Beguiling Barcelona

Barcelona, the capital of the Catalonian region, is a unique and vibrant place to visit.

Following a short hop to England, we returned to Spain since we had enjoyed Madrid so much, and decided on Barcelona. We spent a few days exploring the city, then travelled South to Peníscola, Tarragona, and Vilafranca de Penèdes before returning for a flight to Morocco.

In Spanish style, food and drinks are everywhere; inexpensive but excellent wines, savoury tapas, and everything in between in this blend of cultures on the Mediterranean.

There are many sights and landmarks to see, and it would take several days to catch a glimpse of them all. Here is a sampling of some of the places we had the chance to view during our visits.

The Barrios

Each neighbourhood has its own personality and together contribute to the overall vibe that is Barcelona. In the Eixample district, wide streets and boulevards contrast with the narrow roads and alleyways of the Gothic Quarter where we stayed. Throughout the city, we found broad open spaces and quaint squares, with benches to pause and admire the architecture or watch the Catalans go about their daily business.p1070184

Olympic and Port Vell Harbours

Set between the beautiful architectural buildings along Passeig de Colom and the Balearic Sea are luxury yachts, sailboats, and schooners sharing space along the modern boat slips. dsc_0049dsc_0055p1050587

The beaches

The entire Barcelona metropolitan area is bordered with clean sand and clear seawater beaches. The December weather was predictably fair; warm sunny days and cool nights made for comfortable touring and pleasant evenings. Not beach temperature, but lovely for wandering along the playas.

dsc_0061Antoni Gaudí

One can’t discuss Barcelona without mentioning Antoni Gaudí, the famous Catalan architect associated with modernism architecture and multi-colored mosaics. Gaudí’s masterpieces, influenced by nature are a refreshing sight among the city’s urban landscape.

Sagrada Familia (1882-completion estimated 2026-2028)
Park Güell (1900-1914)

One of the highlights was the gardens and architectural elements of Park Güell, where an imaginative combination of forged iron, bright mosaics, and stained glass merge with the natural environment.p1050719dsc_0076

p1050738

p1050745Casa Milà (1905-1907)DSC_0180.jpgCasa Batlló (1905 -1907)Casa Batllo

Museums

There are plenty of collections and exhibits to admire, spanning from pre-medieval to contemporary art in Barcelona’s museums.

Our recommendation would be to visit the MNAC: Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya if only for the panoramic views from its hilltop location overlooking the Font Màgica de Montjuïc.dsc_0166Then walk down to the Plaça de Les Cascades and look back at the museum, a converted neo-baroque palace.dsc_0173

Ciutadella Park

Designed in 1888 for the Barcelona Universal Exhibition, the green space is an ideal place to spend a relaxing afternoon. Entering the park we passed under a grand entrance, the Arc del Triomf, a look-alike of the Arch of Triumph in Paris. We continued along the Passeig Pujadesa, a wide pedestrian walkway bordered with ornate lampposts.dsc_0148In the centre of the park, you will find a stunning fountain, the Cascada which features gilded chariots and a central sculpture of Venus in a clamshell. Within the park, lush greenery, a small lake, and open spaces create a lovely spot for leisurely strolls.Parc de la CiutadellaBarcelona ranks up there as a favoured destination not to be overlooked. Make sure to include it in your travel plans to the Iberian region of Europe.

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