In Gaudí's favourite city

Friday, May 30, 2014

Two years ago I spent summer in the capital of Catalonia, one of the most beautiful cities – Barcelona. Although it’s a place everyone should see before dying, it’s very touristy. Especially between June and September. In every trip guide you can find must-see list, but if you go there during summer time you have to keep in your mind the visiting hours.

The first place on every Barcelona must-see landmarks list is the famous street called La Rambla. You have to be aware that (apart from the clubs and metro) it’s the highest risk spot to get robbed in Barcelona. Luckily it didn’t happened to me, but I have heard a lot of stories about La Rambla’s thiefs. Anyway, I would recommend you to visit the street in morning hours, or at least until 12. If you prefer to go there later and you want to get from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell, you need to prepare yourself to knock people down (and vice versa). It happened to me million times that I thought I was talking to my friend, while she was 15 m behind me and I spoke to completely random people. Oh and for your information – don’t buy anything you can buy in another place there. La Rambla has a huge variety of shops and restaurants, but they are all more expensive than in the other parts of the city. It’s a trick for naive tourists and it’s not even worth spending money as the places there are quite commercial and not local at all. I realise that menus in your native language seem to be tempting, but believe me – that kind of places you can find in your country on every corner. The only place you have to check in La Rambla is La Boqueria. It’s an open market with fresh fruit, fishes and basically everything you need during Barcelona’s heat. It’s also very crowded so watch your purse/backpack on every step.

You have two options of continuing your sightseeing while visitting La Rambla. You can turn into one of the narrow streets and visit the artistic part of the center – Barrio Gotic or go straight ahead to Port Vell. The gothic district is really impressive and mysterious. You can sneak around there and buy some souvenirs (they are more unique and way cheaper than in Barcelona’s hot spots). Later you can go back on La Rambla and head to the Port Vell (for shopaholics: by going through the bridge – which is always very busy – you can get to a really nice shopping mall, during summer they have quite sensible sales there).

One of the most breathtaking buildings in the city is The Art Palace, which you may know because of its famous fountain show. If you want to reach the Montjuïc hill, you can plan your trip by beginning with The Art Palace, seeing the fountain show and climbing up to the Montjuïc castle, where you can catch up the beautiful panoramic view of the whole city.

The prominent symbol of Barcelona city is definitely La Sagrada Familia – the unfinished church designed by the great Gaudí. This time I would suggest to see it in the early morning too. Why? Because queue to buy a entrance ticket is enormous (the whole street length more or less). Tickets are quite expensive and you buy them for the concrete parts of the building (towers), which in my opinion is not a good solution (especially for someone who doesn’t have a clue how the church looks like inside). Even if you will not manage to get inside, don’t worry. The best impression is to catch the whole church from the outside (as it’s really tall). I took my picture from Montjuïc hill.

My favourite place in Barcelona would be Park Güell. I absolutely love the architecture there. It also offers stunning view over the city. So being in Barcelona you just can’t miss this place. Unfortunately there is no such a good hour to visit it without loads of tourists. Park Güell is always crowded. Perhaps around 8 o’clock in the morning you would still be able to breath there, but I can’t give you 100% certainty. Although it’s a challenge to survive a trip to the park, it is totally worth it.

The biggest park in the city is called Ciutadella. It’s a lovely place to have a break and rest. It is also a spot that holds many summer events. Last year I participated in a water guns battle which took place there.
By taking the opposite direction from Plaça de Catalunya, you can get on Passeig de Gràcia, where you can find all the designers boutiques and another Gaudi’s famous building - Casa Batlló. Here you have to prepare yourself for a long wait to get the entrance. It’s usually quite crowded.

Probably the favourite spot of the majority of tourists would be the beach. It is beautiful indeed, but it’s also very crowded. Luckily I have a solution of that problem. As I was visiting my friends who lived 20 mins from the centre I discovered calm beaches without tourists at all. One of them was a beach located in El Masnou (you can get there by taking a train from Plaça de Catalunya).

At the end I would like to encourage you to visit the local mountains and the countryside. The atmosphere there is a nice escape from the crowded and loud city.

You Might Also Like

0 Leave a comment