Barcelona is one of my favorite cities in the world; it is vibrant, close to the beach, it has great food and wine, it’s cheaper than Amsterdam and there are Zara shops on every street corner. Aside from a very fun weekend getaway, there is also a lot of interesting history to this city. That is why it would be wise to plan your weekend, or if you’re lucky, your entire week, ahead; if you don’t plan some things in advance you might end up soaking the sun and drinking red wine all day. I am aware of the fact that this option sounds just about right for some of you but still, first read our A-Z Barcelona list and get inspired by the city and all the great things it has to offer:
The first thing you will notice when arriving in Barcelona is the amazing architecture. Gaudi’s work (we will talk more about him later on) helped a great deal to shape the architecture in the city; creative and open minded.
This amazing area is located right in the centre of Barcelona and here you find all the main public buildings such as Palau Reial, the town hall, the Palau de la Generalitat and the famous gothic cathedral.
Barcelona is known for its warm weather and sunny days. The hot Mediterranean climate makes this capital extremely popular. No matter when you decide to come to Barcelona, you can almost always use the short sleeves from your suitcase.
The city of Barcelona is divided into 10 different districts. Around these districts you can find different tourist attractions – most of them are more than worth a visit. The nicest thing about the different areas is the fact that each one of these districts has its own unique charm and character.
This lovely area is one of the most popular locations in Barcelona. The Eixample (meaning “extension” in Catalan) district was designed during the 19th century and its main aim was to create a separate neighborhood outside the city centre. Today the Eixample is a vibrant, interesting and colorful area where you can shop for exclusive items, have dinner or go out to party.
It is impossible to write an article about Barcelona without mentioning their biggest pride: FC Barcelona. This legendary team keeps making the headlines year after year, thanks to its talented players, beautiful game tactics and championships winnings. If you are a big football fan, or you just want to feel part of the culture, try to plan your trip around one of their games and book your tickets to the famous FC Barcelona stadium, which is located in the centre.
As mentioned before, the super talented Spanish architect Gaudi helped designing the identity and beauty of Barcelona city. Gaudi’s work (including the Sagrada Família and magnum opus) is displayed with pride all over town. Gaudi was a person with deep passion for life, open minded, with a rich imagination. When you see his work you will understand why he is so well respected by Spanish people.
As you probably understood already, this amazing city is full with attractions and highlights. There are several ways in which you can tour all over town: tourist bus, by foot, bicycle or just with a map and some small change for the public transport. Because there are so many spots worth visiting, make sure to narrow down your options to only things that are really important for you to see. After all, I don’t think that you want to spend your entire holiday just running around from place to place, right?
When traveling with children, it is important to add some attractions especially for the children on the to-do list. The IMAX Cinema is located right next to the Barcelona Aquarium, (another fun activity for children). At IMAX you can enjoy watching a movie together with the whole family.
Jazz music is popular around Barcelona and you will be able to find many different jazz cafes and jazz concerts. The nice thing about jazz is the fact that you don’t really have to be a huge fan to enjoy it. When it comes to the more relaxing jazz music, almost every person likes it, especially when listening to it while sitting in a cosy bar, sipping a glass of wine.
Barcelona has something to offer to everyone, including extreme sport lovers. Take a day off from the busy city life and go on a tour in Barcelona’s wild coast, the famous Costa Brava. This beautiful area is considered to be one of the best places for sea kayaking. Just don’t forget to wear your speedos!
A holiday in Barcelona cannot be perfect without some shopping, don’t you think? Las Ramblas is one of the main shopping and entertainment streets in the city and it’s filled with trendy restaurants, famous clothing shops and enjoyable bars. Be aware that this is a very touristic street which means you can run in to many overpriced items and many pickpockets.
There are so many good museums in Barcelona, it is almost impossible to choose to which one to go to. According to some insider’s tips the museums most worth visiting are: Museu del Temple Expiatori de La Sagrada Familia, Museu d’Història de Catalunya, The Dali Museum and the La Padrera. Please note that these are only local recommendations but obviously everybody has his own personal taste.
Spanish people love enjoying life so when going out you will notice many local people hanging around restaurants, pubs and night clubs. The warm weather allows people to stay outside until late and that probably explains the variety of roof top bars and open air parties. Visit the Barri Gòtic & Las Ramblas, Maremagnum, Port Olímpic or the L’Eixample district, in order to go to a pumping party, elegant restaurant or trendy cocktail bar.
The Olympic port is a very popular area for late nights out, but even if you are not a person to pull all-nighters, it is extremely lovely to visit the port just for a nice stroll to enjoy the stunning view. The free spirit atmosphere makes it the ultimate location for an outside lunch, sunset walk or just for a few hours of relaxation.
Palau de la Música Catalana
This extremely vast and spectacular concert hall was designed by the gifted architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. This building is further evidence of the city’s breathtaking innovations. If you can’t afford a ticket for a concert, just ask at your hotel to arrange you a guided tour. Even though you would easily find your way around there, it is still nice to go with the guided tour in order to hear all the interesting historical facts.
For those of you who are already jumping to correct me, it’s ok, I am aware of the fact that Barcelona doesn’t have a queen. However, as a huge fan of the band Queen, I am also aware of the fact that Freddie Mercury produced, together with the fantastic operatic soprano Montserrat Caballé, an album called Barcelona. The track, “Barcelona” was recorded as the official 1992 Summer Olympics theme song and it was supposed to be performed by Mercury at the open ceremony. Unfortunately Mercury died from AIDS less than a year earlier and was not able to see his creation come to life.
Barcelona and Spain in particular, produce many different and extremely tasteful wines each year. Red wine is considered to be a specialty in Barcelona and all Catalonia as well. Spanish people love to include wine in almost every meal they consume and the wines in restaurants are therefore not so expensive. Isn’t that great?
Spanish people just love their siesta. Siesta is a typical habit not only in Barcelona but in all of Spain. Every day, during lunch time, people close their businesses, (some even switch of their cell phones) and just go to rest for about two hours. The reason behind the siesta is apparently the very warm weather that makes it difficult to concentrate. For me it’s a good enough reason, can’t we have it in Amsterdam as well?
Tapas are a variety of appetizers that all come from the Spanish cuisine and are being served in a form of finger foods / snacks. The good thing about tapas, (aside from the fact that they are absolutely delicious!) is that you get the chance to taste many kinds of yummy Spanish dishes. Did I mention already that tapas go extremely good with Spanish wine? Well, they do!
Many times when people visit Barcelona they fall in love so much with the city that they instantly start thinking how they would be able to stay there. There are many universities in Barcelona that teach not only entire degrees in English, but also short summer courses where you will be able to participate in intensive Spanish seminars.
If you want to visit Barcelona in style, book yourself a luxurious villa for your holiday. There are few villas available to rent, (in some rich areas around the city) with spectacular views and over-the-top interior design. Many extremely wealthy people visit the city and for that exact reason these villas exist. For the rest of us “normal” humans, no worries, there are plenty of nice hotels in Barcelona as well.
In my opinion, there is no better way to explore a city than on foot. Not only do you get the chance to see all the hidden hot spots, you also burn some calories from all the tapas and wine you had! The warm weather makes it nicer to walk around and it also saves you money on public transport. Just make sure to bring a map and a good hat!
Xavier Hernandezi is a legendary football player in FC Barcelona and a major hero for all football lovers out there. I even know who he is, even though I am definitely not a big football expert! Xavi is considered to be one of the best midfielders in the entire world and he helped FC Barcelona to reach many goals along the years.
People from all over the world flock to Barcelona and that also includes a lot of young people. Barcelona is an extremely popular destination for spring break so if I were you, I would try to visit there before or after the spring holiday. Not that I have any problem with youth, but they do make the city much busier and sometimes noisy.
Barcelona has a stunning zoo and it can be a nice possibility for families and young people to visit. Like any other zoo, you will be able to see there different animal species, daily shows and a lot of gorgeous nature.
So there you have it, the complete A-Z Barcelona list. I bet you can find at least a couple of things in it you would like to see or do, well, at least I hope so. I personally love Barcelona because of its free spirit vibe and extremely easy going atmosphere. The local people as well are very nice and helpful and I always find myself wanting to go back there… if not for the culture than for the cheap Zara prices!