Barcelona – A City of Breathtaking Architecture
The capital of Catalonia, the second largest city in Spain, the largest metropolis on the Mediterranean Coast – Barcelona is all this and much more. With a rich cultural heritage, it is a major tourist destination for many reasons. This is one of those cities that really have it all. It is a center of finance, exhibitions, sports, education, media, commerce, fashion, entertainment and arts. No matter how long your visit to the metropolis is, it will never be long enough.
Every article about Barcelona has to start with one particular landmark: the breathtaking Sagrada Familia. The iconic Roman-Catholic church (it is not a cathedral, because it is not the seat of a bishop) has been under construction for over 130 years (since 1882), and completion is scheduled for 2026, exactly 100 years after the demise of its brilliant architect, Antoni Gaudi. The interior was finally completed in 2012, and the result is simply stunning. An inside tour lasts for approximately one hour, and you are bound to leave the building completely mesmerized.
While admiring the exterior is free and it takes about 30 minutes to get a good look at all the facades, in order to step inside you need to wait at a very long queue (be ready for an hour long wait). However, you can avoid waiting in line if you book your tickets in advance.
Out of the total 18 spires designed by Gaudi, only 8 have been completed so far. The tallest of all – representing Jesus Christ – was intentionally designed to measure one meter less than the city’s Montjuic hill, because Gaudi felt his work should never be taller than that of God. The majestic church is unsurprisingly the most visited monument in the entire country, attracting about three million tourists every year.
Architecture enthusiasts will find many other remarkable buildings to visit here, the most impressive of all belonging to the modernist era. Modernism was a Catalan movement that was strongly represented in Barcelona, and whose gems are still making a strong impression on tourists today. On Illa de la Discòrdia (Block of Discord), you will have the unique privilege of seeing a series of remarkable buildings by different Modernista architects. Casa Amatller, Casa Batlló, Casa Lleó Morera and Casa Mulleras are all exquisite works of art.
However, the city’s most famous modernist building is Gaudi’s Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera (The Quarry). Take your time to fully admire it and then have a cup of coffee at the café on the first floor. And if all that architectural beauty has stirs your appetite for art, don’t miss the chance to visit the city’s most famous museum, dedicated to Picasso. What we find most interesting about the Picasso Museum is the fact that none of the artist’s most famous works is actually displayed here.
Even so, the collection is so large and special that it really doesn’t need a world-renowned painting to make it worth visiting. Here you will find many of the artist’s lesser known creations as well as numerous early sketches, which is definitely a rare privilege for any art enthusiast. After you leave the museum and start heading to your hotel room, make sure you take another good look at the city. You’ll find that it is not difficult to understand why Picasso seemingly forgot that he was originally from Malaga. There is something about this city that makes you want to stay here forever.
- The best time of year to visit Barcelona is May-June and September-October.
- Usually people here leave tips of 5% from the total bill.
- If you are looking for a plush hotel experience, choose something special, such as Ohla Hotel, Barceló Raval, or Hotel Arts Barcelona.
- For those who enjoy trips we recommend the city of Giorna and the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery.