Singing Barcelona’s Praisesby Jessie Beyer - Thursday, September 29, 2016
Everyone is Doing it
When Barcelona comes up in conversation it is always met with an elevated level of excitement by those who have traveled there. Globetrotters and first-time travelers alike seem to immediately become enraptured by the city’s spirit. It is impossible to summarize this wildly charming city in a single list, but we figured we could at least start with some highlights.
Loosen your belt buckles because this city is globally recognized for its cuisine. Barcelona boasts the freshest of seafood, world-class wine and cava, endless tapas bars, and plentiful pastry shops. La Boqueria food market is worth a visit if for no other reason than to see the breadth of its culinary offerings. Pick up some produce if you want a snack for later or pull up a stool and order some tapas at one of the bars in this sprawling food market.
Barcelona is one immense urban art gallery. It is nearly impossible to walk a block without passing impressive pieces of graffiti art and professional street performances. A contemporary compliment to the many museums with masterpieces from Picasso and Dali, you could spend an entire day taking in the many forms of art sprinkled throughout city streets.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of Spain’s 17 districts. A fine-tuned ear (and eye) might notice that two official languages are used in this region, Catalan and Spanish. Beyond local lingo, this rich culture can be found in Barcelona’s food, festivals, flourishing economy, and the Romanesque and modernist influence in the city’s architecture. You will also notice the prominent presence of a red and yellow striped flag frequently flying across Barcelona– the regional flag and expression of the fierce pride of the people of Catalonia.
The streets of Barcelona seamlessly showcase Gothic basilicas and stunning modern day architecture. Antonio Gaudi, anyone? From the famous La Sagrada Familia, to Park Güell, to Casa Batlló, this Spanish architect’s work certainly helps define the city’s unique character. Using a combination of ceramics, stone, and forged iron, Gaudi’s Willy Wonka-esque designs are sure to spark your imagination – or at least leave you scratching your head in wonder.
This tree-lined pedestrian mall is no doubt a tourist attraction, but worth visiting for the experience. Buskers, souvenir hawkers, mimes, and human statues line the five unofficial sections of this one kilometer promenade. Las Ramblas offers some fantastic people-watching and a plethora of store fronts for shoppers to enjoy.
It’s easy to become absorbed in the many twists and turns of the city streets and forget that Barcelona is also a coastal city. All you have to do is take a short stroll down Las Ramblas to discover a change of scenery and you’ll find yourself among beach goers enjoying the sunny climate and the Balearic Sea lapping the beaches of Barcelona.
When you stroll off the beaten path, you find continued charm of the city. Barcelona’s winding narrow streets offer endless boutique shops, intricate architecture, and delicious dining options. Get a feeling of daily life in Barcelona passing through neighborhoods filled with balconies of cascading plants, quaint squares, and plenty of opportunities to pop into a bar and get to know the locals over a coffee, or perhaps something stronger depending on the hour!
Over the past decade the city has worked hard to build a cycling infrastructure and it has paid off to city cyclists. Bike rentals and bike shops are plentiful as well as city bike tours with a range of focuses from architecture, to graffiti, to cuisine.
If you have yet to visit Barcelona it’s worth adding to your travel bucket list. Better yet, plan a trip to pedal there along Catalonia’s Costa Brava with ExperiencePlus!