If you only had a week to see everything in Barcelona, what would be your top priority to see? Of course you can follow Frommer’s or some other guide book but you can’t really answer that question without knowing about the history of Barcelona and what the city consists of.
Barcelona is the second largest city in the country with a population of around 5.5 million people. Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and houses the seat of the Catalonian government. Barcelona is located on the Mediterranean Coast between the mouths of the Llobregat and Besós Rivers. Originally founded as a Roman city and named Barcino, Barcelona became the capital of the counts of Barcelona. Barcelona is filled with rich cultural heritage and is an important cultural center and tourist attraction. Barcelona is known for its famous artists Gaudi and Picasso, the beautiful sites, the 1992 Summer Olympics, and the headquarters for the Union for the Mediterranean.
Barcelona has been divided into ten administrative districts, each one with its own council led by a city councilor. The districts are based mostly on historical divisions. Several of the city’s districts are former towns annexed by the city of Barcelona in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that still maintain their own distinct character. The official names of these districts are in the Catalan language.
1) Ciutat Vella (“Old City”): El Raval (also known in Spanish as the Barrio Chino, (“Chinatown”), the Barri Gòtic (“Gothic Quarter”), La Barceloneta and the Barri de la Ribera.
2) Eixample: Sant Antoni, Esquerra de l’Eixample (“the left side of the Eixample” facing away from the sea), Dreta de l’Eixample (“the right side of the Eixample”), Barri de la Sagrada Família, Fort Pienc, Sant Antoni
3) Sants–Montjuïc: Poble Sec, La Marina, La Font de La Guatlla, La Bordeta, Hostafrancs, Sants, Badal.
4) Les Corts: Les Corts, La Maternitat, Pedralbes.
5) Sarrià-Sant Gervasi: Tres Torres, Sarrià, Vallvidrera, Bonanova, Sant Gervasi, Putxet-Farró, Galvany.
6) Gràcia: Vallcarca, El Coll, La Salut, Gràcia, El Camp d’en Grassot
7) Horta-Guinardó: Horta, El Carmel, La Teixonera, El Guinardó (Alt i Baix), La Clota, La Vall D’Hebron, Montbau
8 ) Nou Barris: Can Peguera, Porta, Canyelles, Ciutat Meridiana, Guineueta, Prosperitat, Vallbona, Verdum, Vilapicina, Roquetes, Trinitat Vella, Trinitat Nova, Torre Baró, Torre Llobeta and Turó de la Peira.
9) Sant Andreu: La Sagrera, Congrés, Trinitat Vella, Bon Pastor, Sant Andreu, Navas, Baró de Viver
10) Sant Martí: Diagonal Mar, Fort Pius, San Martí de Provençals, Poble Nou, La Verneda, El Clot, Vila Olímpica del Poblenou.
The Gothic Quarter consists of narrow medieval streets and is also known as Barri Gotic. Here, you can see buildings dated from 15th century BC. Throughout the streets you will stumble upon lively bars, tapas restaurants and trendy boutiques. Alongside Barcelona’s medieval buildings are the remains of the ancient Roman city and the Temple d’August, the best preserved Roman relic in Barcelona. You can also visit the Placa del Rei, where you will see many medieval buildings, including the Palatine chapel of Santa Agata. Muralles romanes. The Gothic area is not only a fabulous to walk around, but has rich culture to take in.
Placa del Rei
La Rambla is full of street theaters, cafes, and market stalls. You can walk on La Rambla, visit the Gothic Quarter which is very close by, watch the excitement on the streets, and visit the shops and markets. The Boqueria is located on La Rambla. It is a tremendous market with anything and everything you could imagine. Dried fruit, candy, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, and more! Whether just taking a stroll on La Rambla or spending the day exploring it, you are bound to encounter an amazing experience.
This area is definitely known to be one of the trendiest spots in all of Barcelona. Calle Montcada, which is a medieval street, also houses the Picasso Museum and the Textile Museum. While wandering around El Borne, there is also a beautiful Cathedral that you come across. The Borne area is also known for its stylish boutiques and cute shoe shops, for that one of a kind item. Although somewhat pricey, these shops are definitely worth it! El borne is a picturesque part of Barcelona and has both great cafés and fun bars to drift around to at night.
The Barcelona Olympic Stadium was home to the 1992 Summer Olympics. This stadium is open to visitors and is a very interesting site to see because of its history there.
El Poble Espanyol was built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exhibition as the pavilion dedicated to art, it is the most typical regional architectural styles in Spain. El Poble Espanyol is a replica of all the towns and villages in the peninsula. This village is an ideal model and has 117 buildings, streets and squares which were created to the tee. Here you can taste Catalan Cava and their famous local sparkling wine! You can see a full multitude of craft shops and work shops and buy interesting pieces! At night there is a famous Flamenco show which you must see.
La monumental were first inducted in 1914 with the first bull fight here. The building is bricked, made of Moor and Byzantine architecture. Not only can you watch a bull fight here, but you are able to attend music concerts and circus extravaganzas here.
Barcelona has over 68 parks. 12 of them being historic, 5 are thematic (otherwise known as botanical parks), 45 are urban parks, and 6 are forest parks. Of Barcelona’s parks, Montjuïc is the largest, Montjuïc can be walked up by foot and once there, you are able to see a panoramic view of the city and harbor. Ciutadella Park is the second largest park in Barcelona and lies in the place of the old military citadel and houses the Parliament building, the zoo, a boating lake and multiple museums. Other very famous parks throughout Barcelona are the Guinardó Park, Park Güell (designed by Antoni Gaudí and stated to be a world heritage site), Oreneta Castle Park, Diagonal Mar Park, Nou Barris Central Park, and Labyrinth Park named after the garden maze it contains
Barcelona in total has seven beaches. Sant Sebastià and Barceloneta beaches are the largest, oldest and the most visited beaches in Barcelona. The Olympic port separates them from the other city beaches: Nova Icària, Bogatell, Marbella, Nova Marbella and Levante. These beaches opened as a result of the city restructuring to host the 1992 Summer Olympics, when a great number of industrial buildings were demolished.
Pablo Picasso lived and worked on his art in what would be considered bohemian Barcelona. Picassos favorite sites throughout Barcelona would be considered Quatre Gats, Frisos del Col legi d’Arquitectes, Sala Pares, Escudellers Blancs, Carrer Avinyo, and you can visit Museu Picasso which exhibits works from the blue and pink periods of the world-famous painter. The museum is located at Montcada 15-23 and very close to Park Ciutadella
Antoni Gaudi was one of the most famous architects known in Barcelona. Gaudi’s major works would be considered Casa Vicens, College of the Teresianas, Crypt of the Church of Colónia Güell, Casa Calvet, Casa Batlló, Casa Milá, Park Güell, and Sagrada Família. Gaudi´s designs were almost always Modernisme or Art Nouveau. Throughout Barcelona you can see how beautiful his architecture is.