Barcelona is an undeniably beautiful city, full of bright colorful eye candy. The city reaches right down to the Mediterranean sea and stretches out to the surrounding hills. You can walk to the beach and port within minutes of the historic Old Town. Or get an overhead view of the immensity of the city from the system of aerial tramways. Spend time wandering the Parc Güell and La Sagrada Familia, and from then on you will notice the influence of Antonio Gaudi and his modernist style on architecture all over the city.
Experience the food of Barcelona with a walk through the Mercado de La Boqueria and then sample a few of the many tapas restaurants. In the evening, take in a classical music or flamenco performance at the Palau de Musica or listen to jazz in a hidden basement jazz club and cocktail lounge.
So much to see and do, no wonder Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in the world. 8.9 million international visitors predicted for 2017. That’s a lot of travel stories.
This is our story of how we have experienced Barcelona, in pictures.
A perfect day in Barcelona begins with a run along the waterfront Passeig Marítim
Boats in the Port Vell marina. The Port Vell was part of an urban renewal project in preparation for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. It includes 2 marinas, a waterfront shopping mall with restaurants, an IMAX theatre, and Europes largest aquarium.
“Miraestels” (stargazer) sculpture by Catalan artist Robert Llimós with the Port Vell Aerial tramway in the background.
The Port Vell Aerial Tramway ( Teleférico del Puerto) connects the harbor to the Miramar station on Montjuic hill.
Get high up above the city in the teleferico and take in the immensity of Barcelona
The Miramar restaurant at the top of the Port Vell Tramway has an impressive view over the harbor and the city.
Further up the hill, the Montjuïc Cable Car ( Teleférico de Montjuïc) is separate aerial tram that takes you up to the Montjuic Castle. The castle dates from the 17th century, when the summit of Montjuïc was fortified during the Revolt of Catalonia.
Looking over the amazing view of the port, it’s easy to forget the violent history of the Montjuïc Castle. These Vickers coastal defense guns installed in 1938 during the Spanish Civil War are a stark reminder.
Park Güell is a public park designed by Antonio Gaudi and built between 1900 and 1914. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park was commissioned by Count Eusebi Güell, a Spanish entrepreneur and long time friend of Gaudi.
The Parc Güell Monumental Zone, which requires an entrance fee, includes the main entrance and a terrace covered with mosaics.
Climb to the top of the Turó de les Tres Creus, the highest point of the Parc Güell and the best panoramic views of the city
La Sagrada Família, Gaudi’s famous Roman Catholic church has been under construction since 1882 and remains unfinished. The goal is to finish by 2026, the 100 year anniversary of Gaudi’s death. Taken in as a whole, to me it seems a mess. The beauty is in the details.
The Nativity facade of La Sagrada Familia, the first facade to be completed, constructed between 1894 and 1930.
The Passion facade portrays the sins of man and the sacrifice of Christ
The breathtaking interior of La Sagrada Familia looking to the High Altar
The “Crucifixion of Christ” bronze sculpture hanging over the high altar of La Sagrada Familia
More Gaudi…Casa Milà, also known as La Pedrera, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A private residence designed by Gaudi and built between 1906 and 1912.
The influence of Gaudi is seen in the modernist elements of the Casa Comalat, built in 1911 by Catalan architect Salvador Valeri i Pupurull.
The Mercat La Boqueria is the one of the most famous public markets in Europe. And the most visited by tourists. There has been a market in this location since the 1200’s.
In this colorful, vibrant market there are over 200 vendors selling produce, meat, fish, spices, and more
Dragon Fruit (Pitaya) ready to eat, spoon included.
The ornate Palau de la Música was built between 1905 – 1908 in the Catalan Art Nouveau style. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You can take a guided tour, but it’s not the same as seeing a performance in this gorgeous venue. Ticket prices are affordable.
Details of the ceiling and central skylight of the Concert Auditorium
The Milano Cocktail Bar in Eixample is a great venue for an evening of live jazz. Keep an eye out for the hard-to-find entrance.
Milano has live jazz almost every evening at 9pm. Admittance is free with a drink minimum of 10-15 euros to cover the music.
They whip up great cocktails at the Milano Cocktail Bar, like this Gin Basil Smash.