Antonio Gaudi, Catalonia, castagnettes. Does it sound familiar? Probably yes, and this all – Barcelona. There aren’t many cities that were influenced as much as Barcelona was by Antonio Gaudi. He was kind of a misunderstood genius, way ahead of his time, which brought him much criticism in life. He was so much that his masterpiece – the Sagrada Familia was at one point called the ugliest building in the world. Quite the contrary today it is considered as one of the marvels of engineering, and other works of the artist also inspire great admiration. One can not deny the uniqueness of his work that can be seen on every step in Barcelona.
One other unique piece of work is the Guell Park. Probably the most unusual park you will ever see also designed by Gaudi. Initial idea was to build an elite neighborhood with luxury villas and lots of greenery. However, out of 60 houses that were planned, only 2 were completed. Even though the project was a complete failure Residental vise, Barcelona got a brand new place for people to hang out. One of the most unique features of this parks is the snake-like bench.
The largest masterpiece by Gaudi is the Sagrada Familia, to which he dedicated the last 15 years of his life. The work began in 1882, and it is still being constructed. Out of 18 towers originally planned he only managed to finish one before his sudden death. He is also buried in the cathedral.
Apart from Gaudi, Barcelona is known for many things. Las Ramblas is the main street of the city, it is a kilometer long and connects Plaza de Catalunya with the monument of Christopher Columbus. This is the street where you can see the whole of Barcelona, full of street performers and very colorful and lively.
Barcelona is also a sports metropolis. The 1992 Olympics transformed the city and launched it into a whole new dimension with all the new sports infrastructure that was built. Today Barcelona hosts a Formula 1 race, lots of tennis tournaments, basketball and of course football. FC Barcelona is the pride of the city and its shrine is the Camp Nou stadium – the largest in Europe, it can host up to 80 000 people. If you decide to visit it, make sure to check the museum inside it. It shows the history of the club and it is also the largest museum in Catalonia.
The city is also famed for its long sandy beaches. There are roughly 5 kilometers of beaches in the city inner center with many more a bit outside. Much like Madrid, Barcelona has a reputation of having excellent nightlife. There are a few areas especially attractive, with the most famous being La Rambla, Maremagnum – a shopping center that turns into a lively place at night full of bars and clubs, and Port Olympic which is especially attractive in the summer when you can enjoy on a terrace near the sea.
Another very famous attraction is the magic fountains. The show takes place every evening and it’s a cascade of music, light, and water, that lasts about 15 minutes. It is very attractive to see. Even if you are on a short trip, like one day Barcelona trip, this must be included in your itinerary.
Climate and weather
Winters are very mild and pleasant. The temperature rarely drops below zero and snow is also a very rare phenomenon. If you decide to visit Barcelona during winter, you can count on daily temperates around 12 – 15 Celsius, but nights can get cool, at about 4 – 5 Celsius.
Spring usually starts very warm and with lots of sunshine. March sees temperatures around 16 Celsius while May is sunbathing at least 20 Celsius. This is a perfect time to visit Barcelona, as days are longer and sunnier, and it’s not so overcrowded. But don’t really count on swimming in the sea as it is not warm enough yet. Barcelona is considered one of the best spring destinations in Europe.
Summers are long and dry, with average temperature at arround 28 Celsius. Keep in mind that nights aren’t much better either since humidity can hit 60%.
Fall brings slightly lower temperatures, but it is still very sunny, and the sea is still ok for swimming. Again crowd is somewhat lees than in summer so this is also a great time to visit.
Lots of people like Barcelona because of the beaches. The largest city in Catalonia ofers several kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches.
La Barceloneta – it’s the most famous beach in Barcelona, and the closest to the city center, only 2 kilometers from La Rambla. You can also reach it by subway, bus or tram. Beach has loads of activities, bars, restaurants and sport objects.
San Sebastia – Right next to Barceloneta is the Sant Sebastia beach, very popular among the locals. It used to be a nudist beach for a long time but it was prohibited in 2011.
Icaria – calmer and more family-oriented beach, located east of the Port Olympica. Easily reachable by subway, tram or bus, it has lots of sports activities such as beach volleyball or table tennis.
Barcelona is one of Europe’s most popular destinations, so booking a room in advance is very recommended. Tourist season in Barcelona is practically the whole year, and it is hard to segregate cheaper and more expensive seasons. Roughly you could say that November to March is somewhat less visited, hence cheaper, with the exception of Christmas and New Year.
Thing is, this city has many events throughout the year such as Formula 1 race, football matches, fares, etc. During these events, many visitors flock to the city and book all the accommodation. So if you want a cheaper deal book well in advance.
Hotel. hostel or hostal?
One might think that hostal is the same as the hostel, it is actually not the same thing. Hostals are very popular in Spain, by quality close to hotels but they don’t have a private bathroom. These are usually shared with other guests. Unlike hostels, hostals rarely have dorm rooms, and hostals usually serve breakfast.
If you want cheap accommodation, head for the hostel. For dorm rooms, you will find very affordable deals.
Which neighborhood to chose?
Barri Gotic – or the old town is great if you want to be centrally located and close to all the public transport options. You can find great deals here since there are many hostals available, but keep in mind it is very noisy in the city center due to all the bars, restaurants and traffic.
Eixample – is located north of Barri Gotic and it is a very popular shopping zone with lots of bars and clubs.
Saint Monthuic – is a calm neighborhood west of the city best known for the 1992 Olympics that took place here and the magic fountain. This is a popular area for business travelers so prices are slightly higher here.
Barceloneta – best known for its beach, this neighborhood is a great choice is you want to stay closer to the beach. There several luxury hotels, like the iconic W.
Whichever neighborhood you chose, it is a good idea to check if public transport is nearby, especially the subway since it is the easiest and cheapest form of transport available.