Barcelona, the beautiful capital of Catalonia, is a cosmopolitan city with Roman remains, medieval quarters and the most beautiful examples of 20th century Modernism. It is no surprise that emblematic constructions by Antoni Gaudi have been declared World Heritage Sites by the UNESCO.
Barcelona has cleverly succeeded in embracing its past without forgetting its commitment to the future. Pedestrian streets in the old quarter, green spaces, and a splendid seafront with a range of modern facilities are a reflection of its multi-faceted character.
Tradition and modernity can also be seen in its innovative and imaginative gastronomy. Fresh garden produce, fresh fish, a wide variety of sausages and olive oil, traditional handmade cakes and pastries and sparkling wines are some of the other highlights in this brief overview of Barcelona’s gastronomic culture.
The city also has lovely urban beaches, marine resorts, and golf courses on the seashore. Nature lovers will not have to go far to explore the mountains in the Cordillera Litoral range and the Catalan Pyrenees.
This year, My Odyssey invite you to start the perfect tour in this attractive Mediterranean city——Barcelona.
*Gaudi – LA SAGRADA FAMÍLIA
Visit La Sagrada Familia, the masterpiece of Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926). Although incomplete, this distinctive Catholic Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most famous attractions all over the world. Gaudi once said: “The straight line belongs to mankind, while the curve belongs to God.”
*Gaudi – CASA BATLLÓ
The building is remarkable from the very first site. The front part of CASA BATLLÓ is decorated with a mosaic made of broken ceramic tiles (trencadís) that starts in shades of golden orange moving into greenish blues. The roof is arched and was likened to the back of a dragon. The whole building has dazzling beauty full of romance and fairy tale. After visit the famous house, you’ll be obsessed with ingenious design of Gaudi.
TIPS: when you visit Gaudi’s architecture, audio tour is a must. Although only building is amazing enough, it will be better if you can find compact and ingenious details with useful tips.
*Gaudi – CASA MILà
Casa Milà, popularly known as ‘La Pedrera’ (the stone quarry), an ironic allusion to the resemblance of its façade to an open quarry, was constructed between 1906 and 1912 by Gaudí because rich businessman Pere Milà i Camps wanted to marry Roser Segimon i Artells and he appreciated Gaudi’s works very much. For its uniqueness, artistic and heritage value has received major recognition and in 1984 was inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List, for its exceptional universal value.
Nowadays it is the headquarters of Catalunya-La Pedrera Foundation and houses a cultural centre that is a reference point in Barcelona for the range of activities it organises and the different spaces for exhibitions and other public uses it contains.
* Las Ramblas
Leave the CASA MILà, only a few metres long, you will reach Las Ramblas. The street is most-commonly referred to in the plural, because it is in fact a succession of streets.
A walk from the top to bottom of Las Ramblas is undoubtedly highly rewarding and you will find a healthy selection of Barcelona’s worthy attractions en route, such as La Boqueria food market, the Liceu Theatre, Miro’s mosaic (watch where you step!) and the Monument to Colombus.
The Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said that Las Ramblas was “the only street in the world which I wish would never end.”
This masterpiece of Gaudi is one of the most impressive public parks in the world. Gaudi planned and directed the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914 for Eusebi Guell for a residential park intended for sixty single- family residences. The project, however, was unsuccessful and the park became city property in 1923.
Park Guell is a playground for the mind: visual jokes, like columns that simulate palm-tree trunks, rubble-surfaced arches that grow out of the ground, quilts of ceramic tiles.
The centrepiece is the intended covered market, a majestic forest of fluted columns. Its roof forms a vast terrace with a marvelous view of the city.
Do not miss to visit Park Guell, it is one of Barcelona’s highlights!
* Nou Camp
The paradise of countless football fans! There is a football stadium in Barcelona, which has been the home of Futbol Club Barcelona since 1957. And the facilities now include a memorabilia shop, mini-pitches for training matches, and a chapel for the players. The stadium also houses the second-most visited museum in Catalonia, FC Barcelona Museum, which receives more than 1.2 million visitors per year.
* Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is a fountain located at the head of Avenida Maria Cristina, and like most of the surrounding developments, was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. In the 1980s, music was incorporated with the light show and the fountain, along with the Museu Nacional. The fountain was completely restored prior to the 1992 Summer Olympics, held at Montjuïc. Performances take place at half-hour intervals every weekend, with weekends extended during the summer season.
* Palace of Catalan Music
One of the most stunning modernism buildings in Barcelona Colorful Sculptures and ceramic mosaic decoration are two major features. The rich decoration of the façade of the Palace, which incorporates elements from many sources, including traditional Spanish and Arabic architecture, is successfully married with the building’s structure. The exposed red brick and iron, the mosaics, the stained glass, and the glazed tiles were chosen and situated to give a feeling of openness and transparency. In the evening, there will have small show for visitors, and the price is not high.
* Picasso Museum
Picasso Museum is one of the most extensive collections of artworks by the 20th-century Spanish artist Pablo Picasso, built in the 15th century. Here was Picasso’s dwelling. The collections reveal Picasso’s relationship with the city of Barcelona, a relationship that was shaped in his youth and adolescence, and continued until his death. If you are interested in art, you cannot miss it!
Tips: no photos in the museum.
*Paella – Spanish seafood and rice
The paella is Spain’s favourite dish. It encompasses all that is Spanish . . . the colour, passion, variety and social warmth of the people. Originally a poor man’s dish, including rice and seafood, the paella has now worldwide fame. In Barcelona, you can taste the traditional version and also new alternatives including other local specialities such as chorizo and Serrano ham or the vegetarian version.
* Sausage and boiled beans
Sausage and boiled beans is a unique local dish in Barcelona. People boil local white beans first and add kinds of condiments with roasted sausages. This dish is not only delicious, but also very nutritious.
Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks, than can be combined to offer a full meal. They may be cold or hot and you can choose your favourite dish, between tapas aceitunas (with olives), albóndigas (meatballs with sauce), boquerones (with white anchovies served in vinegar) or chopitos ( with battered and fried tiny squid) .
*Jamon Iberico or The Best ham in the world
The finest smoked cured ham produced in Spain, made from black Iberian pigs.
For those that cannot resist to desserts, crema catalana is not to be missed! This simple but delicious dessert consists of a rich custard base, flavored with vanilla and topped with a contrasting layer of hard caramel.
From traditional sightseeing and monuments, magnificent nature and architecture, from delicious food to rich nightlife, Barcelona has it all and is waiting for you!