Sunday, December 1, 2013

My Mini Barcelona Guide

We spent a week in Barcelona, Spain, just enough time to rush through the whole city and still have some time rest.  I chose to focus on the key important places especially Catalan architect Gaudi's masterpieces. I mentioned Passiege de Gracia being an important street there, not only is it one of the longest shopping streets I've ever been to, but its also the location of Gaudi's La Pedrera and Casa Batllo.  At the end of the road, when heading to La Rambla, which is a boulevard tourist haven, is Placa de Catalunya.

La Rambla is a strip that divides Barri Gotic or the Gothic Quarter, the city's ancient core which is characterized by medieval streets, and lively Raval area. This long tourist strip extends from Placa de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument just by the sea.  Most places to visit are in and around that area.  Don't miss La Boqueria, Barcelona's biggest market, located right on La Rambla.  Just off this strip are great alleyways to explore.  You will find another well known market with good restaurants around called Mercat de Santa Caterina.  Near by is the area of Born, also historic and is home to the Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar and Museu Picasso.

At the end of La Rambla, you arrive at the seafront area and Barceloneta. From Port Vell to Port Olympic.  From after the Columbus monument come the Maremagnum shopping center, and you walk passing the port, walk through a marina promenade until you arrive to a line of seafood and Catalan restaurants.  After passing through you walk a bit more arriving the long beach strip, Barceloneta Beach, taking you to the luxurious seaside Hotel Arts, where you find just beneath by the beach, some of the best restaurants, some of which require reservations, with great views of the sea.

Its important to visit Gaudis buildings and sights, which I will be touching upon in another post.

Other key places include:
Montjuic Hills and the Parc, on top and overlooking the city.
Camp Nou, FC Barcelona's stadium and museum.
Olympic stadium

As for the little ones, I recommend visiting Museu de la Xocolata, Cosmo Caixa (science museum), Barcelona Zoo, L'aquarium (Port Vell), and Tibidabo Amusement Park (oldest amusement park in Spain and the 2nd oldest in Europe).  That's not all, there's tons of stuff to do for kids.

If you're looking to escape the city and beaches, then head to Montserrat, Catalonia's sacred mountain.
Placa de Catalunya
La Rambla
La Boqueria
Mercat de Santa Caterina
Columbus Monument
Port Vell
Maremagnum shopping center
Camp Nou
Museu de Xocolata

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