It’s hard to believe that two months have almost passed since I most recently visited Barcelona.
It’s the city outside London that I have visited the most and I fell in love with it from the first time I stepped foot into Placa de Catalunya and looked down Las Ramblas.
My most recent trip was with my family, some of whom hadn’t visited before and it was a great chance for me to visit familiar sites and rediscover the beautiful coastal city.
Here’s an example of a day well spent in the city for a trip that makes the most of all facets of this lively and vibrant city!
Coastal cities of this scale are hard to come by in Europe with many principal cities lying far inland away from beaches and the seaside. Barcelona of course isn’t Spain’s capital, but it is essentially a capital city in its own right – the capital of the region of Catalonia, and Catalan pride oozes from every corner of the town.
The coast makes for an interesting place, all its winding roads leading down towards a magnificent seafront with beaches, marina’s and a port stretching for miles. From here you can catch ferries to the Balearic islands or head out on a day trip to look back at the city skyline from the water.
If food is what you’re after, the sea also makes a unique culinary footprint on the place and you won’t have to wander the stalls of the famous ‘Boqueria’ market (halfway up Las Ramblas) for long before you are hit with the potent smell of fresh fish which you’ll find on menu’s in the form of paella and tapas.
The market is a must see and bursts with colour from the fruit and vegetable stalls and the tables decked from end to end with fresh smoothies and confectionary to quench the thirsty tourists.
La Boqueria is open from 8am-8.30pm every day expect Sundays.
Las Ramblas is the best place to start, with the sea and the the Christopher Columbus Monument at its bottom, sprawling Placa de Catalunya at the top and winding streets peetering off either side. You could easily spend a day meandering through the shops and streets.
But if art is on your mind, there’s no more artistic presence in the city than that of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, famed for his yet to be completed masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia.
There are pieces of Gaudi scattered across the city, from his repitillian apartment building Casa Batillo to vast Parc Guell (which offers some of the best views of the city) but if you want to get a sense of the impact that one man left on the city then the Sagrada Familia is the place to go.
Due to soar at a magnificent 560 feet when complete, there is no other cathedral like this in the world. Built as a tribute to the holy family with intricate spires looming over the entrance to the church in Gaudi’s distinct style.
It’s hard to believe from the outside that you are looking at only half the wonder, as so much more is planned before its anticipated completion date in 2026. As you walk amongst the pews inside its cavernous insides you feel as though you could be walking through a forest of sequioa trees as the architecture feels totally foreign to the traditional imposing columns of most catheral spaces.
If you don’t do anything else, this is the one place you MUST visit in Barcelona, a building that truly lives and breathes the city colour, religion and Catalan pride.