It was the peak of summer in August of 2013 when Joana and I felt the need to escape Portugal’s countryside. We were looking for somewhere special that combined beach, entertainment and culture. We couldn’t travel too far though so our destination was easy to choose: we packed our bags and headed to Barcelona.
With low-cost flights available and being so close to Portugal, Barcelona is really accessible. The city is full of people and culture, leaving us completely astounded. And the beach, with its Mediterranean water, was also pretty nice!
Whether you’re looking for a place colored by the world’s greatest artists, a city full of entertainment or a destination to relax on the summer’s hottest days – Barcelona has all of that and much more! Below, check out our suggestions for the places you can’t miss in Barcelona:
Barceloneta Beach was the reason we chose Barcelona as our summer getaway and it didn’t disappoint! The beach is always filled with people and different activities. It’s the perfect place for jogging by the sea, dipping your toes in the warm waters of the Mediterranean and spending a few days relaxing in the sun. If you’re looking for quieter dunes, you can walk a few feet to Barcelona’s calmer beaches like Bogatell or Ocata.
Gaudí’s greatest artwork, the Sagrada Familia is one of Barcelona’s most popular landmarks. Eternally in construction, this basilica reflects Gaudí’s mastery – there are so many architectural details that we felt we were constantly turning our head to admire another part of the basilica! Of course this is one of Barcelona’s most visited monuments so purchase your tickets online and avoid the queues to get in.
To really feel Barcelona and all of its History and eclectic culture, there is nothing better than taking a walk through its Gothic Quarter. From the historic atmosphere of the Jewish Quarter to the unique architecture of the buildings and small squares, there are a lot of picturesque spots to discover. And there are many museums and monuments to visit too – the Picasso Museum and the Cathedral are just its best known ones. Along our walk, Joana and I even stopped for some tapas here and we loved it!
It’s impossible to visit Barcelona and not pass by here at least once. And, honestly, who would want to miss the opportunity to wander down La Rambla and discover the best of Barcelona’s food and culture? Street artists, delicious street food, eccentric shops and museums for all preferences – on La Rambla, anything is possible!
LA BOQUERIA MARKET
Located on La Rambla, this is the city’s best market. Here, locals and tourists blend in between stands selling everything from fresh vegetables, meats, fish and all kinds of spices. If you want to spend some time here and feel the hustle and bustle that is so typical of Barcelona, there are some stalls that sell wine and are perfect to take a break.
It’s an absolute must to take the Modernist path in Barcelona. By following it on foot (or by bus for the lazy ones ;)), it’s possible to admire all of Gaudí’s major creations from Plaça Reial to Casa Millà. But our favorite was undoubtedly Casa Batlló with its façade that looks like it was created in a fantasy world. The flowery pattern, the colorful roof and its majestic interior décor are just some of the details you can’t miss!
Protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1984, this park is visited by almost 10 million people every year! The park isn’t just one of Gaudí’s greatest masterpieces (along with the Sagrada Familia) – it also offers an unbeatable panoramic view of Barcelona. And you already know what you need to do: purchase your tickets online to avoid waiting in line!
In my opinion, Barcelona has the best football in the world. So, a visit to Camp Nou is a must to get to know the home of one of the best teams in the world. You can visit the stadium’s most iconic places (like the players’ shower rooms or the tunnel to get to the pitch) and learn more about the team’s history in the museum. A must stop for any football fan!
One of Barcelona’s best known attractions, the Magic Fountain was only built in 1929 but quickly turned into a symbol for the Catalan city. Every weekend at night, more than 3,000 jets created an incredible water show that reaches up to 50m in height. To accompany it, lights and music create the rhythm for a unique show. You just can’t miss it!
We returned to Barcelona in 2018, dressed as bride and groom, for our session in "Ciudad Condal", see the story on this link!