A city loved by millions for its many facades; cosmopolitan, authentic and free-spirited, Barcelona is one of Spain’s most visited destinations. One of the liveliest European cities I’ve visited, Barcelona or as the natives would pronounce it “Barthelona” is full of action, passionate wanderers, whimsical architecture and a glowing culture. Whether you want to wander the streets and enjoy lifes festivities all night long, explore beautiful buildings and wonderous gardens, or want to indulge in tapas and paella galore Barcelona is an exciting and invigorating city that everyone must experience.
Nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Serra del Collserolla Mountains, Barcelona is an enchanting city full of culture and exciting spots to visit that will keep you busy for days. Once you are done exploring and sightseeing you can wander over to the boardwalk along the the coast and relax on the beach while listening to music, socializing with fellow travelers, and drinking refreshing spirits in one of the many beachside bars that drape beside the hot sand. Barcelona’s largest and oldest open-air market, Mercat de la Boqueria, is filled with fish, meat, fresh produce, and preserves. Its 265 stalls selling over 20,000 different products rests beneath a gorgeous middle age building dating back to the 1840s. I love visiting markets in any given country, they give you a taste culture, cuisine and open your eyes to the locals way of life and beautiful daily routine. This market has an exit to Las Rambles which opens a door to a whole other world. Compared to Le Champs Elysee in Paris, Las Rambles is one of the busiest streets, with quaint cafes, tapas bars, and shops, lying in the heart of Barcelona. The little streets and alleyways that branch off of Las Rambles are idyllically special and entwine in a maze like character leading to quintessential squares and plazas.
A lovely and bustling plaza is Place de Real, located directly off Las Rambles and amongst at the mouth of the old city. This is where my favorite little hostel is located. Years ago I stayed there an experienced an amazing side of Barcelona with the wonderful friends we met. Kabul Hostel is a typical European Hostel; worn rooms, mediocre food, delicious drinks, and fabulous company. Reasonable, memorable, and worth the hostel-like accomodation, Kabul was a perfect spot to truly experience Barcelona. It’s lovely to always be able to stay in beautiful boutique hotels, with their endless amenities and lavish qualities, but at the same time you can stay in a little hole in the wall hostel and the memories that blossom will be ever powerful and special. If you want that little boutique hotel, try Hotel Pulitzer. Located in a great area, lovely rooms, rooftop patio and beautiful modern design aesthetic this little hotel will charm you. ( and is quite reasonable too!)
One of the most visited and renowned sites in Barcelona is La Sagrada Familia. Reminiscent of a melting candle or un-stable sand-castle, this iconic Roman Catholic Church is Gaudi’s masterpiece and is fascinating with unique disposition and strange qualities. La Sagrada or Church of the Holy Family, is still under construction since first being built in 1882. Its winding spires, and tiny cavernous hallways are eery and incredible. After you explore La Sagrada you must continue on to Gaudi’s next work of art at Park Guell. It’s a whimsical and truly mesmeric place, where architecuture, landscaping and nature all meld together. Originating in 1900, when Count Eusebi Güell bought a tree-covered hillside and hired Gaudí to create a miniature city of houses for the wealthy in landscaped grounds. The project was abandoned and the remenants of Gaudi’s work rest at Park Guell, one of my favorite spots in Barcelona.
The cuisine in Barcelona and Spain in general is what would be expected. Tapas, Paella, Kabobs, and my favorite Sangria! My fond memories are rolling out of bed on a warm spanish morning and sitting at a little Cafe in La Place de Real enjoying the most decadent breakfast of all time, Churros con Chocolate. A deep fried pastry with a side of thick, rich, chocolate to dip your powerded pastry in. It was absolute heaven and the perfect start to every morning in Barcelona. A great restaurant to try authentic seafood Paella, located in the heart of Las Rambles is Lombardo. Here you can savor delicacies of Mediterranean and Catalan cuisine. With a stunning entrance leading you to simple rooms and traditional decor the menu at Lombardo specializes in meats and fish and traditional Spanish cuisine. Stop by Cafe Del Teatro for an authentic experience and enjoy a cup of coffee while reading a book, writing in your journal or chatting amongst friends. Everything in Barcelona is open practically 24 hours a day as the nightlife in Barcelona is unlike any in the world. You must go out to any club in Barcelona for the evening and experience the insane techno, hundreds of dancing people, and a club scene like none other in the world.
Last but not least, I would visit Casa Battlo, or House of Bones. This Art nouveau, modernistic Gaudi building is incredible with a whimsical nature and multi-color mosaic facade. Enjoy the mesmerizing architecture and delve into the mind of Gaudi.
Barcelona…FREE SPIRITED…AUTHENTIC…PASSIONATE…CULTURE-FILLED…A place everyone must experience.
We will meet again Barcelona…