Summary. 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.
Sagrada Familia. Our only full day in Barcelona started with the 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. If you forget to bring something to cover your shoulders like I did, you can purchase a scarf from street vendors just outside for only one Euro. I actually still have mine as a reminder of this day.
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. Next we took 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. They are a great way to get a history lesson live and in front of the buildings and objects they describe. Be sure to tip your guide well as this is how they earn their wages.
Olympic and Sports Museum. Next, we walked up to the Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium at the top of Montjuïc hill, where the Olympic and Sports Museum sits at one entrance point. 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.
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. On the walk back to our Air BnB we passed by a couple which were easy to spot due to Gaudi's distinct designs.
After some downtime in the AirBnB we set off again to have dinner near 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. Tip: Dinner spots are more expensive the closer you are to the water. Walk a few blocks up and you will find much more reasonable menu prices.