Barcelona, the romantic the capital city of Catalonia, is the home of the Sagrada Familia, FC Barcelona, beautiful Mediterranean beaches and much more. Barcelona is where Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudí, left his mark. Gaudí's unique style is featured all over the city including Park Gruell and the Sagrada Familia, which collectively are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Barcelona has a great Metro system so there's no need to spend the money on accommodations in tourist areas. We enjoyed our stay in the Gracia neighborhood where it was more quiet but still filled with stores, restaurants and bars.
Camp Nuo: This home of FC Barcelona was opened in 1957 and has hosted the World Cup along with several European league finals and the 1992 Olympic final. The stadium, one of the largest in the World, holds over 100,000 fans. Visitors can tour the grounds, press box, press room, locker rooms, as well as the FC Barcelona museum.
Park Güell & Other Gaudi Points of Interest: UNESCO lists seven Gaudi buildings as part of the listed collection of Gaudi buildings are: Parque Güell; Palacio Güell; Casa Mila; Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; and Crypt in Colonia Güell. We visited 5 of the 7 with Park Güell being our favorite. This free park has wonderful views of the City, Gaudi's unique colorful architectural touches, and beautiful manicured gardens and landscaping.
Sagrada Familia. Construction on this famous landmark began in 1882 and is not slated to be completed until at least 2026. Designed by Antoni Gaudí, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a popular tourist destination and can be quite busy. We arrived right when it opened at 9:00 a.m. Inside, you will view Gaudí's unique and colorful design. Take the spiral stairs up to the top for a beautiful view of the City. Ticket prices, at 20 Euros per person, are pricey as compared to other European Roman Catholic Churches. We are on the fence as to whether it is worth the cost so if you are on a tight budget, we would skip the inside and just view the interesting exterior architecture.
Free Walking Tour: Take a free walking tour through central Barcelona. The 2.5 hour tour includes Gothic quarter, El Born District, Barcelona Cathedral, Santa Maria del Mar, and other points of interest. Sandeman's tours never disappoint. Be sure to tip your guide well as this is how they earn their wages.
Olympic and Sports Museum: Located in the front of the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium at the top of Montjuïc hill, this museum features Olympic memorabilia from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics as well as previous Games. Admission to this neat museum is just 5.80 Euros for adults and 3.60 Euros for students. There are also free admission days so check the website in advance as well.
Day Trip to Montserrat, Spain: Travel by train from Barcelona via the R5 train. Combined tickets for the train and cable car may be purchased at the Plaça España station. Once on the Mountain, tour the Monastery grounds and either take a hike up in the mountains or stroll the trails immediately around this Benedictine Monk retreat.
Barceloneta Beach: This popular tourist spot is a great place to people watch where you will find families playing in the water, women on old fashion roller skates, street vendors, and musicians. Relax at the beach or take a long stroll down the beach.
Where We Stayed
Air BnB: Located in the quiet Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, this spacious and clean apartment was perfect for our stay in Barcelona. The neighborhood, though quiet, has plenty of restaurant, bars, and shopping. Photo credit Air BnB (photo left).
Where We Ate
The Gracia neighborhood has several tapas options (still our favorite after two weeks in Spain) but also, a surprisingly large number of Sushi restaurants to choose from. We ate one night in the Barceloneta beach area where there are several restaurants catering to tourists. Bear in mind that the closer you are to the beach, the more expensive the restaurant will be. Take a short walk and you will find much more reasonable menu prices.