Things to Do in Barcelona - page 2
One of Barcelona’s most impressive architectural feats and renowned for its spectacularly ornate interiors, the Palace of Catalan Music (Palau de la Música Catalana) is one of the city’s most popular concert halls. Built in 1908 by Catalan art nouveau architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the venue hosts a range of traditional Catalan folk music performances.
Some shorelines have lighthouses; Barcelona has the Columbus Monument (Mirador de Colom). Standing 197 feet tall — the top 24 feet of which make up the statue of Columbus himself — the tower is quite hard to miss, especially given its prominent position at the end of Las Ramblas, and along the marina.The monument of Columbus (Colom in Catalan, or Colón in Spanish) was erected in 1888 for the Universal Exposition and in honor of the famous explorer, who returned here after his first expedition to the Americas. Much discussion is made of where he is pointing: some have thought he points to the New World, while others say he points east to his supposed home of Genoa — in reality, however, it seems he points southeast and therefore to nothing in particular but the sea, where he was probably most at home. On your visit here, admire the grand statue from below, or get a look at Columbus’s bird’s-eye view by taking the elevator up to the lookout platform.
Plaça d'Espanya is one of the busiest hubs of activity in Barcelona. Its Magic Fountain (Font Màgica) is the site of an evening light-and-sound show, while its National Palace (Palau Nacional) houses Catalonia’s national art museum. Reminiscent of those in Venice, the two towers on the Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina are city landmarks.
Housed in the neo-baroque National Palace (Palau Nacional), the National Art Museum of Catalonia (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya) occupies a spectacular location, atop a hill in Montjüic. Inside is one of Catalonia’s largest museum collections: 260,000 works of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and baroque art.
If you’re a music lover, or you simply enjoy American-style food, then add the Hard Rock Café to your Barcelona itinerary. Located in Plaça de Catalunya, the city’s main square, the restaurant serves up the same crowd-pleasing fare and music memorabilia that you’ll find in its other locations around the globe.
One of Barcelona’s most dazzling attractions, the Magic Fountain (Font Màgica) was built in 1929 for the city’s World Exhibition. Travelers can still watch the fountain’s spectacular illumination displays, which feature music and a kaleidoscope of shimmering lights, all set against the majestic backdrop of Montjuic Palace.
The historic heart of Barcelona is the Ciutat Vella, or Old Town, home to most of the city’s tourist attractions and encompassing the districts of El Raval, Barri Gòtic, La Ribera, and Barceloneta. With its iconic architecture, world-class museums, and historic sights, the Ciutat Vella is where most visitors spend the majority of their time.
The 1992 Olympics were transformative for the city of Barcelona. With the arrival of the games, areas were restored and construction for new structures was initiated. As such, the city was updated and rejuvenated in many ways. One such structure, which remains a draw for visitors today, is the Olympic Stadium — which is now home to the city’s second futbol team, Espanyol. It was originally constructed in 1929 for the International Exposition, and was updated in preparation for the games. It can seat more than 65,000 people.
A visit now offers a glimpse into sports history, as well as some great views of the city. It was the venue for both the opening and closing ceremonies of that year’s Olympics. Walking through the competitor’s tunnel, you can really get a feel for how athletes must have felt as they experienced the vastness of the grounds.
Barcelona's L’Eixample neighborhood was built in the 19th century as part of a scheme to enlarge the city of Barcelona by connecting it with smaller surrounding towns, such as Gracià (now a neighborhood itself). Some of the city’s most popular tourist draws are here, including Gaudí masterpieces La Pedrera, Casa Batlló, and La Sagrada Familia.
One of three buildings on the Illa de la Discordia (Block of Discord) on Barcelona’s Passeig de Gràcia, Casa Lleó i Morera stands beside Antoni Gaudí’s Casa Batlló and Josep Puig i Cadafalch’s Casa Amatller. Along with a distinctive ornamental façade, Casa Lleó I Morera has exquisite stained-glass windows and sculptures by Eusebi Arnau.
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Tucked away in a hidden corner of the Gothic Quarter, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri offers an escape from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. The small, quiet space has a charming fountain in the middle and is surrounded by buildings, including the baroque Church of Sant Felip Neri, for which the square was named.
Located in the Raval district and just steps from Las Ramblas, Güell Palace (or more commonly, Palau Güell) is one of Antoni Gaudí’s first major works. Commissioned by his main patron, Eusebi Güell, for his private residence, it’s acclaimed for its innovative use of space, light, and materials and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Home to more than 4,000 works by the incomparable Pablo Picasso, the Picasso Museum (Museu Picasso) is Barcelona's most-visited art collection. Housed within five adjoining Gothic mansions in the Old City, the collection traces Picasso’s career, from his early childhood sketches to works from his Cubism and Blue Periods.
This 19th-century structure, built by Josep Puig i Cadafalch for renowned chocolatier Antoni Amatller, is a stunning modernist building featuring both Flemish and Catalan styles. The building is now a museum featuring period furniture and decorations as well as old photographs and other artifacts.
Plaça de Sant Jaume’s Catalan Regional Government Building (Palau de la Generalitat de Catalunya) is much more than just a building with a pretty neoclassical façade: this is the seat of the Catalan government, from where 100 presidents have governed. Constructed between the 15th and 17th centuries, the building is a symbol of Catalan perseverance, having stood the test of time through many historic challenges.
It’s not just special because of its history, either. Apart from the attractive dome-topped exterior, its interior is perhaps even more impressive. It features a Gothic chapel, elaborate ceremonial halls, loads of paintings and sculptures, and a sunlight-filled Courtyard of Orange Trees, or Pati dels Tarongers — among other Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance elements.
Framed by its wave-shaped walkway leading from the city out onto the water, Maremagnum is recognizable from many sections of the Barcelona beaches. The shopping center is home to many big name brands, as well as local restaurants and a cinema. Two floors of shops range from home goods and electronics to clothing and jewelry. You’ll also find Spanish brands such as Desigual, and other European retailers.
Many of the cafes and restaurants are open-air, making them especially nice on a sunny day. People come to leisurely watch boats pull in and out of the nearby port and absorb a bit of the Barcelona waterfront. The structure itself, like many of the buildings in Barcelona, is unique and well-designed. Its curved, mirrored walls reflect the light off of the nearby water and make an interesting contrast to the natural wooden pier. Walking down the central boulevard, Las Ramblas, toward the ocean will lead you straight there.
Built as a neighborhood indoor market in 1876, this iron and glass structure was repurposed as the El Born Cultural and Memorial Centre (El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria) to showcase archeological remains of Ciutat del Born that were buried after the siege of 1714. The center also hosts art exhibits and cultural events commemorating local and national history.
The works of Joan Miró, one of Barcelona's most famous 20th-century artists, are displayed in this museum in Parc de Montjuïc. The gallery itself is a piece of modern art, its design incorporating terraces and interior courtyards to direct the flow of visitors and give the space an open air feel. It shouldn’t be missed.
While the masses head to Barceloneta Beach, those in search of quieter shores take their towels to Nova Icària Beach (Platja de la Nova Icària). Located between Bogatell and Barceloneta Beaches, this quarter-mile-long (400-meter-long) stretch of sand is backed by a wide promenade and the Port Olimpic neighborhood with its abundant restaurants.
The small coastal town of Figueres, just north of Barcelona, is known for one thing: Salvador Dalí. Though the artist's fame brought him to more glamorous parts of Spain, Dalí eventually returned to his hometown of Figueres to build his greatest masterpiece, the Dalí Theatre-Museum (Teatro-Museo Dalí). Located in the town's former Municipal Theatre, the site is a work of art in itself. Since this quirky museum was designed by Dalí to showcase his paintings, it offers insight into his imagination with a maze of his works displayed according to his own strange tastes. The museum also houses his crypt and grave.
Opened to the public for the first time in 2017, Casa Vicens is Antoni Gaudí’s original modernist masterpiece and the first house he ever designed. Built in Barcelona in the 1880s for Manel Vicens i Montaner, this UNESCO World Heritage Site sets the tone for the rest of Gaudi’s architecture, created during Europe’s late 19th century and early 20th century Art Nouveau period.
Locals and travelers alike flock to Barcelona’s Santa Caterina Market (Mercat de Santa Caterina) for its 100+ stalls filled with fresh produce and delicious gourmet foods from around Spain. Admire the beautiful architecture of this renovated space—it was the first covered market in the city—with its undulating tiled roof and high wooden ceilings.
The 2,000-year-old Roman Temple of Augustus sits just a stone’s throw from the medieval Barcelona Cathedral in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. Once more than 120 feet long and consisting of 30 sandstone columns, the temple now exists only as four columns that tower nearly 30 feet high and are housed in a single room.
Become part of the artwork at the Museum of Illusions in Barcelona, one of the first such attractions in Europe. More than 70 large-scale 3D paintings on walls and floors create eye-popping scenes that allow you to literally put yourself into the picture, using optical illusions to create a backdrop for photographs of your own.
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