Visiting Barcelona has been a great experience. Exploring tiny streets, tasting tapas, amazing sights, from Joan Miro Foundation to swinging 100’s of feet high above Barcelona from the telefericos, camera in one hand and holding on VERY tightly with the other …
It is worth visiting Barcelona during March, April or May, when low-cost airlines have excellent ticket prices and the weather is not too hot! We flew from Bristol Airport with Easy Jet, and after a couple of hours flying we landed at Barcelona’s airport. The airport is the second largest in Spain, and handles around 30 million passengers each year. Easy Jet fly in to their own terminal in Barcelona, light, spacious, clean and the duty-free shops and staff are a vision in orange!
It was a brisk walk to the Aerobus stop, where we purchased our tickets at just over 5 Euros for a single ticket to Placa de Catalunya, the hub of the city’s transport system and a place where people meet at popular restaurants and cafés.
Barcelona is the capital of the Catalonian region, as well as the province of Barcelona. Although Spanish is the official language in Spain, in the Catalonian region Catalan is also recognized as the co-official language. Barcelona is the 4th most visited city in Europe (after Paris, London, and Rome). It is the most popular tourist destination in Spain with millions of tourists every year.
As well as being a major tourist destination, Barcelona has a rich cultural heritage. Architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites and of course Barcelona is well-known for the 1992 Summer Olympics – the stadium is worth a visit.
The weather was great when visiting during March/April temperatures ranging from 15-22 deg C. However, like many Spanish cities, July and August tend to be the hottest months, with temperatures soaring into the mid 30s. Barcelona revels in its 4.5 km of coastline, with seven beaches and with these high temperatures they quickly become very busy!
Having arrived safely at Placa de Catalunya the warmth of the Spring sunshine encourages people to stroll and sit around the fountain, pigeons being fed, students chatting, and generally it is a hive of activity. We headed toward Las Ramblas, the most famous walkway in Spain. Here there was a flurry of activity from flower stalls Rambla de les Flors, the bird-cages of Rambla dels Ocells, artists, students, buskers, and street performers, every step a changing scene. At the end of Las Ramblas is a 50m high monument of Christopher Columbus. There is a lift you can take to the top where you have incredible views of the harbour.
Here we turned left and headed towards our hotel Hotel Duquesa de Cardona. The hotel is extremely well situated at the harbour front along Passeig de Colom, and close to Passeig del Born and the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar. The hotel has a beautiful roof-top terrace overlooking the harbour. A peaceful and relaxing place for an evening cocktail or maybe a glass of sangria, whilst watching the cruise ships come and go.
Out and about
There are so many museums, monuments, cathedrals, shops and places to visit, it can be overwhelming at first to decide where to go and what to see. For me wandering around Barri Gotic, La Ribera along Passeig del Born, exploring the vast array of tapas bars, stylish restaurants, jewellers, music bars, sweet shops, vintage shops, boutiques and wine bars was a pleasurable experience.
For the more adventurous the Telefericos cable car from Montjuic gives a bird’s eye view of Barcelona, the World Trade Centre and Harbour… and yes I did go across!! It was stunning, amazing and VERY scary!
Taller de Tapas by Santa Maria del Mar was our favourite place to eat. Local fresh produce, cooked and served quickly by professional and welcoming staff. I particularly enjoyed the lively and life affirming atmosphere.
The MACBA – Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art holds works of art and sculpture dating from the 17th century until today, and there are exhibitions, film specials, seminars and concerts in the museum. The MACBA change their collections, ranging from Fortuny, Picasso, Susana Solano, Sunyer, Alexander Calder, and Paul Klee. Sadly the collection was rather disappointing the day we visited. Further attractions worth visiting are Museu Picasso, La Sagrada Familia- Antoni Gaudi’s unfinished cathedral, who latterly dedicated himself to his great vision for Europe’s biggest cathedral, The Catedral in Barri Gotic – the entrance is in Placa de la Seu, but sadly both these cathedrals are shrouded by large cranes, renovations and building works in progress. One of the best ways to see these many attractions is to take a Barcelona City Tour bus. There are different routes, and you can hop on and off the stops of your choice all day.
Miro Foundation Parc de Montjuc –
The Joan Miro Foundation houses an extensive collection of Miro’s works. The building itself is very pleasing and modern, with white walls and skylights designed by Josep Lluis Sert. Once inside a vibrant large tapestry dominates the room, typically of red blue and yellow. There are sketches from his notebooks, garden sculptures outside, where you can admire his work together with some superb views of Barcelona, a library, auditorium, there are also regular guest exhibitions and performances.
St Josep Boqueria Market –
Heading down Las Ramblas, towards the sea, on the right hand side is the famous St Josep Boqueria Market. The vibrant and colourful array of ingredients for sale is extraordinary! The Boqueria Market is covered which is a welcome area of shade. The market is open daily, except Sundays.
Visiting Barcelona has been great fun. This lively and colourful city is certainly worth a visit.