The Spanish seaside city of Barcelona is immensely popular with travellers from around the globe. And it’s very easy to see why! From festive cultures and traditions to world-renowned architecture, Barcelona has it all. It’s also home to some of the finest examples and tastes of Spanish cuisine.
There is so much to see and do in this Spanish hub! But what if you only have a day to spend here? We got in touch with a few Barcelona locals to get their take on it. We’ve gathered all the Barcelona highlights that need to be on your list:
La Rambla is Barcelona’s most popular outdoor shopping destination. This mile-long street runs from Barcelona Harbor to Placa de Catalunya. A favourite along the street is the Mercat de la Boqueria – a market that has been going strong since 1217! La Rambla is the best place to do your souvenir shopping, and sip on sangria as you watch the locals go about their daily lives.
Barcelona’s Gothic quarter is the best setting for a leisurely stroll! It consists of a labyrinth of streets and the only mode of transport allowed is your feet. Wander among town squares and some of the city’s renowned medieval buildings. Then, it’s a short walk to the Plaça del Rei and the Barcelona History Museum. Be sure not to miss the Barcelona Catédral, which was built between the 13th and 15th Centuries!
A major architectural attraction is the Illa de la Discòrdia (Block of Discord). The Modernista architects of the early 20th Century, each made their own contribution. Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Antoni Gaudí were all independently commissioned to design buildings on this city block. The result? The visual chaos that gave the district its distinctive name!
When most people think Barcelona, they also think Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. The creative genius refused to travel and therefore built most of his masterpieces in or near the city. The large Roman Catholic Sagrada Família cathedral is his crowning achievement and is a must-see!
Did you know? Construction for the Sagrada Família began in 1882. It was interrupted by Gaudí’s death in 1926, as well as the Spanish Civil War. Building resumed in 1950, and in 2015 the final phase was set in motion. The hope is that it will be completed by 2026, to honour the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death!
Travel tip: If you are really pressed for time, it’s best to enjoy historical buildings and architectural marvels from the outside only. During peak holiday seasons you can queue for hours to get inside.
Another simple (and delicious!) way to save time is to have lunch on the go. Buy some tasty bocadillos, empanadas or rissoles from a street vendor. Then, wash it down with a refreshing sangria. Yum!