Barcelona is a center of history and Modernism architecture. A once-small town, Barcelona has exploded into a large city that celebrates both the old and new.
We had been to Barcelona 25 years ago and were excited about returning to the small, sleepy town we had experienced at that time. Barcelona has changed! Las Ramblas, the main tourist walk through the old town, is wall-to-wall tourists. Lines at historic sites are long, and restaurants are in high demand. One warning we heard over and over and over again was to beware of pickpockets! Barcelona is the pickpocket capital of the world. We never had an issue, but we took precautions and were very diligent whenever we walked.
However, Barcelona is still a city that you should experience. The food, the culture, the history, and the architecture combine into an atmosphere that makes a visitor want to return. (Check out the Barcelona City Pass or the Barcelona Card to see if they will save you money during your stay.) We have been fortunate enough to stay in the Gothic Quarters which made it easy for us to walk to most of the famous sites. Of course, there are taxis, uber, and public transportation if you prefer to use these.
Gaudi’s works, although not the only examples of amazing Modernistic Architecture, must be seen to be believed. The Sagrada Familia Basilica, which has been under construction since 1882, demonstrates the creativity and break from traditional architecture of the time. Each of the church’s facades presents a different Biblical story with the statues reflecting the theme. For example, the Nativity facade is very traditional with flowing sculptures while the façade of the Suffering shows the sharp-edged statuary mirroring the sharp pain that Christ suffered. The basilica is scheduled to be completed in 2026 to mark the 100th year of Gaudi’s death.
Many of the houses that Gaudi designed are open to the public. We had been to Casa Batlló and Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera) on our previous trip. If you haven’t been to these, I would definitely suggest going to these two and Parc Guell, because they are excellent examples of his later works. We visited Parc Guell even though we had visited it on our previous trip. When we were there on our first visit we simply walked into the park. On this trip we had pre-purchased tickets, a must for almost any place in Barcelona, and were 2 of the 400 people allowed in at our time period. Even with the crowds, the tile work and nature-inspired construction amaze visitors. This trip we chose to visit Casa Vicens, the first house Gaudi designed that just opened to the public in 2018. As wonderfully different as Gaudi’s works are, you can be overwhelmed and ignore the other wonderful sites in the city. If you are interested, visit La Sagrada Familia, one of the houses, and Parc Guell and leave the others until another visit.
Barcelona has exciting places to explore around every corner: the Picasso Museum, the Barcelona Cathedral, ruins of the Roman walls, and the Museum of the History of Barcelona are just a few. In addition, there are so many places to shop and eat that you could stay a month and still never experience all Barcelona has to offer.
Barcelona is a foodie city with two of the world’s best restaurants and over 20 Michelin-starred restaurants. Barcelona’s Catalan background provides scrumptious dining opportunities for locals and tourists alike. Some of our favorite evenings have been spent enjoying a wonderful dinner and then strolling through the streets until we find a vendor selling fresh churros and chocolate.
Have you been to Barcelona and want to add information or do you have questions about it that I can help answer? If so, please post a comment below.