A guide to: Barcelona by @digicoled

From the UK, Barcelona is one of the most accessible cities, with many airports and airlines flying out to the Catalonian city, offering a really unique city break for those looking to escape for a few days.

Few cities offer a bit of everything, but Barcelona offers culture, beaches, night-life, and a great positive vibe all in the warmth that a Spanish destination promises to offer. It is also one of those cities that can cost you a fortune but with a little bit of planning or imagination, you really can make your money go a long way.

Yes, you can go to visit the popular Gaudi’s unfinished Sagrada Familia (due to be completed in 2026), but the crowds and the cost can be off-putting. Instead, there are plenty of vantage points around the Cathedral where you can stare in awe at the wonder of the monumental building project. Indeed, venture to the outskirts of the city, heading to Park Guell, where a little hill climb (with the relief of outdoor escalators) offers a great view overlooking the entire city.

Gaudi’s legacy is scattered all around the city and is a popular draw for tourists, but another architect whose unostentatious work is worthy of exploration (and quite a hidden gem in Barcelona) is Lluís Domènech i Montaner, who embarked on an ambitious project designing Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau. I know, it sounds morbid, but the unfinished project is a testament to Art Nouvelle design, now being recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Exploring the English Language tour option is a must, as you get to hear about the stories and challenges faced with building such a large site, and seeing the underground tunnels that connected the hospital buildings is fascinating. Oh, and it only costs around €10 per person for the visit.

A trip to the beach is also worth a visit. It can get very busy, and the locals only really discovered what they had on their doorsteps after the 1992 Olympics, but they’re certainly making up for it now. If you’re a bit prudish, beware as there are a few areas where nudism is allowed, but they just seem to merge in with the crowds, but you have been warned. No picture supplied!

Traveling around on the underground train system is fantastic. You can travel around the heart of the city for €1, by purchasing a €10 ticket, allowing you 10 journies – you have your ticket checked at entry into the system, and can pass it back for other party members to go through the barriers. It’s legal, and great value for money – one of the best in Europe that I have experienced. The underground trains can get quite busy though, although relief is at hand, as most trains are air-conditioned, and it makes such a big difference.

But, a trip to Barcelona is incomplete without a visit to the (free) Magic Fountain display, which takes place most evenings (not Monday to Wednesday) from 9 pm local time (but check website for times, as these change throughout the year). This is a magical event (did I tell you that it’s free?), and would advise that you pick your spot at least 60 minutes before the scheduled start. It can get busy, but also be aware of the direction of any breeze, as you don’t want to be drenched when stood in the wrong place. However, it is entertaining to see other people getting soaked because they did not consider the breeze.

Again, the underground train can be extremely busy once the fountain display is concluded, so be prepared to get to know your fellow travellers really closely.

As for hotels, there are plenty to choose from, and your budget can stretch nicely to something more luxurious, or something budget. The city caters for most pockets, but it is worth considering where you will be located in relation to the fantastic public transport options.

Barcelona, you’ve got to give it a go. I tribute the final words to Freddie…

Barcelona – Such a beautiful horizon
Barcelona – Like a jewel in the sun

 


All images provided in this city guide were provided by @digicoled

 

 

 

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