Barcelona in a Weekend
Before I visited Barcelona, I was a little bit nervous. You see, so many of my friends had raved about it, that I was sure it could never live up to the hype. Thankfully, they hadn’t misled me, and every time I’ve visited the city I’ve had a wonderful time. It’s got everything, from great food, to culture, to beaches and nightlife. If you’re popping over for a quick visit, such as a weekend, then here’s everything you need to do.
Putting food at the top of my list is unusual for me, normally I’m going on about mountains and landscapes. But you can’t come to Barcelona without having Tapas, a way of eating that involves multiple small dishes shared between friends, usually over a drink or two. Top spots to try include Quimet i Quimet, Elisabets and El Rincon del Cava.
One of the world’s greatest architects, Anton Gaudi, has left an indelible mark on Barcelona. He was responsible for some of the most fantastic creations in the city, including Parc Guell and Caso Batllo, but his greatest creation is without doubt the still under construction Sagrada Familia, a massive church that towers over the surrounding city.If you only make it to one of Gaudi’s works (although Parc Guell is good for the view!), then it has to be the Sagrada Familia. This fusion of gothic and organic architecture gives the impression that an alien spaceship has landed in the city.
The price to get in is fairly steep, but inside you’ll be greeted by what appears to be a giant forest of coral trees holding up the roof. Not to be missed.
Wander Las Ramblas
Ok, so this is a serious tourist trap, but you can’t visit Barcelona without visiting Las Ramblas. This 1.2km long street, which was once a stream bed, runs from the centre of town out to the harbour, and is filled with cafes, kiosks and trees.You can sit and relax over a jug of Sangria, take in some of the pretty architecture along the way, or pick up a souvenir of your time in Barcelona. Naturally there are also numerous side streets to explore.
One word of warning though – Barcelona is infamous for its pickpockets, and Las Ramblas is a prime location to be targeted. Keep a close eye on your belongings!
Stroll on the Beach
If navigating Las Ramblas has taken it out of you, then head to La Barceloneta, Barcelona’s very own beach. As well as a gorgeous stretch of golden sand, there are bars, restaurants, and even art installations to entertain you as you meander along the boardwalk. And all of this is just a few short minutes from the city centre.
Go out Late
Everything in Barcelona happens later than you might expect, with lunch not commonly started until 2pm, and dinner being an affair that you might consider undertaking around 10pm. The hottest bars and nightclubs probably won’t get going until well into the early hours.
I’d advise just getting into the swing of things, adjusting your body clock appropriately, and embracing your inner night owl. Alternatively, rise early and enjoy having the place to yourself!
Dive into the Gothic Quarter
Barcelona has a lot to offer the foot based explorer, with my favourite area being the Gothic Quarter. This area of town is made up of narrow streets and gorgeous buildings, from the world heritage listed Palau de la Musica Catalana through to the incredible gothic cathedral.
It’s nearly all pedestrianized, and you can spend an age just wandering, semi-lost, stumbling upon little squares and cafes to while away the time. It’s also home to the hugely impressive Picasso Museum, which is a must visit if you’re a fan.
And that pretty much sums up my thoughts on some of Barcelona’s must-see sights – although this is a city with a lot to offer, and a weekend is barely enough to scratch the surface!