Barcelona is a cosmopolitan city with a lot to offer to its visitors. You cannot leave this place without trying the Spanish tinto de verano, paella, and the Spanish omelette; nor without taking a walk through the Gaudí Buildings, which transport you to an imaginary world where everything is possible. The options to explore this fascinating place are endless, but if you are in a hurry, here are five places you should not miss when you visit:
La Sagrada Familia
It is the most iconic building in the city. It is Gaudí’s last work and the one that seems to never be finished. There is no church like it anywhere in the world. The exterior resembles a haunted castle from a horror story and the interiorˈ⎯full of light and color ⎯looks like a room straight out of a fairy tale. Of course, taking a picture in front of La Sagrada Familia is a must, but exploring the inside is just as important. I recommend entering the building when the sunlight is coming from the sides and it shines through the stained glass windows, illuminating the whole building.
A very important thing is to buy both the general and tower-access tickets well in advance, as there is a lot of demand and limited tickets every day, so if you don’t plan ahead you might lose the opportunity to visit. The tickets are sold for a specific day and time, and you should line up at least 30 minutes ahead of time.
Number two on the list and one of my Gaudi favorites. This park is reminiscent of the Hansel and Gretel story, for I imagine that if the candy house existed in real life it would look like one of the small houses in Park Guell, full of incredible colors and shapes. The park is large with different areas to explore, each one with its own individual magic. The figures hidden throughout the mosaics and the history behind each of them are guaranteed to impress you.
The park is at the top of a hill, so take your time to get there. Public transportation will get you close to it, but you will still have to walk a bit. Driving can be an alternative, though it is not easy to find a parking spot. Similar to La Sagrada Familia, tickets have a specific schedule and must be purchased in advance; therefore, try to be on time so you don’t lose your spot.
Parc de la Ciutadella
Everybody knows that La Rambla is a mandatory destination in Barcelona, so we have not included it in the list. Instead, we chose the Parc de la Ciutadella, which is not as popular but it is just as amazing.
The great red arch is the perfect place for a souvenir photo. It is also ideal for an evening walk, as well as for taking a break and rest for a bit while you watch people pass by on their bikes, roller skates or simply walking their dogs. In addition to being a peaceful place, it is also a public space, so there is no need to worry about spending too much money.
La Sagrada Familia seems to always be the place to visit, but we often forget that it is not the main church in Barcelona. Its Cathedral is located in the “Gothic Quarter” and, living up to its name, the architecture has a medieval Gothic style ⎯with high towers full of shapes ⎯, and stands out from all its surroundings. It is a place that takes you back in time. It is located in front of a square that is famous for its street art. Without a doubt, you should take a walk around these streets during your visit to Barcelona.
The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Last but not least, we have the Magic Fountain of Montjuic with a light show that will ensure you have a good time. At specific times, the fountains are turned on, with a set of lights and music It will surprise you.
Whether you choose to see them on the street or climb to the top of the Plaça de Les Cascades for a wider view of the show, it will be a breath-taking experience. Just make sure to grab your place in time because as soon as the show begins, people will crowd the area and you may end up seeing nothing but a pile of heads.
If you have the time, don’t forget that you can visit the MNAC museum (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) at the top of the Plaça. Besides, several artistic groups meet up in the square to perform, so you will always have something to enjoy.
Translation by Asis Gonzalez
Photography Rosa Navarro