We all visit European cities for different reasons. When we go to Paris, we normally do something romantic. When we go to Rome most of us see some ancient ruins and then have some nice calzone in between sightseeing. Berlin has the reputation of having the best party scene, and we go to Amsterdam to see the beautiful architecture. Ha, I wish that was the reason why people go to Amsterdam. We all know that everybody goes there to get high legaly. So why do people go to Barcelona? What has made it so special that it became one of the top European destinations? Beaches? I don't think so. Culture? hmm...maybe. Architecture? Definitely, kudos to señor Antoni Gaudi. Maybe all these put together? Yes! That's it. Barcelona seems to have it all and to top it off, you don't have to battle with some crazy -15 °C temperatures when you go there during their winter time. Plus you don't have to battle with hords of tourists! That's another win for me.
What can you do in this great city when you have a whole week ahead of you? You can relax, take your time and just enjoy it to the fullest.
Go to Park Güell and admire Gaudi's style. I am not crazy on architecture, I am more of a landscape person, but I can say that walking around the park, taking photos and sitting in the sun all day was definitely one of my holiday highlights. You should do it too!
After you tire yourself out from all that strolling around in Park Güell you can go and get some food at the lively La Boqueria market. The entrance to the market is directly off the busy La Rambla. It is also a great point for taking photos, though don't be surprised if you get quite few weird stares from the vendors when you will be photographing their dead, or sometimes alive, sea food.
One of the days do the free walking tour around the city. This is my favorite way to get to know the place. I've done quite a few now and I've always had great experiences. The whole point of it is to have a guide, they are usually young, always entertaining and have normally lived in the city for a while. They'll take you around some of the main highlights and tell you some great stories about the city's local history, myths and legends. Although the tours are free the guides always work on a tip basis. I always hate to see at the end of the tour, the amount of people who just walk away without even saying thank you!
Don't forget to TIP YOUR GUIDE!
One of the things I found out on the walking tour is that the people of Spain like to demonstrate..... a lot. And that politics is the number one topic during social interactions. No wonder. Since the financial crisis a lot of people lost their jobs and can't find new ones. But then I ask myself. If the country is so deep in the crisis, then why spend so much on the money on lottery? This was quite a common view on the streets of Barcelona; people lining up to buy lottery tickets. I don't like to judge and I don't like politics either, but doesn't this seem a bit strange? To me it seems weirdly deseprate.
The time has come for the city's most recognisable landmark: Sagrada Familia. I am not religious at all, and I find it insane that you have to pay such a big fee (I paid almost 20 Euros) to visit the cathedral. I believe it is actually only used as a tourist desination and in my opinion has nothing to do with religion. I went there for only one reason and that is to take photos. It is definitely a one of a kind structure and is very impressive inside and out. The best option is to buy your tickets online in advance, this will allow you to skip the long lines in from of the cathedral. You also have a choice to go up either Tower de la Pasion or del Nacimiento. After reading the reviews online I chose the second one. You can see the view below.
After you spend all that hard earned money on Sagrada Familia, head to the bottom of La Rambla for some Yacht shopping. Just kidding. It would take a while to save up for one of those. Sigh...
One of the things you can't miss in Barcelona is Plaza Espanya and the great and colorful show of Fontains de Montjüic that is displayed there each Friday and Saturday during low season and every day in the peak season. That was one of my favorite things in Barca.
Buy yourself, and this sad guy some tasty Catalan pastries. Maybe this will make him feel better after being forced to wear that horrible jumper. Btw when are people going to understand that treating animals like humans does not mean dressing them in clothes?
One of the evenings head to the boardwalk at the end of La Rambla and take photos during blue, or in this case purple hour. Blue hour is the time after the sun sets
but before it gets dark. My favourite time to take photos.
If you are in Barcelona you can't leave without visiting the beach! Barceloneta is the famous beach district in the City. Watch the surfers, play with the waves (don't get yourself wet!). Take a walk on the boardwalk and sip some Catalonian wine whilst enjoying the sun! Cheers!
Have you been to Barcelona? What are your favourite sights? Share your stories in the comments.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am Marta Kulesza - the photographer and creator of www.inafarawayland.com. I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me somewhere in the mountains.