Of course, getaways for 1-2 days should take place within Europe and the Middle East! When planning a short tour to Barcelona, you will have the chance not only to see the gorgeous architecture of the immortal Gaudi, but also to get to know Spanish traditions, observe the everyday habits of local residents, and visit iconic restaurants and markets.
Sagrada Familia is the symbol of Barcelona, and it is located in the very heart of the city. You can reach this world-famous site by foot from any hotel located in the center of the megapolis. Although the cathedral continues to be under construction, it is possible to enjoy the interior that is open to public. The inner space features stained glass windows and mosaics that create amazing plays of light and shadows inside this majestic building. In addition, visitors can climb one of the towers in order to see the city from a height of 172 meters and enjoy the breath-taking panoramic view. The truth is that Antonio Gaudi created only the drafts of three facades and several towers. After the death of this prominent architect, the remaining elements of this sacred building were constructed by other specialists. Shortly after Gaudi’s death, Domenec Sugrañes, one of Gaudi’s main assistants, took charge of the construction work. When the Civil War and World War II finally ended, the municipality assigned contemporary architects to continue the process of construction. Nevertheless, the architects have managed to preserve Gaudi’s main ideas. The result is that the cathedral really looks incredible! Even if you plan to spend only one day in Barcelona, it is well worth seeing the greatest unfinished project in Spain.
- Address: Carrer de Mallorca, 401.
- Working hours: November – February: 9:00 – 18:00, March: 9:00 – 19:00, April – September: 9:00 – 20:00, October: 9:00 – 19:00.
- Website: www.sagradafamilia.org
Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to see all the wonderful parks in this city during a short visit to Barcelona. Park Laberint d’Horta lies far to the northern part of the city. Another famous place, Park Guell, is located in La Salut district near the foot of the mountain. In order to reach Tibidabo, it is necessary to take some form of public transport or a taxi. However, Ciutadella Park is situated at the very center of the city in the El Born district, next to many other major places of interest, hotels, and some of the best restaurants. There are plenty of options for leisure and entertainment in this spacious, green park. Here you can go for a walk, practice yoga on one of the lawns, ride a bike, play ping pong, rent a boat and enjoy sailing over the picturesque pond surface, admire the exotic ducks and fantastic flowers, or have a picnic on the grassy carpet next to the refreshing waterfront. In close proximity to this park, you will find the Barcelona Zoo and Arc of Triumph as well as countless cafeterias. Inside the park, make sure to see one of the most prominent sights of Barcelona: the Cascada fountain designed by Josep Fontseré, in collaboration with the sculptors Rosende Nobas, Venansi Vallmitjana, and the young Antonio Gaudi.
- Address: Passeig de Picasso, 21.
- Working hours: 9:00 - 24:00.
- Website: www.barcelona.cat
On La Boqueria market
Santa Caterina market
Every district in Barcelona has its own market. There are three in the center of the city: La Boqueria, Santa Caterina, and San Antoni. Of these, La Boqueria is the most popular touristic site and is located on the main street of the city. The products here are often overpriced, but the abundance of fresh seafood, vegetables, and fruits are sure to impress the market’s many visitors. Also, you should not miss the chance to visit the small cafeterias with delicious paella and the gelaterias with all kinds of ice cream imaginable. Santa Caterina market lies in El Born. Here you can also enjoy the many cozy cafeterias, buy any kind of jamón and cheese you might desire, and find stunning, multi-colored Spanish dishware and various kitchen utensils for sale.
Even if you can manage only a short trip, you will have a unique opportunity to discover the curious habits of Catalonian residents during a morning or midday visit to the market. You can drink a cup of coffee in the company of relaxed locals enjoying the bright sunlight or order an omelet or croissant. During the daytime hours, make sure to try the traditional tapas and savor the fresh produce with the sounds of quick Spanish chatting in the background for a real, culturally immersive experience. Currently, San Antoni market is closed for reconstruction, but next to the building, you will find temporary pavilions holding all the same products sold in the market as well as cozy restaurants where octopus, shrimp, and “patatas bravas” are served for lovers of the Mediterranean cuisine.
- Address: La Rambla, 91, Av. de Francesc Cambó, 16, Carrer Comte d'Urgell, 1.
- Working hours: La Boqueria: 8:00 – 20:30 Santa Caterina: 7.30 – 20:30, Wednesday, Saturday, and Monday until 15:30 San Antoni: 9:30 – 20:30, except for Thursday and Sunday .
Quimet & Quimet
If you are planning a weekend trip to Barcelona, Spain, it is simply a must to visit one of the cult tapas-bars, which the locals call “el sitio clasico.” This is a small establishment that serves unique tapas with seafood and vegetables and the best local wines and vermouths. In spite of the fact that this place does not have tables at all, only barrels and counters, it is always crowded here, and guests may have to wait until a small corner becomes vacant. Nevertheless, this place has been a legendary gathering spot for over 25 years already. When you try the local tapas served here, you will understand why.
- Address: Carrer del Poeta Cabanyes, 25.
- Working hours: 12:00 midday – 16:00 and 19:00 – 22:30, except for Saturday and Sunday.
La Pedrera y Casa Batlló
No trip, even the shortest trip to Barcelona, can be called a really good getaway without a visit to two of the major buildings created by Gaudi. La Pedrera is not just an incredible architectural monument but also an iconic edifice that holds great significance for Barcelona. This is the very place where famous band concerts and lightshows take place during the national holidays. At the moment, only an apartment that lies on the 6th floor, featuring an attic space and a roof terrace, is open to the public. Its design follows the traditions of 1920’s. By contrast, visitors can see the whole interior of Casa Batlló. Moreover, amazing mosaics, stunning colors, and spiral staircases in the modernist style are only some of the elements that everyone should see, including those visitors who normally are not so interested in architecture. Doubtless, this building is one of the world’s marvels of our epoch.
- Address: La Pedrera: Provença, 261-265, Casa Batlló: Passeig de Gràcia, 43.
- Working hours: La Pedrera: 9:00 – 20:30 and 21:00 – 23:00 Casa Batlló: 9:00 – 21:00.
- Websites: www.lapedrera.com, www.casabatllo.es
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