Five days in Barcelona
The best way to start discovering Barcelona is the Barcelona Card, which gives you the freedom to travel around and explore the city. In addition to free travel on public transport, it features discounts and free admission to some of the city's iconic attractions. We suggest you start the day on Passeig de Gràcia, the most majestic boulevard in the Eixample district, where you'll find some true architectural gems. The Barcelona Walking Tour Modernisme will reveal the secrets tucked away on the façades of La Pedrera-Casa Milà and Casa Batlló, among other landmarks. Nearby, in the buzzing neighbourhood of Gràcia, you'll be able to continue your love affair with Antoni Gaudí's work, as it is home to his first masterpiece, the Casa Vicens. The building was inspired by nature and marked the beginning of the city's art-nouveau, or modernista, idyll. You can boost your energy levels in one of the many charming squares in the area by sampling some delicious Catalan dishes. After lunch, how about a visit to the famous Sagrada Família? The stained-glass windows inside Gaudí's basilica will leave you speechless. And to round off this Gaudiesque day, the spectacular open-air spaces of Park Güell await, bringing together all the trademark elements of Gaudí's work. On your first evening, you could revisit the Eixample – it's a great choice – and sample some of the local dishes at one of its many restaurants.
You can start the day with a visit to the Torre Urquinaona viewing point or the amazing Palau de la Música Catalana, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As you wander through the Gothic Quarter, you'll be able to soak up the history of Barcelona. If you look closely, you'll see remnants of Roman and medieval art on the walls of the streets and squares. The Barcelona Walking Tour Gòtic is one of the best ways to discover its secrets. And you can complete you newly acquired, fascinating knowledge about the city at the Museu d'Història de Barcelona. At the famous Boqueria Market you'll find stalls bursting with incredible flavours. The city's main boulevard, La Rambla, is home to one of the world's most prestigious opera houses, the Gran Teatre del Liceu. At the bottom of La Rambla, the Columbus Monument awaits. Ride to the top in the lift and enjoy breathtaking views of the Gothic Quarter, the old harbour, the Port Vell, and La Rambla. Are you impressed with the Mediterranean? If so, we suggest you take a trip along the coast on a sea tour. You'll be able to enjoy sailing, the sea breeze and impressive views of the city and its skyline. We also recommend you discover Barcelona's fine, golden sands while you sample tasty Mediterranean dishes at one of the many restaurants you'll find right on the beach.
In the afternoon, a visit to the Born is a great plan. It is one of the city's most vibrant and modern neighbourhoods although its history dates back more than a thousand years. The former fresh-food market has been converted into the Centre de Memòria i Cultura, which is also home to an archaeological site that shows what Barcelona was like in the early 18th century. At the top of the narrow avenue, the Passeig del Born, you'll find the stunning Gothic basilica of Santa Maria del Mar. The nearby Carrer Montcada is home to beautiful medieval mansions and palaces, one of them home to the Museu Picasso, where you're bound to be impressed by the artist's blue period, which dates from his youth. Next door, the Moco Museum showcases contemporary art and digital technology mixed together in an innovative way. And after this injection of art, we suggest you unwind and have a bite to eat on a terrace or at an iconic restaurant and check out the nightlife in the neighbourhood.
As its name suggests, the sophisticated Avinguda Diagonal cuts obliquely through the city. The end of the avenue furthest away from the sea is home to the neighbourhood of Pedralbes, and the gardens of the Royal Palace of Pedralbes, with their beautiful plants and trees, are a great place to start. Nearby, you can admire the majestic wrought-iron dragon gate and entrance to Antoni Gaudí's Güell Gatehouses. In Pedralbes, you'll also find the Royal Monastery of Santa Maria de Pedralbes. You'll feel pleasantly relaxed as you walk around its impressive cloisters and rooms showcasing unique works of art and liturgical objects.
The Avinguda Diagonal offers a wide variety of dining options. Choose the style that best suits your taste and, afterwards, visit the Spotify Camp Nou. At F.C. Barcelona's legendary stadium you'll find out about the club's history and the secrets of your favourite players. You can spend the afternoon at one of the city's green lungs: Montjuïc hill. It's full of really interesting places, including the Olympic Ring on Montjuïc, which was the main site of the 1992 Olympic Games, and the Museu Olímpic i de l'Esport Joan A. Samaranch, which bears witness to this historic event. Montjuïc is also home to the Castell de Montjuïc, symbol of the repression and struggle of the city throughout history, the Fundació Joan Miró, a showcase for some of the artist's most impressive works, and the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, where you'll find the world's finest collection of Romanesque frescoes. And to round off this exciting day, nearby, the Poble Espanyol gives you the opportunity to wander round an architectural site representing the cultural wealth and diversity of different parts of Spain. Make the most of your visit and have dinner at one of its restaurants.
There are also unmissable places near Barcelona! You can visit them on an organised excursion, like the ones run by the Catalunya Bus Turístic. Do you like nature? Discover the unique mountain of Montserrat and its Benedictine monastery. It is home to the famous Romanesque carving of the black virgin, popularly known as La Moreneta. In the north of Catalonia, the history of Girona and the Museu Dalí in Figueres await. You can visit them both in one day and they won't fail to impress. And if time allows, make sure you don't miss the spectacular beaches in the north of Catalonia on the Tour Costa Brava.
If you prefer to visit places at your leisure, you can travel on public transport to Montserrat and the Gaudí crypt at the Colònia Güell, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
La Roca Village is another destination not too far away that will delight lovers of shopping. The complex is home to more than 160 shops selling leading Spanish and international brands with discounts of over 60% off the original price.
Which destination are you going to pick?
Barcelona is also home to a new spectacular architectural heritage. The 22@ district, which brings together creativity, innovation, technology and industrial redesign, is a prime example. You can start in Plaça de les Glòries. Adjacent to it, stands the second-hand market, the Mercat dels Encants, with its spectacular metal structure. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday you can go to the auction and see the different lots being sold… provided you get up early, that is! Across the square, the Museu del Disseny awaits with more than 70,000 objects from different disciplines, including ceramics, fashion and industrial design. The museum also promotes design-related initiatives in the creative industries throughout the city. The imposing Torre Glòries rises up behind the museum. It is one of Barcelona's most unusual, early 21st-century buildings and stands 144 m high. On the 30th floor, you can visit the viewing point with its 360º views of the city, the sea and the mountains. Nearby, Poblenou retains all the charm of a neighbourhood from bygone days, particularly its main avenue, the Rambla del Poblenou, which is lined with restaurants and pavement cafés where you can take a well-earned rest.
In the afternoon, if you cross the Avinguda Diagonal, you'll come to the Parc Central del Poblenou: a 5-hectare site featuring plants and urban design in equal measure. As you can see, design is part of the city's DNA. And before you say goodbye to Barcelona, we recommend you use your Barcelona Card to visit another of its green lungs: mount Tibidabo, the highest point in the city. From here, you'll be able to enjoy wonderful views of the Barcelona skyline. As you take in the vistas, we're sure you'll be planning your next trip to Barcelona!
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