As you arrive in this city the architecture will strike you as being a fundamental part of its charm. Barcelona mixes the old and the new in a unique style. Gaudí has been a big influence; Picasso and Miró have also left their legacies. Nothing is missing from this city; you have the Mediterranean Sea and its beaches, the harbour and surrounding mountains.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN BARCELONA
- A visit to the Gothic Quarter is essential. Las Ramblas is a characteristic that links the Plaza Catalunya to the port, where the monument of Christopher Columbus stands. The Església Cathedral of the Holy Cross is located in the Plaza de la Seu, open from 8am to 1:30pm and 4pm to 7.30pm.
- Sant Jaume Square is surrounded by the Palau de la Generalitat, the Catalan government headquarters and City Hall. It is advisable to devote a few hours to cover this area, as each street has its own attractions. This area of the city can be a little dangerous at night, just try to avoid poorly lit streets and alleys.
- Work of Gaudí and his buildings are an integral part of Barcelona’s landscape. His creations revolutionized an era and continue to draw wonderment to this day. He died in 1926 without seeing his last completed work, La Sagrada Familia. You can visit from 9am to 7pm and the visit includes a small museum with maps, models and photos of different years that show the evolution of his work. From the Paseo de Gracia you can see Casa Batlló and also Casa Milà (better known as La Pedrera). Casa Mila was built between 1906 and 1910 and is currently used as private apartments/cultural centre. Casa Batlló is a residential building with a striking facade that can only be seen from the street. It was built between 1904 and 1906. Park Güell is located in the northern part of the city from there is a spectacular view across Barcelona. It is a perfect combination of nature and architecture, where Gaudí chose to live from 1906 until his death. Admission is free.
- The Picasso Museum houses the largest collection of works by this artist in Spain. It has an estimated total of 3,000 works including drawings, paintings and ceramics, some of which were donated by the painter himself. The museum is opened Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and on Sundays until 3pm.
- The 61 bus departs from Plaza Espanya and goes to Montjuic. Take the bus up to the Miró Foundation and then walk down. You can see where the Olympic Stadium was built for the 1932 Olympics; it was then renovated for the games in 1992. Admission is free and it can be visited from 10am to 8pm. There are examples of Miro's work from different periods on display at the Miro Foundation. This museum is not only dedicated to his work, but also modern art exhibitions of other artists. It is open Tuesday through to Saturday from 10am to 8pm, and on Sundays from 10.30am to 2.30pm.
- Sitges is a very popular seaside resort in the summer months and several celebrations take place throughout the year on 23th and 25th August the Festa Major Carnival. Sitges is 40km from Barcelona. To get there you can take the train, one leaves every 15 minutes from Barcelona Sants. It is worth visiting in the day to tour the town and relax on its beaches; the sea is only a 10 minute walk from the train station. It is a small city and easy to navigate on foot.
GETTING AROUND IN BARCELONA
Barcelona Sants central train station connects to the whole city through the underground network (M: Sants-Estació).
The best way to get around this city is on foot. If you do want to use the public transport system the subway service is very good and open Monday through Thursday from 5am to 11pm, and Friday to Sunday from 6am to 12.00pm.
From Barcelona Sants station you can take trains to Paris, Milan, Seville and Granada. You must make reservations to ensure a place. Every half hour there are trains that connect the airport to Barcelona Sants station. The service operates from 6.15am until 10pm.
TOP TIPS FOR BARCELONA
Catalan is the common language used in Barcelona. You'll find most of the names and references contained in that language.
During the summer months parties are held in Barcelona. This is when dances, concerts and other cultural activities will take place in the streets of every neighbourhood.