Things to Do in Barcelona - page 4
Escape the hustle and bustle of Barcelona and engage in some retail therapy at the high-end outlet mall La Roca Village. Located only 40 minutes from downtown Barcelona and featuring over 130 brand-name shops offering deep discounts, La Roca Village is a fashion lover and bargain hunter’s paradise.
At the Gaudí Experience (Gaudí Experiència), visitors learn more about the life and works of Barcelona’s favorite son through a series of interactive touchscreens, unpublished models, and a 4D film that takes you through the city streets to some of the Catalan architect’s most enduring masterpieces. Kids have their own area to explore Gaudí’s architecture.
Formerly an industrial area, Diagonal Mar is one of Barcelona’s newest neighborhoods—a mix of residential complexes, hotels, businesses, and conference centers. Located along the northeastern portion of the city’s coastline, the area is known for its huge shopping complex, Parc del Fòrum event center, Parc Diagonal Mar, and the city’s newest beach.
Known as the student and art quarter, and Barcelona’s hippest neighborhood, Gràcia is home to the Plaça del Sol, which is lined with Catalonian tapas bars, terraced restaurants, flower shops, and trendy boutiques. Once its own village, Gràcia also features the UNESCO-listed Park Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudi.
Since its opening on La Rambla in 1847, the Gran Teatre del Liceu has been a cultural, artistic, and political hub for Catalonia, as well as one of the most impressive opera houses in all of Europe. After several bouts of fire, the theater was completely restored in 1999, complete with new technology to put on modern productions.
Whether you’ve managed to snag tickets for a home game or booked a behind-the-scenes tour of the legendary Camp Nou Stadium, a visit to FC Barcelona Museum is a must for football (soccer) fans. The museum sits next door to the stadium, bringing fans closer to the city’s favorite team through a series of interactive exhibits and galleries.
Many come to Barcelona to see the colorful mosaics (trencadís) by famous architect Antoni Gaudí. Far fewer get to learn about the process and create their own works of mosaic art. That’s where Mosaiccos comes in; this studio offers hands-on workshops, as well as a shop selling unique gifts made from broken tile and glass.
Get closer to Barcelona’s vibrant art scene by perusing the masterpieces of one its most famous artists, Antoni Tapies. Born in Barcelona, Tapies specialized in contemporary art that was dominated by social themes. His work, which was influenced by the likes of fellow Catalan artist Joan Miro, is imaginative and abstract, employing elements beyond just paint and canvas but also rags, paper and other scraps.
Founded by Tapies himself, the foundation serves to promote and provide education around contemporary art. While there, you can explore a collection of his creations, an impressive library, as well as revolving exhibitions by other artists. The building itself is a work of art too: Constructed in the late 1800s, it was considered a pioneer of Modernisme architecture. Meanwhile, you won’t be able to miss the cloud-and-chair sculpture that tops it, which is meant to represent meditative attitude and aesthetic contemplation.
With an area of nearly 20,000 acres, Collserola Natural Park is one of the largest metropolitan parks in the world. It sits in the Serra de Collserola coastal mountain range, on the northeastern edge of Barcelona, where vast woodlands are home to an abundance of flora and fauna.
Tucked down a side street in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) is one of the city’s most famous restaurants and a memorable location for a cup of coffee or some Catalan cuisine. The tavern was fashioned after Le Chat Noir in Paris and quickly became a favorite haunt of Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí.
More Things to Do in Barcelona
Learn all about the beer brewing process and what goes into each bottle of this popular Mediterranean beer on a guided tour of the Estrella Damm Factory in Barcelona. See the brewhouse, fermentation and lagering tanks, and the bottling plant, then sample four different beers, all made by the brewery, in a guided tasting experience.
Situated along the Costa Dorada, southwest of Barcelona, Sitges is one of the most popular gay beach resorts of southern Europe. Young Europeans flock to this gem on the Costa Dorada for its white sand beaches, sizzling nightlife, festivals, and artistic culture—the 19th-century modernismo movement began here.
Though Egypt may not come to mind when you think of Barcelona, think again, as the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona (Museu Egipci de Barcelona) displays an impressive collection of some 1,000 ancient artifacts from the African country. The pieces once belonged to the museum’s founder, Catalan Jordi Clos, and are now on display in the intimate and relatively crowd-free galleries found just off the main drag of Passeig de Gracia.
The diverse permanent collection spans everything from ceramics to jewelry, mummies, and a host of items related to the culture and funeral practices. Meanwhile, rotating exhibitions offer other themed looks into Egypt’s distant past. Cap off your visit with a snack at the outdoor terrace and a visit the museum’s Egypt-inspired store.
Montjuïc Mountain (from Catalan, meaningmountain of the Jews) is located southwest of Barcelona’s old city, and gets its name from a Jewish cemetery flowing down its slopes. After hosting both the World Exhibition in 1929 and the Olympics in 1992, the neighborhood is home to numerous attractions, including a castle, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Miró Museum (Fundació Miró), and the Magic Fountain.
Home to more than 300 wineries, Spain’s Penedès region produces some of the country’s best cava, a sparkling wine made with the same method that’s used to make French champagne. The historic town of Vilafranca del Penedès is filled with medieval and Modernista architecture, as well as restaurants pouring locally made wines.
With its unique, modern design and interactive exhibits, CosmoCaixa is frequently recognized as one of the best science museums in Europe. With hands-on displays and activities for both children and adults, the museum explores the earth through environmental and natural exhibits and the skies through its large, 3D planetarium.
Music lover or not, you’re bound to walk away singing a satisfied tune after visiting this museum. Barcelona’s Music Museum (Museu de la Música) sets out to take visitors on an educational and sweet-sounding tour through the evolution of music across culture and time — and all via its on-display collection of some 500 instruments.
While exploring the museum’s exhibits, you’ll have the chance to check out one of the world’s most important collections of classic guitars, and even play some tunes yourself on various instruments via an interactive gallery. The experience is all the more rich given the themed itineraries, including one for the general public, another for youngsters, and others that are more specialized.
Barcelona teems with modernist architecture, including several notable buildings by famed Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. Fans of this architectural style can immerse themselves in it with a short trip south to Colonia Güell, a modernist industrial village commissioned by Eusebi Güell and home to a Gaudi-designed crypt.
Down the centuries the Port of Barcelona has played a strategic role in the development of the city it serves; its geographical location on the Mediterranean Sea made it an important trading port that brought great wealth into Catalonia. Today it is a major stopover on cruising itineraries as well as the base for ferry services to the Balearic Islands and Mediterranean ports such as Rome, Genoa and Algiers; it is currently being extended in a development that will see it double in size and capacity.
Port Vell is adjacent to the ferry port, an historic area of fishing fleets and marinas into which new life was breathed in 1995; it is Barcelona’s number-one spot for destination shopping and dining, strolling along the seafront promenades and taking boat trips out onto the Med. It’s also the place to learn about Catalan history in the sprawling 19th-century Palau de Mar and travel by cable-car high above Barcelona to the museums and Olympic stadium at Montjuïc; to enjoy wrap-around movies at the IMAX; and to catch the sharks and rays in Europe’s largest aquarium.
Located in Barcelona’s Born neighborhood, the European Museum of Modern Art (Museo Europeo de Arte Moderno, or MEAM) displays a collection of contemporary figurative art from the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection features thousands of works from artists from all five continents, with a focus on young Spanish artists.
The Barcelona Pavilion was built for the city’s 1929 International Exposition by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and stands today as important building for both the city and the modern architecture movement. It once served as the official opening for the German section of the exhibition, and is now admired for its simple design and intelligent use of special materials. It was constructed in less than one year, following World War I, with materials such as travertine, Greek marble, steel, glass, and golden onyx. Its emphasis on simplistic structure and minimalism makes this a peaceful place to visit, and still a model of expert design.
Perhaps the highlight of a visit to the Barcelona Pavilion is the prestigious and iconic Barcelona Chair, also designed by Mies van der Rohe. The Barcelona Chair was purposefully designed and keeps with the minimalistic style of the building. The Barcelona Pavilion continues to inspire modernist artists all over the world.
The Gaudí House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí) was the home of architect Antoni Gaudí for the last 20 years of his life. It was opened to the public as a museum in 1952 to celebrate the centennial of his birth year. The artist designed pieces of furniture that fill the house, and walls are covered with his drawings and other original artwork.
Entertainment, culture, history, and even a scare — these are all things you can expect to find at the Barcelona Wax Museum. Housed in a fancy 19th-century neoclassical palace of sorts, the museum is home to over 300 characters, both real and fictitious.
Wandering the museum’s exceptionally staged galleries, you’ll come face to face with a range of noteworthy figures, such as kings and queens, politicians, and painters, singers and actors. From Albert Einstein to Catalan surrealist Salvador Dali, and frightful personalities such as Frankenstein, there’s no shortage of surprising characters that will stand in your path. The quirkiness doesn’t stop at the wax figures, either, as the museum also has two eccentric cafés — one in the theme of a forested fairytale, the other an avant-garde paradise of origami.
El Poblenou (“new village” in Catalan) is sandwiched between the Mediterranean Sea and the Avinguda Diagonal, which slices through the modern heart of the city. The former working-class neighborhood was given a facelift for the 1992 Olympics and is today one of Barcelona’s most modern and creative quarters.
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