Every year for our anniversary, Arber and I try to travel somewhere new. This year, for our 5th anniversary, we wanted to go either in Amsterdam or in Barcelona. At the end we chose the second one and I’m happy we did as we were not disappointed. The city is HUGE and you can’t simply see everything in a short period of time, but we managed to walk a LOT and see as much as possible 🙂 . Full of energy, happy people everywhere around, magnificent architecture, vibrant food scene, great Mediterranean weather and beautiful beaches..what else is needed for a city to be called perfect? The first day of our exploration focuses on the city center of Barcelona, and everything here is easily walkable. It covers some of the most famous works of Anton Gaudi plus one of the city’s most famous streets.
– Sagrada Familia
This is without any doubt Gaudí’s masterpiece, even though he didn’t finish it. The Sagrada Familia project began in 1882 and when Gaudi died in 1926, only a quarter of the basilica was completed. The completion date is estimated to be 2026 and it will be the tallest religious building in all Europe. La Sagrada Familia is home to the tomb of Gaudi, it is located in the underground level of the building. When La Sagrada Familia is completed, it will have 18 towers. At the moment there are only 8 towers. 12 of the towers will represent the apostles, for of them will represent evangelists, one for the Virgin Mary and one for the Jesus Christ. It is also worth mentioning that ‘La Sagrada Familia’ was designated as a UNESCO World heritage site in 1984. It was very crowdy, so I didn’t find the perfect spot for pictures, but we tried our best 🙂
It’s one of the most famous and popular Gaudi’s houses in Barcelona. The property is intriguing even from the outside, with the famous balconies on the building’s facade, which are reminiscent of Venetian masks. Since it is a very popular spot, the queue to visit it inside was very long, so we didn’t wait.
– Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is the largest street/boulevard in Barcelona, for pedestrians only. Along, there are touristy booths with magnets, candy and postcards, sidewalk cafes and street entertainers. You have the chance to check out some really amazing art work by artisans and some cute small shops with flowers. It’s also one of the biggest pickpocket hotspots in Europe, so be extra vigilant. Did you know that ‘La Rambla’ was originally a river, which divided the city in two sides, but the river gets dry and years later was modified to build this boulevard.
– Gothic Quarter
While wandering around in the city you’re going to head deep into the warren of narrow streets that is the Gothic Quarter. This is the oldest part of the city, and has some of the highlights of Barcelona tucked away. I’d definitely recommend having a paper map handy when you start to explore – the high buildings and narrow streets mean GPS signals can get easily confused.
Barcelona has a number of beaches, but the most popular is the Platja Barcelona at Vila Olimpica, which was the home of the 1992 Olympics. This beach is linked directly to ‘Las Ramblas’, so its easy to take a walk in the boulevard and continue with a walk by the beach. ‘La Barceloneta’ has several volleyball courts for sports lovers, umbrellas ,sunbeds, showers and changing rooms for those who want to do sunbathing and calm sea for those who want to do windsurfing or kite surfing.
-The magic Fountain
The magic Fountain is one of Barcelona’s most popular tourist destinations and one of the most beautiful fountains in the world, along with the Fountain of Trevi in Rome and the Fountains of Bellagio in Las Vegas. The magic fountain of Montjuïc’s first performance was on May 19, 1929 during the Great Universal Exhibition. The designer Carles Buigas submitted his plans one year before the exhibition and many thought that the project was too ambitious to be created, let alone completed on time.
The magic fountain is a spectacular display of colour, light, motion, music and water acrobatics – if you mix these elements together in just the right combinations, you end up with pure magic!
– Arch de Triomf
the Arc de Triomf rises majestically at the end of the Passeig Lluís Companys. The combination of red brick and the row of friezes as decorative borders around the arch make it a uniquely beautiful landmark of Barcelona.
The exterior part as you can see it’s beautiful but since it is surrounded by tall buildings it is a bit difficult to photograph. The interior is also beautiful, large with gorgeous statues, paintings and gold alters.
Now let’s come to my favorite part: EATING!
Let’s just say we came back to Munich with 2kg extra, so you can imagine how much we ate and enjoyed the food. In my opinion Barcelona was not expensive at all, especially compared to Venice and/or Paris. We ate a LOT, sometimes even 5 times per day :P. All of the restaurants we went to, were great. Service was super, food was tasty and the price was okay. I would say my absolute favorite place was ‘Surf House’. It is different from all the ‘paella restaurants’ around and it gives you some Californian vibes. With a small terrace on the Barceloneta boulevard, overlooking the beach, you have the perfect location. Perfect for ‘healthy food’ lovers.
Next: ‘Ciudad Condal’ – a typical Spanish tapas restaurant. Immediately when you enter, you get lost in the colorful food exposed in the bar. I just love the concept of these small plates of Spanish food, which allow me not only to snack throughout the day, but also to try many different dishes in one sitting.
You know what the coolest part was? We were able to understand and speak the language. All those years of watching ‘telenovelas’ finally paid off, lol. Barcelona gave us the home vibe. People were sooo friendly you can not imagine.
Fun facts about Barcelona:
-is one of the world’s major cities where smoking cannabis is legal – Home to over 700 cannabis clubs, it’s no surprise Spain is often referred to as “Holland of the South”.
-is older than Rome – One theory about the origins of Barcelona says the city may have been founded by Hercules, 400 years before Rome was built, but the truth is, no one really knows…
-could have been home to the Eiffel Tower – if everything had gone according to Gustave Eiffel’s initial plan, Paris’ most famous landmark would now be in Barcelona. Unfortunately, Spain rejected the architect’s project, deciding that it was too “radical” and did not fit the city’s aesthetics.
-is one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in Europe – Madrid may have the largest gay community in Spain and the gayest neighborhood on the planet (Chueca), but Barcelona, with its anti-homophobia law adopted in 2014 and vibrant LGBT club scene and festivals, is no doubt Europe’s gay summer party hotspot.
-is home to the largest football stadium in Europe – Covering a surface area of 55,000 square meters Camp Nou, FC Barcelona club’s home stadium, has a capacity of 99,354 people and is not only the largest football stadium in Europe, but also the 2nd biggest in the world.
Have you ever been to Barcelona? What did you think about it?
Much love <3