¡Bienvenido a Barcelona!
One of Europe’s most beloved cities, Barcelona is a wonderful mix of bustling metropolis and beach town, with a laid back atmosphere. A city steeped in history and oozing with artistic charm (not to mention home to the famous FC Barcelona!), Spain’s second city is one that you’ll be sure to enjoy exploring. Prepare to see its creative flair as you walk through its quaint narrow streets and grand impressive architecture. This guide will provide a worldwide local’s perspective of the city--welcome to Barcelona!
Gaudi in Barcelona
Perhaps the most iconic structure in the city is the towering Sagrada Familia. Nestled deep within the quaint district of Eixample, this Barcelona cathedral comes from the brilliant mind of the famous artist, Antoni Gaudi. Construction on the church and its iconic spires started in 1882, and continues to this day, with completion not expected until sometime between 2026 and 2030. The exterior is a marvel to behold--but even more impressive on the inside--making the Sagrada Familia a site not to be missed.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Sagrada Familia isn’t the only church decorated by Gaudi. You can visit the much more compact Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar to avoid long wait times. And here, you won’t have to pay an entrance fee!
Continuing with Gaudi’s fascinating designs, you can take a walk around the airy Parc Guell. This garden city was opened in 1922 and has since served as a popular tourist spot. A specifically unique park with a colorful blend of mosaics and intricate designs, it is set across acres of green open space, making it a haven for art lovers, a photogenic place to take snapshots, and a perfect place to wander.
Worldwide Local Tip: For those on a budget, you can visit Parc Guell without buying a ticket--you’ll be able to access most areas of the park, aside from its Monumental Zone. If you visit at night, you can enter the whole park for free and see the beautiful Barcelona skyline with its shimmering lights, all while avoiding the majority of the tourists.
Visit the City’s Beating Heart: La Rambla
Barcelona is a wonderful city explored on foot, and a great place to start your walking adventure is the city’s most famous street: La Rambla. It’s a green pedestrian zone with little stalls and street performers along the street. Walking through La Rambla will take you to some of the city’s most charming neighborhoods, and will give you a chance to view the beautiful architecture. Meander down its side streets: get lost in the rustic Gothic Quarter, stop off at one of the famous Barcelona wine bars, or sample tasty tapas and pintxos at the Mercat de la Boqueria.
Worldwide Local Tip: Escape the hordes of tourists in La Rambla and walk towards the rustic neighborhood of El Raval. Just off the main strip in La Rambla, you can find some of the best and most diverse of Barcelona restaurants, and see locals living out the daily life of a city resident.
Not many cities in the world have a stretch of golden sand beach just across a busy street from its downtown area--but with the glorious Barcelona weather, what else do you expect? At the end of La Rambla, you will reach the port area, which also serves as a gateway to Barcelona’s beaches. Soak up the Mediterranean sun after a busy day exploring, while laying back on a sunbed and sipping cocktails. For a respite from the bustling city center, head to the neighborhood of La Barceloneta and relax at one of the beaches.
Worldwide Local Tip: Unfortunately Barcelona has a reputation for petty theft. It is common among its touristic areas and metro system, so you must ensure that your belongings are kept safe and attended. This also applies while at any Barcelona beach. Keep your items close to you at all times.
A Must-Visit in Barcelona: What to Do in The Montjuic District
The Montjuic district should be part of everyone’s itinerary. Perched on top of a hill, it has large open areas with a plethora of things to do. The Montjuic Castle offers great views of the city, and its shoreline that gives an insight into Barcelona’s port-side history. From the remnants of the 1992 Olympics to the elegant Palau Nacional, Montjuic is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll.
Worldwide Local Tip: For one of the most exquisite things to do in Barcelona, visit Montjuic at night to witness the spectacle of its fountain show. Live classical music plays while the waterworks and the light waltzes along. Set on the grandiose Font de Montjuic with a backdrop of the Barcelona cityscape, the show is simply breathtaking. The timetable varies depending on which time of the year you visit, so make sure you check the schedule online to avoid missing it.
¡Disfruta su Visita!
The magic of Barcelona lives on in those who are fortunate enough to experience its allure. It is an astounding city to visit, and only worldwide locals can truly appreciate its tradition and beauty.