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Blick auf den Yacht-Hafen von Barcelona, Bild: Iakov Filimonov / shutterstock

Barcelona – irresistibly beautiful

The vital capital of the Catalans is one of the oldest and most modern cities in Spain.
Barcelona is a city that never stands still. Life pulsates on the streets and alleys – a cosmopolitan city that combines everything. On the one hand, fast-paced and hip, on the other, extremely charming sights. The Barcelonese have their very own rhythm – perfectly adapted to the hot temperatures: siesta at noon and partying until the early hours of the morning at night.

Barcelona is a true metropolis with distinct characteristics. It’s all in the mix: The old town around the famous Rambles and the Barri Gótic not only offers all kinds of entertainment, but also satisfies the penchant for romance and nostalgia.

Visitors go into raptures, and not only because of the exciting buildings.

Barcelona, Sagrada Família
The Sagrada Família, Image:
basiczto / shutterstock

Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, and the sinuous lines of Antoni Gaudi are inextricably linked. The grandiose Art Nouveau architecture of the Catalan master Gaudi (1852-1926) stands for the dawn of modernity.

Along Passeig de Gracia you can admire many architectural works of art by the great master. Casa Batlló, the “House of Bones”, reveals the master’s handwriting. This work has significantly shaped the cityscape of Barcelona. As soon as a little sun comes on it, the building glitters and sparkles wonderfully.

A journey through Barcelona’s charming neighbourhoods

In no other district are so many museums and monumental buildings close together as in Barri Gótic. The elevated and oldest district of Barcelona is overwhelming: The Gothic Quarter is home to La Seu – the Cathedral of Barcelona, the Roman cemetery of the 1st to 3rd centuries, the Museum of the History of the City and the Museu Frederic Marés, as well as an erotic museum and a maritime museum.

The magnificent boulevard Ramblade Raval also runs along here. Spain’s most famous promenade is filled with life day and night. At the end of the harbour side is the Columbus statue. The boulevard stretches from Plaça de Catalunya (the most central square in Spain) to the Port Vell port with the Columbus statue.

Good to know: Barcelona is Europe’s capital of pickpockets!
In addition: In the summer months, you can watch dancers in front of the cathedral shaking hands in a circle. In front of the impressive cathedral, it is customary to dance sardana. Folk dance is an important part of the culture and a symbol of Catalan pride.

Barcelona, Skyline
The skyline of Barcelona at sunset, Image: Mapics / shutterstock

Southwest of the Rambles is the district of el Raval. Long discredited as a red-light district, the district now has an inviting ambience. A hip culture and pub mile has completely changed the former image. The district is also home to the Palau Güell, one of Gaudi’s earlier works. A visit is worthwhile.

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The artists’ quarter of Grazia has a completely different character. Once a village, located outside Barcelona, the neighborhood has become a close and indispensable part of the city. This is where people meet mainly in the evening. In the many small restaurants and bars, there is an exuberant and cheerful atmosphere.

El Born is an old artisan neighborhood. Today, the Barcelona scene meets here. Pretty little shops, stylish and with a lot of design, conjure up a great atmosphere in the narrow streets.

Barcelona and the sea

In the past, it was said that Barcelona has its back to the sea. Scrapped industrial sheds blocked the view. In 1992, with the Olympic Games, they opened up. Sculptures, parks and idyllic squares with comfortable benches act as a legacy of the Olympic renewal frenzy. On one side of the harbour the image of Columbus shines and opposite the “W” Hotel inspires as another milestone.

The man-made Barceloneta beach is 4.2 kilometers long. It’s worth having a drink in the cosy Bar Marsella, Barcelona’s oldest bar – once the second home of Ernest Hemingway.

Barcelona Beach
The beach of Barcelona, Image: Kert / shutterstock

The “W” opened in 2009 and is now one of Barcelona’s landmarks. It’s a bit like being on an ocean here. You should feel like you’re under the sea. The interior symbolizes reflections on the water. The building looks like a cube on the inside and a sail on the outside. A little shopping, delicious food, time for a cocktail or just being amazed – the W-Hotel is definitely worth a visit.

Fountain magic, fairytale roofscape and gigantic dimensions

In front of the National Palace, visitors enjoy an extraordinary spectacle. This is where the magic fountain unfolds its incredible effect. Impressive water fountains, accompanied by classical music, offer a fascinating fountain show. A goosebumps moment that you won’t forget in a hurry. The “Font Magica” inspires every Thursday to Sunday from 9 p.m.

Casa Milá in the new town of Elixample: With this building, Antoni Gaudi defied all conventions. This building with the bizarre roofscape is a completely “normal” residential building. The building, which the locals call La Pedrera (quarry) with little reverence, has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It must not only be admired from the outside.

Barcelona National Museum MNAC
The National Museum (MNAC – Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya), Image: Brian Kinney / shutterstock

Now it’s going up. The ascent is a little strenuous – to Park Güell. The park, which resembles a temple, is one of the most famous sights in Barcelona. How could it be otherwise? The planning of this impressive park was also carried out by the architect Gaudi.
Turreted pavilions adorn the entrance. Soon impressive works take your breath away. Fascinating! The staircase leads through a large hall to a terrace supported by columns. Once here, there is a fantastic view of Barcelona. Clearly visible: the sail structure of the “W” Hotel.

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Tip: Before 8 a.m., admission to Park Güell is free. After that, the “Monumental Zone” is subject to a fee.

La Boqueria, the market on 6000 square meters with around 300 stalls stimulates all the senses. Fresh, colourful, inviting. Not only the residents love this market hall. What a swarming and screaming! Nevertheless, the grandiose impression of a huge market landscape with a delicious variety of food prevails.

Mega touristy, but a must – the biggest construction site in Barcelona:

Standing in line for hours, quite high entrance fees, loud and lively – Sagrada Familia – everyone wants to go!

A land turtle and a water turtle watch over the building. They stand for the two worlds and support the entire building. The foundation stone for Gaudi’s masterpiece was laid in 1882. You can take the elevator in the tower of the Passion façade at a height of 65 meters and watch the construction work. Despite the many tourists, it is a sublime feeling to linger in the halls that have not yet been completed. Sagrada Familia is undoubtedly a gigantic sacred building and unique: even after the death of the architect, there is no standstill. His unfinished life’s work has been built for years with donations. Completion of the Sagrada Familia is scheduled for 2026.

Relaxation and culinary highlights

Barcelona, Place d'Espanya
The Place d’Espanya, Image: Marco Rubino / shutterstock

In enchanting parks, restaurants and bars, you can relax wonderfully after so many impressions.

The Park de la Ciutadella is one of the most beautiful and largest in Barcelona. In the middle of the city, you enter an overwhelming, green landscape. Similar to a jungle, you can get lost here. No noise, no car noise, only the splashing of the fountains is audible.

Chilling out in the middle of the city: You can also do this on the terrace of the Antic Teatre.

Culinary – Catalan – delicious: What would a holiday in Spain be without tapas? Pure enjoyment, that’s what “Teoric Taverna Gastronomica” stands for. Here, eating tapas is like an explosion of flavors. Great service, the best tapas and delicious wine – that’s what Barcelona tastes like.

Tip: On a ride on the “Tramvia blau“, the oldest tram in Barcelona, you can admire the beautiful houses along Avenida Tibidabo.

Even if you haven’t seen everything – don’t worry: If you leave this city, you leave with the intention of coming back.

 

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