The first thing you should know is that Barcelona is known to everyone who loves her as Barca (say it “Baa-Sa”).
1. Hoof it. Walk around! Barcelona is a large and very lively city. It is full of exciting buildings, lovely museums, great bars, restaurants and clubs. The streets of Barcelona are meant for pleasant strolls, which will allow you take in the sights at a calm pace. The climate is likely to work in your favor, as with so many places on the Mediterranean. It also has the advantage of having the Mediterranean Ocean running right up to the city center! Get out there and enjoy it!
2. See buildings by Gaudi. However, if you’re in the mood for some sightseeing, a trip to Barcelona is not complete without taking in some of the magical and intriguing works of Antonio Gaudi. Most famous is the Sagrada Familia, an astonishingly ornate unfinished cathedral (Gaudi was a very devout Catholic). There are also fine examples of houses that he was commissioned to design throughout Barca.
One of the most striking is Casa Mila, with an outside like undulating surface like the sea or sand on a beach. Inside the marine theme is continued with patios in greens and blues. However, it is the roof which is the most stunning with its strange human-like chimney stacks – figures like large effigies staring out onto the cityscape.
3. If you like Gaudi’s buildings, be sure to stop by the Park Guell, also designed by this talented architect in the early 20th century. It will surely leave a lasting impression. The park is beloved by natives and tourists alike, who flock to see the colorful curving benches and whismical sculptures studded with mosaic tiles. Watch the youngsters playing football while their parents sit nearby enjoying a cup of coffee. If you want to get away from the crowds, pathways lead to more private areas of the park.
4. Ramble along La Rambla, the long stretch of street that runs from the water’s edge to the old portion of the city. The street once carried water inland, but it’s now an entertainment mecca, full of storefronts, theaters, bars and restaurants. It’s also home to a covered food- hall where you can stock up on tasty treats, from cheese to ham to nuts to fruits and veggies.
5. Indulge your artistic side. Stop in at the Musee Picasso, a cozy museum devoted solely to the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Here you’ll find many fine pieces of ceramic artwork, childhood sketches, mature works and information on the artist’s life. The museum is full of fascinating and beautiful images, but it’s small enough to explore over the course of an afternoon.
6. Sports buffs should run on over to Camp Nou, a stadium where some of Europe’s most exciting soccer matches have been held. Try and catch a game, or if you’re there on an off-day explore the soccer museum or take a guided tour of the facilities. As you can see, there really is something for everyone in Barca!