- Take a bus tour to get around town
- Enjoy a nice walk through Park Güell
- Try some pan tomaca and crema catalana
As the second largest city in Spain and capital of Cataluña, Barcelona is a top destination in Spain for most. In Cataluña, the two official languages are both Catalan and Spanish, so don’t be surprised if you hear a little of both. I admittedly would like to spend more time there, so I hope to add more to this section soon!
A brief history
Some stories say that Barcelona was found by Hercules some 400 years before the creation of Rome. The city and region were home to the Romans until it was conquered by the Visigoths in the early fifth century, followed by the Moors in the early eight century, then it was reconquered by Charlemagne’s son Louis in 801, eventually merging with the Kingdom of Aragon (another region within Spain) in 1137.
What to do
First of all, to get around the city, I highly recommend taking a bus tour. I’m not usually a “bus tour” kind of person, but many of Barcelona’s sites are quite spread out and taking the bus allows you to stop and see whatever you want, wherever and whenever you want. There are three lines – blue, red and green – the blue and red lines will take you just about everywhere in the city.
Barcelona is full of sites to see, probably more so than any other Spanish city (at least in my opinion anyway), making the bus even more worthwhile. My personal favorites are the Barri Gotic (Gothic quarter), La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and Park Güell. In the Barri Gotic you get a real taste for what medieval Barcelona must have been like, with its narrow streets and old cathedral, in addition to being home to the old Jewish quarter.
Being an epicenter for Art Nouveau between 1885 and 1950 has left a great mark on Barcelona – particularly the architect Antoni Gaudi. La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera and Park Güell, among many more places, are just some of the footprints left behind by the famous architect. La Sagrada Familia, the most famous work by Gaudi, is the cathedral that he commissioned in 1882, and which is still be financed by donors and should be completed in 2026 (I’m not holding my breath). La Pedrera is a fantasy-like building full of unexpected details that make you feel like you’re Allison in Wonderland. I particularly enjoyed the roof where you can really appreciate how the architecture of the building complements the view of the landscape. Lastly, Park Güell is the ultimate blend of Gaudi’s artwork and its natural surroundings – Barcelona.
There are countless other spots to see, from La Rambla, to Montjuïc (Barcelona’s largest park), to the amazing museums (of particular interest to me – the Picasso and Miro museums).
Experiences from my blog