Barcelona, Spain, is a wonderful city and one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations. I’ve visited Barcelona twice and am making plans to return to see further highlights of this great city. After a Mediterranean cruise, we spent a weekend in Barcelona. We had to be efficient with our time because our second visit was as a cruise port call. Barcelona city vacations are particularly popular as winter escapes in Europe.
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- La Rambla
La Rambla, or Las Ramblas, is Barcelona’s well-known pedestrian avenue. La Rambla begins in the city center, Plaça de Catalunya. This beautiful center plaza is filled with fountains and statues. La Rambla stretches for 1.2 kilometers down to Port Vell’s Bay. The Monument a Colom, located at the harbor end of La Rambla, honors Christopher Columbus. Follow your nose and you’ll find churches, palaces, and plazas around every corner.
- La Boqueria
Another thing you must do in Barcelona is go to one of the markets. This huge market, known as ‘La Boqueria’ for short, is a sensory overload. At the delis and bars, take in the vivid colors of the produce, the briny fresh (and sometimes still alive!) seafood, and the fragrances of excellent ready-to-eat delicacies. All of this against the backdrop of the market’s hundreds of sellers and tens of thousands of daily visitors! On this Barcelona food, wine, and history tour, stop by La Boqueria. This small-group walking tour is perfect for foodies!
- La Sagrada Familia
Looking for must-see attractions in Barcelona? La Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s most popular tourist destination! The architectural components of this basilica, both inside as well as out, are breathtaking. As you move closer to the basilica, each sight becomes more stunning than the one before it. The cloister is the shorter domed building to the left. As you go closer, you can see words carved on it in Catalan that correspond to notions like ‘praise’ and ‘thanksgiving’. As you round the basilica, you’ll see that each of its sides is designed.
- Parc Güell
You’ll remember Parc Güell as the cover image for many Barcelona visitor guides. Visiting Parc Güell is one of the best things to do in Barcelona. It also has great panoramic views of Barcelona due to its location on Carmel Hill. We elected to take the metro instead of walking because Parc Güell was roughly an hour’s walk from our hotel. The main park is free to enter. You’ll get some wonderful views of the quirky buildings, as well as the city. The Monumental Zone (the famous stuff) does, but, has an admission cost.
- Sample delicious tapas
Tapas, which are small dishes of food generally shared among friends and family, are a terrific way to sample the range of flavors available in Spanish cuisine. I’ll admit that I’m not a particularly adventurous eater, so grilled squid was not on my radar. But I loved the deep-fried croquetas — they were sizzling hot and excellent! On a tapas tour of Barcelona, you’ll get to know the city’s neighborhoods while savoring the genuine flavors of tapas!
- Casa Vincens
Casa Vincens is the first structure you’ll come across. This structure is distinct from the flowing curves seen in Gaud’s other paintings. (If you built a building out of Legos, this is what it would look like.) Casa Vincens is a vibrant structure with Moorish influences. The checkerboard-like tile patterns and arched arches in the door frame and corner tower are noteworthy. You can return to Plaça de Catalunya by following this street.
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