Barcelona is decorated with the architecture of famous artist, Antoni Gaudi. Though his creations attract many visitors, Ignasi, our local guide says that ‘the Gaudi attractions should not be missed.’ Even if you are not very interested in architecture, these masterpieces are still worthy of a visit. His work is so distinct with creativity that it is immediately recognisable. In our opinion, there are two main Gaudi masterpieces that you should visit which are Barcelona the Basilica de La Sagrada Familía and Park Guell.
The most striking of all of his creations is the Basilica de la Sagrada Família. This Gothic style cathedral has been in construction for over 100 years. The target date for its finish is 2026 in order to commemorate the centenary of Gaudi’s death. The towering spires that are most notable of the building are said to represent important biblical figures with the largest representing Jesus Christ.
The exterior of the cathedral is eclectically decorated with biblical statues and embodies a certain traditional and religious element to the building. On the inside, there is a large juxtaposition as the interior is much more modern in appearance. Gaudi concentrated on the relationship between man and nature and the interior is designed to emulate huge flowers. This building is truly breathtaking and we would encourage you to explore inside as well as out.
The second creation of Gaudi’s that we would highly recommend is Park Guell. This is a short metro ride outside of the city and is well worth the visit. Though originally commissioned to be the grounds of a luxury estate, the park is now open to the public. The grounds are like an open air museum full of Gaudi’s creative flair. Unique sculptures, fountains and even hand rails that have been expertly designed and crafted by this artistic legend. The park is perfect for a stroll away from the hustle and bustle of the city. We would definitely recommend taking water especially during the summer heat.
The winding alleyways of the Gothic Quarter are lined with gorgeous boutique stores & cafés. At the heart of the Gothic Quarter stands the Barcelona Cathedral. Head inside and visit the tomb of Saint Eulalia, the patron Saint of Barcelona. According to legend, she was brutally tortured by the Romans for her faith. Inside the cathedral you’ll also find a courtyard garden complete with fountains and geese.
Ignasi ensures that ‘the Gothic quarter is worth exploring because it is the original area of Barcelona. It is a nice location to go and have some tapas’ If you are looking for tapas with artistic flare then check out Els Quatre Gats. This bar was said to be popular with Pablo Picasso himself, he even hosted an exhibition there early on in his career.
This is a truly off the beaten track suggestion for those who have a particular interest in history. Ignasi explains that Placa Felipe Meri is ‘a unique area to visit. This is because you can still see the walls that were bombed during the Spanish civil war’. The Spanish civil war raged from 1936-39. It was a result of growing political and economic tensions from the previous decade.
Another off the beaten track destination suggested by Ignasi is the Carmel Bunkers. This lookout at the top of the city was never a bunker but it was a stronghold base during the civil war. The bunkers provide the best view of Barcelona. It requires a bit of a trek to the top so we suggest taking plenty of water. Maybe even take some food for a picnic. Ignasi was born quite close to here and ‘remembers that when I was 17, I used to go there with my friends to have a beer. It’s like a balcony to the city. From the top there are panoramic view of the city. It was really great to go up in the evening to watch the sunset.’
Las Ramblas is the perfect shopping destination in Barcelona. This street is at the heart of the city and as a result can get very busy. We’d suggest exploring the shops towards the end of the day to avoid the majority of the crowds. La Boquería Market is situated along this street and is perfect for purchasing fresh and local food goods. If you are looking to indulge in something sweet then you must visit Escribá. This confectionary shop has been popular amongst locals as well as tourists for years because of all the sweet delights that it offers.