still want to give you some suggestions on what to see in Barcelona, the 10 must-see places on a weekend.
The first thing to see in Barcelona is undoubtedly the masterpiece of the architect Antoni Gaudí, begun in 1882 and still unfinished, but consecrated on 7 November 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI and elevated to the rank of Minor Basilica.
Its full name is Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, and takes the visitor into a fairy-tale dimension.
At first glance, the Nativity facade appears to have been created by sand flows, as children do by the sea. Being dedicated to the birth of Jesus, it is characterized by joyful elements that celebrate life.
The interior is characterized instead by very high vaults, columns, spiers and rather fanciful statues.
One of the most peculiar and most original churches in the world.
To learn more read my guide to the Sagrada Familia.
Another symbol of the city created by the architect Antoni Gaudì.
This highly original park located on the southern slope of Mount Carmel, was built between 1900 and 1914, and included in 1984 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The park alternates green corners with fantastic elements such as colorful animals and houses with rather unique shapes, and a terrace from which you can enjoy a breathtaking view over the whole city.
The ancient city market dating back to 1840, the largest in Catalonia and the most famous in Spain.
An explosion of colors and scents with food products from all over the world: fruit, meat, fish and spices.
The goods are exposed in a maniacal way and I assure you that it will be difficult for you to go out without having purchased anything.
It is the ideal place both for shopping and for a quick snack in one of the desks that prepare express food, even hot.
Try the fresh fruit smoothies at bargain prices.
It is the heart of the old city, an area of decadent charm, a labyrinth of narrow streets with an antique flavor that flow into characteristic squares such as Plaça Reial, surrounded by shops, bars and restaurants.
Here stood the ancient Roman city of Barcino and was for centuries the political and religious center of Barcelona.
In the Barrio Gotico it is possible to admire the oldest buildings in the city such as the Palacio Del Obispo and the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, dating back to the 13th century.
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Among the things to see in Barcelona cannot miss the other works of the brilliant architect Antoni Gaudí. The Casa Batlló is one of these: completed in 1907 and included in 2005 among UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
It takes its name from the industrialist Josep Batlló who commissioned Gaudí to renovate the modest building he purchased.
The restoration completely revolutionized the building which acquired a fantastic appearance with elements taken from both art nouveau and Gothic, and materials ranging from sandstone, majolica and ceramics.
Particularly interesting, besides the front façade and the houses, is the terrace inspired by a dragon’s back.
Casa Milà (Pedrera)
Also called La Pedrera (stone quarry) due to its façade covered in rough stone, it is another of the works by Antoni Gaudí.
It is located on Passeig de Gràcia, a few steps from the Casa Batlló, and was built between 1905 and 1912 in the style of Catalan modernism, commissioned by Roser Segimon and Pere Milà for their wedding.
Since 1984 it is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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On this hill south of the city there are several attractions such as the castle dating from the late seventeenth century, the national museum of Catalunya art, the communications tower built by Santiago Calatrava, the botanical garden, the Poble Espanyol (reconstruction of a ancient medieval village) and the Magic Fountain that in the evening – and at set times that you can find here – dances to the sound of music and colors.
One of the most famous streets in the world, the avenue par excellence of the city, the one in which thousands of people, tourists and locals, pour in every day.
It is one kilometer and four hundred meters long and connects Plaça de Catalunya with Port Vell.
Walking along the Ramblas you can spend time watching the performances of street artists, go shopping and admire the mosaics of Mirò set on the floor.
Among the things to see in Barcelona there is certainly this seaside neighborhood renowned for its long beaches and restaurants specializing in fish dishes.
Particularly interesting in the summer to break those intense days of culture and art around the city.
It houses one of the world’s largest collections of works by Pablo Picasso, who spent his youth in Barcelona and was particularly fond of it throughout his life.
I hope you now have a more precise idea of what to see in Barcelona, and please, on your return let me know what you think of this city that often arouses mixed feelings between those who visit it.
Have a good trip!