Barcelona the city with an evergreen vibe

 

modernism facade
stunning building near Placa de Espana

 

When you arrive in Barcelona you immediately realise this place is vibrant, very busy and catering for young people wanting to experience one of the most exciting cities in Spain.

A mixture of modern quarters blending perfectly with the historical and monumental areas are a great backdrop for the evergreen travellers. ( I use the word evergreen because the more I meet people the more I realise age is definitely just a number and a state of mind).

Columbus monument Port Vell Barcelona
Columbus monument

 

It is so easy to move around on foot or with the well organised public transports network. From one of the most central and majestic squares called Plaza de Catalunya ( Catalonia square) you can walk on the fantastic “La Rambla“, a  wide street sided by trees  and many shops of every kind, all the way to the Mediterranean Sea where you can see Cristopher Colombus statue indicating the horizon in Port Vell. The seaside area is very  modern, spacious and offers an aerial tramway that will allow you to get an awesome aerial view of the city.

 

street art tiled mosaic kiss
street art made of painted tiles

Entertainment forever kind of taste

The beauty of this city is undeniable and the best thing is that it provides  entertainment for every kind of taste. I was able to even find an entire quarter selling vinyl records, heavy metal concerts tickets, music and clothing.

Boutiques and restaurants

There are little streets with nice niche boutiques and eateries with tasty tapas and plates typical of Catalan cuisine ( for the most popular  dishes  please press on the link)

Catalan Modernism

Barcelona is the place where the architectural and decorative style called Modernism took its own particular personality to the point to be defined Catalan Modernism . This style is characterised by rounded or irregular shapes , rich and colourful decors imitating the intricate and polychrome botanical world . Antoni Gaudi is by far the most famous artist in Barcelona and his architectural and decorative masterpieces are a clear example of Catalan Modernism. Now a days, after his death, the entire city is a tribute to his creativity and uniqueness. 

Casa Batllo

One of the most famous buildings designed by Gaudi. Commissioned by the Batllo family in the early 1900. Centrally located in “Passeig de Garcia” a very  picturesque and architecturally interesting streets in Barcelona.

 

Casa Batllo Gaudi
Casa Batllo Gaudi

Casa Mila also called la Pedrera

This building with a rough and corrugated appearance ( hence the nickname la “Pedrera” house of stones) is the last residential building designed by Gaudi. Now a days is mainly utilised for cultural events and only in part for residential purposes. It is open to the public for visits.

 

IMG_9796

 

Best time to visit Park Guell

Park Guell

This big public park located on Carmel Hill is hosting, among its beautiful flowers and plants, some of the most renowned masterpieces of Gaudi now part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

A little word of advise on this one: depending on time of the year you will visit Barcelona, in my experience, if the weather is not the best in the morning, the sky is grey or foggy, you will be pleasantly surprised of how quickly could clear later in the day when the temperatures are dropping a bit. Therefore schedule your visit for late afternoon  and you will have a much better experience walking up the steep hill in a cooler climate and your photos will turn out a lot better. (in summer the park does not close until 9.30pm)

 

park Guell Gaudi
park Guell

Gothic Quarter

Contrasting with the roundness and colours of Modernism is the more austere  Gothic Quarter where buildings are presenting the typical decorative attributes of this 12th century’s style. Facades are generally monochromatic and the stones are carved to create pinnacoles, gargoyles, rampant arches. In this area you will find the Cathedral and the City Hall described more in details below.

 

Gothic quarter Barcelona
Gothic quarter

Book everything in advance online

My strong advise when visiting Barcelona is to book all the museums and places you want to visit in advance and via internet. Every ticket seems to be way cheaper  and also you would not incur in the risk of missing out.  For example: there are allocated time slots  through the day to visit the interiors of the Sagarada Familia.

The Sagrada Familia

The unfinished church also designed by Gaudi is one of the most unique and iconic Spanish landmarks. Especially during the week- end, gets inundated with horde of tourists wanting to visit and time availability get fully booked quite quickly.

Note for the keen photographers : the Sagrada Familia is very often under construction so you will find very hard to get pictures of the entire church without the occasional building crane here and there. Hopefully you or one of your friends will be able to photoshop them out.

 

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia

Please don’t get tourists “for a ride”: some things were a bit overpriced!

I really enjoyed visiting Barcelona but I though some of the touristy destinations were way too expansive. For example Casa Battlo was 27 Euro.

Casa Vicens

Less crowded and equally interesting is Gaudi’s first house. It’s  pretty colourful and I think is great to see where everything started , don’t you think? Plus the tickets are a lot cheaper.

 

Gaudi first home
Gaudi first home

 

Attractions free of charge

The city also offers really enchanting places that can be visited free of charge. 

The City Hall or “Casa de la Ciutat” 

Opposite the Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya  in the Gothic Quarter there is the “Casa de le Ciutat” . This former City Hall with a stunning Neoclassical facade and Gothic interiors  is certainly with a visit . You will be greeted by medieval music resonating through the many rooms with Gothic architecture  decorated by paintings, tapestries and furnitures of the era. 

City Hall interiors Barcelona
City Hall interiors

The Cathedral 

Walking distance from the City Hall you will find the Cathedral. The beautiful interiors are also free to visit and you will be allowed to even peek in the crypt.

 

Barcelona Cathedral
the Cathedral

Montjuic

Montjuic can be easily reached by a funicular train. In just few minutes  you will be on small mountain overlooking the sea and the city of Barcelona. Is advisable to allocate one all day for this visit so you will have enough time to see the museums, the gardens and the castle. If you stay till dark you will be able to witness the Magic Fountain light show. A spectacular choreography of  water and lights moving to music ranging from classical to modern.

The National Museum of Catalan Art

Not far from Plaza de Espana is the National Museum of Catalan Art. From the square you will love walking up the magnificent flight of stairs not only for the statues and the fountains nearby but also for the spectacular view of the city once you get to the top. The exhibitions are reasonably priced but if you prefer you can just visit the building free of charge and enjoy a coffee in the Museum’s cafe.

MACBA 

Quick personal note: I found the MACBA not very interesting. It might be the fact that I am classically trained when it comes to art but when something is displaying really low effort and creativity I consider it a waste of time .

 

the Boqueria market
the Boqueria market

Food 

The boqueria

I must say this trip for me  quickly turned into a food safari.  You will feel the same way the moment you enter the “Boqueria” a fresh food market that also has stalls with food cooked or ready to eat. You will find fresh fruit salads and juices displayed artistically like a still nature painting, so colourful and diverse they will be photo worthy.  The market has  seafood tapas bars where you can enjoy drinks and  Catalan food at times fused with South American flavours adding to the rich Spanish variety. A must do stop for lunch. Be warned it will be very hard not to overeat! You will be tempted to try everything!

 

 

modernism Barcelona
example of Modernism decor

Very central accomodation

My accomodation in Barcelona was close to Sants train station ( where I arrived from the French city of La Rochelle with high speed train it was very handy). The rooms were very big, with a huge comfortable bed, modern kitchen and decor . Even the reception was stylish and with  colourful sculptures. I would certainly recommend “Cosmos Apartment” for value and location.

For more photos of Barcelona press on the link.

Barcelona was great but after a while I felt the need to spend some time in a smaller and less crowded place so I booked an airbnb apartment in the nearby Sitges. One of my friends that lives in Barcelona told me I would find a great relaxing beach there and its only 40 mins on the train form Barcelona centre.

Have you visited Barcelona recently ? What was you experience? 

 

2 thoughts on “Barcelona the city with an evergreen vibe

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