Sunny Barcelona! One of the most beautiful places on earth you could ever go to. It is a modern city always open to new ideas and yet it has a feel of antiquity to it. The city is known for its beautiful beaches and its magnificent architecture, its happy-go-lucky-culture and its solemn sculptures.
Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain after Madrid lies on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula. The city is also part of Catalonia, one of Spain’s seventeen autonomous communities. The city enjoys a beautiful Mediterranean climate thus making it a year round tourist destination. Barcelona is perfect for every kind of person and it does not matter if you prefer solitude or if you are that crazy party animal.
The city’s history runs deep and almost everything around has a story to tell. If you want a taste of what ancient Barcelona is like the Casa del Arcediano, Gothic Cathedral and the Hospital de Santa Cruz are worth a visit. There are a number of palaces in Spain and if it’s architecture that interests you, especially gothic and renaissance structures then Archiepiscopal Palais and Palacio del Archivo de la Corona de Aragón (Palace of the crown of Aragon) are bound to mesmerize your senses and leave you awe-struck.
Other interesting monuments are Nao de Santa Maria del Mar which is a replica of the ship ‘Santa Maria’ that Columbus sailed in to America. Palau del Ayuntamiento, otherwise known as the Townhall is an impressive gothic structure as well as Monasterio de Pedralbes which is famous for its museum. And don’t ever forget to visit Gaudi.
If history is not your subject of interest there’s still lots more that Barcelona has to offer. Spanish culture can be compared to a drug that you just cannot seem to get enough of. Down to earth and fun loving is how one ought to describe the native Catalonian. Their lifestyle is pretty much easy going and if you are the laid back kind you will blend in well.
If you are in search of some sort of a fusion mix then Las Ramblas is the place to be. The road is around two kilometers long and lies between Plaza de Catalunya and the Port Vell. You are likely to find every category of people here, from the young to the old, rich to the poor and locals to tourists. It’s an amazing shopping destination in Barcelona that accommodates quite a few of cafes, galleries and is a great place to watch some street theatre. However, one must always watch out for pick pocketers. There are other market places like Mercado de La Boquería, Pla de la Boqueria and Plaça Reial that must find a place on your itinerary.
Party people will enjoy the Catalan city no matter what your taste is. If swanky clothes and white limousines are what pleases you – Plaza Francesc Maciá, Diobar, Dluz, El Monasterio and Minusa are some of the places you are likely to fall in love with. Gracia, La Barceloneta and El Ensanche are a few other hot nightlife destinations.
Sport is another important aspect of the city. While there are a number of sports played in Barcelona the one that overrides everything is football. Catalan is home to one of the world’s greatest football clubs, FC Barcelona. People from all over the world travel to visit the club and its museum, if you are lucky enough to get tickets to a Home game you will be in for some entertaining moments that you are not likely to forget for the rest of your life. If you cannot make it for a live game then there are a number of sport bars that will give you a feel of what it’s like, on a smaller scale. RCD Espanyol another club from the La Liga and CE Europa and UE Sant Andreu who belong to the lower rungs of the football club hierarchy are fun to visit if you are a diehard footie fan.
Lastly, do not skip the Barcelona beaches as they are one of the best aspects of the city. If you love the crowds and food Nova Icaria is the place for you to be. Bogatell is a great place to jog or roller blade and is serene in comparison to Nova Icaria and Barceloneta; a hang out spot for the locals. Mar Bella, the only naturalist beach in Bacelona is a great place for adventure sports and tranquility, that is if any of the two suit your taste.
Before, I leave you with your sense of adventure all pumped up here are a few facts and tips about the city. In Barcelona people mainly speaks Spanish and Catalan, so its helps to know the languages or at least carry a phrasebook. Football equals religion so it’s definitely not a good idea to make fun of a club or player unless you know the person really well or else you may just get beaten up. Lastly, being a European country could must always remember to EXPECT the UNEXPECTED. Have an open mind to things and go with the flow…With that you are sure to have a fantastic time.