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Barcelona is the Catalan capital, and big city by the Med. catapulted itself from a relative backwater to destination number 1 for city breaks with the Olympics held there in 1992, and soon after the birth of the low cost airlines.
Barcelona is the intoxicating heart of Cataluña, effervescent and forever coated in sunlight, politically hot headed, full of it’s own quirky cultures, and as bizarrely artistic as cities come. If there’s one thing that Barcelona isn’t, though, it’s typical of Spain. For that, head to Madrid, or down south to Andalucía; but remember this: you’ll be missing out.
Tibidabo - must do!!! It is an 1930s amusement park that also has modern rides. And go all the way up to the top of the cathedral- that little spiral staircase seems endless, but you will be rewarded with an absolutely breathtaking view!!)). You can get there by metro-type train and then take a funicular.
Sagrada Familia Gaudi's Cathedral. There are lots of other Gaudi buildings around the city; especially Parc Guell and Batilo. They are worth it, despite Gaudi is a polarizing artist. Peter Gabriel wrote "In Your Eyes" after visiting Sagarda Familia.
Oh! La Rambla. Well you'll want hang out with the other tourists, right? Maybe get pick pocketed.
Also, Montjuic. Hopefully you'll might catch a concert there if you're here on a weekend. On Montjuic you can see the Olympic Stadium and you can walk in, but also the Miro Museum is there and, the Catalonia National Museum is underrated and incredible, medieval art you don't see other places and extraordinary view. Pool on Montjuic is extraordinary.
Start out in the gothic quarter, where imposing spikes and fairytale architecture dominate the landscape, before delving into Park Guell (‘Gaudi Wonderland’), the home of open air surrealism, incorporating mosaic benches, a large ceramic lizard, houses that look like they could only have been drawn, as opposed to actually built, and sensational panoramic views across the city to top it all off. Gaudi’s architectural output is so ginger-bread-house like many find themselves letting entire days drift about amongst his dreamlike landscapes.
If you’re really into your architecture (and the locals certainly are), head to the Spanish Village, where you can explore a maze of courtyards containing buildings representing each of the different Spanish districts, as well as workshops full of traditional products; for the more modern side of life head for the markets, pick up affordable, colorful fashions and finish off your evening with a large jug of Sangria, a bowl of fried baby squid and a spinning tray of tapas at the edge of a cobbled street.
Barcelona’s range of museums is impressive, too, and include the Picasso Museum, Barcelona Football Club’s mammoth collection of European trophies at the Nou Camp (take the tour, and catch a match too if you have the chance), and the Miro Museum (home to a vast array of the artist’s most famous pieces). It wouldn’t be Barcelona without Las Ramblas, a street of vibrant market stalls and vivacious street art, a kooky, uniquely Catalonian street you’ll need several stops for shots of extra-strong coffee to make it round all of.
Don’t spend a weekend in Barcelona, take a summer to explore a sophisticated, cultured city that’s as artistic as they come, and welcomes you to the hills and a picture-perfect beach, too.
Spend an evening dining on the beach in seafood shack.
- Paco Meralgo (a must!): Carrer de Muntaner, 171 - tapas and small plates, perfect for trying as many as possible. Everything is delicious. Get the tuna, gambas, croquettes, fried artichoke.
La Boqueria: food market (a must!). Everything is AMAZING and there are tons of stalls selling food right there. One of the stalls is called Kiosko Universal, the best gambas (shrimp) is served here. Another one is Bar Pinto (chick peas and octopus).
Els 4 gats (tapas)
Tapas 24 and can ramonet for dinner, also try eating at one of the food counters in the back of the market off of las ramblas. Make sure to walk around the neighborhood barceloneta- reminiscent of the east village. Take the metro there, super quick and easy!
Eat at Llamber, and look into the Runnerbean Gaudi walking tour. It's a few hours but they bring you to each of his main architectural works in the city and it ends at Sagrada Familia. Great overview especially earlier in your trip because they give details on which of those are worth buying extra tickets for and it helps give a lay of the land.
Minor crime is sadly very common. Pickpockets have no qualms to rob mothers with prams on the metro for example; shoving you by as the doors close - knowing you cannot chase them. Be sensible, carry less cash and valuables if possible. It might well happen to you.
As in any major city, you'll get the pocket thieves, however it does not reflect the beautiful city you will visit. Just be aware of your surroundings and your personal items and you'll be fine.
You must not let reports of crime like this cause too much concern. However if you are prone to worry why not choose neighborhoods where crime is less likely; Port Olympic or a trip out to the Monserrat mountain and monastery.
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Graphic showing average weather in Barcelona in Celcius and Centimeters (Change to Farenheit and Inches)
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