This fiercely independent city welcomes visitors to experience its friendly atmosphere. Explore the ancient yet well-preserved city centre.
Here’s our top things you have to do whilst in Barcelona
To get to Sagrada you can take the blue line tube and the station is called after the church. Taking to account the queues, it is easier to buy the ticket on the internet in advance and come at the chosen time. You can purchase the tickets on: http://visit.sagradafamilia.cat/?lang=en#tickets, and either print them out at home or if you are already in Barcelona you can print them from the ATM using your reservation number.
There is a range of tickets available, either just the Sagrada for € 15 (with audio guide €19.5), Sagrada and one tower (Passion or Naivity) for €19.5 (with audio guide €24) or Sagrada and Gaudí’s museum in Park Guelf for €18.5 (doesn’t include the ticket to the Park, only the museum). You can see the exterior of the basilica from the top so you can spot the details you won’t see from the ground. From the Naivity tower you can see the eastern side of Barcelona and from the Passion tower the city centre. Because you are 65 meters above the ground. Sagrada is opened between November and February from 9am to 7pm, other months an hour longer (if there are no special events held inside).
The exterior of the church is beautiful, one side (Naivity facade) shows the birth of Christ and the other one (Passion) displays the crucifixion. On all sides of the church are statues and symbols and the main door is beautifully decorated with Christ’s name. The interior is probably even more special. There is so many colours coming from the windows, beautiful pipe organ, astonishing staircases and unbelievably nice altar almost floats in the air. The entry to the museum is included in the main ticket and you can admire there the different drafts of the architecture, explore the variety of symbols and learn a lot about Gaudi as well as other that helped with building the cathedral.
The street Las Ramblas is definitely one of the signature symbols of Barcelona and you simply can’t miss it when visiting the city. It used to be a drainage leading from the city to the sea, but nowadays it’s been turned into a busy street with shops, restaurants, museums, famous market, stalls with flowers or cages with parrots, Guinea pigs and other animals, countless street artists and crowds of tourists. There is also a Jamón Serrano shop with a huge shopping window where local men in becoming aprons relentlessly cut thin slices out of huge hams locked in wooden racks.
La Boqueteria Market
This enormous market place with all types of food you can think of is located right on La Rambla, the entrance is quite hidden so it is easy to miss. You will be fascinated by the amounts of Serrano hams that are hang from the ceiling, the seafood section where we admire alive crabs, lobsters, crawfishes, piles of mussels and variety of fishes. The most colourful part of the market is the one with fruit and vegetables, freshly squeezed juice and fruit salads. Everything is beautifully arranged and everything looks tasty combined with the smell of roasted meat sold in the stalls at the very end of the market.
The Gotico district is located on the right of La Rambla and stretches from the sea pier almost all the way to Plaza Catalunya. It is a labyrinth of narrow streets which you can enter either directly from La Rambla or from tube stations Liceu, Drassanes, Barcelonetta, Juamel or Urquinaona and the stroll in this area is definitely worth it. Probably the most interesting building here is the gothic cathedral, a gigantic church which dominates the Placa Nova square. The church itself is huge, consists of 3 ships and has two towers – you can take lift on top of one of them and admire the view. Part of the cathedral is also a monastery where you can find beautiful trees and a small pond with a flock of geese that don’t seem to care about the crowds of tourists watching them on daily basis.
It is also worth to mention the Santa Maria del Mar church, Palau de la Generalitat, Barcelona’s town hall and roman cemetery that are located in this magical district.
The best way towards the park is to take the tube and get off at the Lesseps station where you’ll find sings guiding you towards the park. The park is split into paid and free zones and there are long queues at the cash desks.
You can buy your tickets beforehand on: http://www.parkguell.cat/en/buy-tickets/, and the entrance costs €7 for adults (doesn’t include the entry to Gaudi’s museum).
The park itself is amazing, definitely worth visiting when you are in Barcelona. There are two houses near the entrance to the paid area that look like from a fairy tale, one with a big ceramic tower and the other one similarly spectacular right next to it. There you can find an info centre and a souvenir shop. Right in front of the houses is a monumental staircase built in the same playful style, leading to a colourful statue of a lizard always surrounded by tourists wanting a picture with this symbol of Barcelona. The staircase than lead to another floor which is a big platform (originally maybe a market place) that is surrounded by twisty benches that creates an edge of the whole square. From here you get a beautiful view on the entrance to the park as well as on Barcelona itself. The square is surrounded by palm trees with green parrots resting on their branches adding a bit of noise to the peaceful atmosphere of the park. From there you can take the side staircase towards the green part of the park or head to the nearby café where you can get some rest. Even though almost all sights are in the paid area, it is worth going to the part that is free. There you can walk in the blooming part all the way to the Gaudi’s museum, which is a villa where he used to live. You have to pay for the entry but if you are planning to visit some of his other buildings you can give it a miss.
Port Olympic and the seaside
The Olympic port and the whole area of city beaches including the old marina is another popular part of Barcelona and its visit is especially worth it if you’ve had enough of walking around the city. This part of Barcelona is by the sea with beautifully kept surroundings because the whole area was reconstructed before the Olympic Games in 1992 and it has kept its new look ever since. It is a relaxing place with many restaurants from which you can watch locals going around on rollerblades or bikes, boats coming into the port and admire the new buildings including a huge bronze whale.
Casa Batlló and Casa Milá (La Pedrera)
Casa Batlló and Casa Milá are the two best known Gaudi’s houses located diagonally opposite each other on a Passeing De Grácia street. You can get there either from Plaza Catalunya or the Diagonal and Passeing de Grácia tube stations. Both houses look fantastic from the outside but you can also go inside and admire the interiors which are both astonishing and very imaginative. Thanks to that there is usually a long queue and therefore it is better to buy the tickets online (https://www.lapedrera.com/en/home and https://tickets.casabatllo.es/site/CasaBatllo/?lang=en). The prices are around €20 per person but at least visiting Casa Batló where you can admire beautiful interiors, for example a blue mosaic in the centre of the house, imaginative stairways, hallways and windows, is worth it. Casa Milá, called also La Pedrera, is also an interesting building looking like a fortress with chimneys shaped as knights and dragons.