What do you know about one of the most iconic cities in Spain - Barcelona? The thing witch I’m sure at is that she will meet you with a gentle sun and an incomparable Catalan flavor. And if Madrid is the head of Spain, then Barcelona is its heart, which is ready to love you hot and tender, and squeeze to your chest like a child.
Barcelona is the capital of the Autonomous Region of Catalonia, the largest industrial center of Spain and it employs 1,615,908 people. It is the second city in Spain in terms of population after Madrid and the tenth in the European Union.
It is impossible not to fall in love with this city, it is completely different from other European cities. The mild Mediterranean climate, delicious cuisine, warm sea and an endless number of attractions for anyone, even the most fastidious tourist. The narrow streets of the Gothic quarter, the architectural masterpieces of Gaudi, the cheerful hubbub of La Rambla, the singing fountains of Montjuic, stunning views of Tibidabo, the eccentricity of Salvador Dali and Picasso's impressionism are all here at your feet. You will not have a minute of free time, Barcelona will devour you entirely.
It is impossible to know Barcelona in one visit and you will definitely come here again and again. To be surprised, to rejoice, to find something new, to leave this city with regret and sadness. To miss and miss in separation, to revise old photos, to dream of a meeting, to one day once again open our arms to the friendly Spanish sun and say: Hola, Barсelona!
The cuisine of Barcelona is a combination of Mediterranean cuisine, consisting of fresh fish and seafood, Spanish cuisine, as well as something special, Catalan. Start with tapas, they can be completely different: with slices of cheese, with olives, with fish, with finely chopped pieces of meat, with nuts, etc.
Try the classic tortilla - a delicious potato casserole, filled with eggs and well flavored with cheese.
As a main dish, take a Catalan paella - with an abundance of seafood. Dare to arroz negro (black paella) with sea cuttlefish ink and do not be afraid of the unappetizing appearance of this dish, it tastes much better than the classic one and doesn’t miss this culinary delicacy.
And complete the dinner with a wonderful local Crema Catalana dessert (creme brulee). Add to everything listed a jug of cold Sangría (sangria) with fruit pieces and you will remember this day in Barcelona for a long time!
Of course, this is not all, and you should definitely appreciate Catalan sausage Butifarra - traditional Catalan sausages. This dish is usually served with beans, but at the present time the version with salad and french fries is common.
Between the sea and the mountains (Mar i Muntanya) - a dish with an interesting name, implies an unusual combination of products: chicken and shrimp on the same plate with tomato, onion and garlic sauce. In many restaurants, you can also find combinations of this dish from different types of meat and fish;
Spanish knives (Navajas) are originally cooked marine creatures, in shape they resemble knives, they can often be seen in large aquariums;
Panellets - the original Catalan dessert made from almond nuts and sweet potatoes;
Turron - the traditional sweetness of Catalonia, made from almonds, honey and sugar. This is a very sweet and hard delicacy, which is well brought as a traditional souvenir. There are several different variants of Turron, a softer version is prepared with the addition of olive oil. Instead of almonds, you can also add hazelnut. In many sweet shops, you can try small pieces of Turron before buying;
Churros - sweet roasted custard pastry.
! Advice on choosing a restaurant: if possible, observe where the local population eats, the more local people eat / eat in a cafe, the higher the quality of the dishes offered and the lower their cost.
As for the sights, they need to highlight the whole story, but a couple of them are worth highlighting.
1. Park Guell
It would be good to start exploring the sights of Barcelona with the Park Guell, but not because it is the main "business card" of the city. Just there really is something to see here.
The park is literally filled with the works of the famous architectural genius Antonio Gaudi. Miracles begin already at the entrance, which is decorated with gingerbread houses of bizarre wavy shape, and then more: the famous mosaic lizard - the symbol of Barcelona, the column hall, the long parapet-bench of the same winding form - it feels like everything is from another planet.
2. Gothic Quarter
Be sure to visit this labyrinth of narrow old streets, located between Las Ramblas and Laietana street - this is where the true spirit of old Barcelona soars!
You can not only sit in a cozy cafe or go shopping, it is also a free open-air museum: every building from the XIV-XV centuries is worthy of attention.
Be sure to find here the best squares of the quarter - Saint-Jaume Square, Reial Square and Del Rey Square - and, of course, do not forget such popular architectural masterpieces as the Cathedral and the Archbishop Palace. The nearest metro stations to the Gothic Quarter are Liceu and Jaume I.
3. Hill of Montjuic
Perhaps, all the most interesting sights of Barcelona (well, or most of them) are collected here: the best museums of the city (National Art Museum of Catalonia, Joan Miró Museum, Spanish Village), buildings of the World Exhibition, many parks, gardens (among them botanical, for example, Jardins de Mossen Costa i Llobera) and shady paths and, of course, the eponymous castle and the famous Magic Fountain. An excellent choice for walking, what to say! In addition, the hill offers a very beautiful view of Barcelona.
4. Old port
Formerly unsightly, today the Old Port has become one of the most favorite places for walking. Besides the fact that this is perhaps the most popular place for shopping in the city, it is from here that water tours of the port and the docks begin and the funicular to Montjuic goes.
Be sure to take the time to stroll along the Moll de la Fusta or Moll d’Espanya promenade, look at the ancient schooner Saint Eulalia and, of course, do not forget to try the delicious waffles in Barcelona, which are baked only here.
5. Picasso Museum
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular museums in Barcelona. Here you can not only learn about the creative path of the founder of cubism, Pablo Picasso, but also see his works created during the most different periods of creativity (there are even children's drawings). And do not hesitate, you will not be bored - more than 3500 works of the great artist are collected in the museum.
There is no doubt that it is the most famous street in the city. The Rambla Boulevard stretches from Plaça Catalunya to the Old Port (right up to the monument to Christopher Columbus) and is just crammed with all sorts of interesting things: flower sellers, souvenir shops and pastry shops side by side with stately theaters and museums, and real mimes entertain the public on the bridge. No wonder there is always a festive atmosphere and sparkling fun!
And most importantly, it is in the Rambla you will discover the most famous sights of Barcelona: the Royal Square, the Boqueria Market, the Liceu Theater and the Virrein Palace.
7. Magic Fountain
Walking through the evening Barcelona, do not miss the chance to see one of its best treasures - the Magic Fountain. The fabulous show of light, water and music takes place every Friday and Saturday in the Plaza of Spain and leaves no one indifferent. The best view opens from the terrace of the National Museum, but it is worth considering that the fountain starts at 19:00, and the museum closes at 20:00.
8. Museum of Catalan art
The main museum of Barcelona and one of its most recognizable buildings, the Museum of Catalan Art is located on the hill of Montjuic at the end of Avenue Juda de la Reina Maria Cristina.
Here is a paradise for a lover of painting: the museum contains works of art of the Romanesque and Gothic styles, the Baroque and Renaissance eras. Drawings and engravings, coins and medals, paintings and even a library of art history - in the halls of the museum, you can not "disappear" for one hour.
9. Tibidabo Hill
The best place to admire the panorama of Barcelona from above is the Tibidabo hill, however, it will interest you not only by this. Here you can have a great time walking along the wooded slopes, go to the CosmoCaixa Museum of Natural Sciences, or find a way out of the Laberint d’Horta landscape maze. And of course, do not forget the main pearl of the hill - the temple of the Sacred Heart, crowning its summit.
Getting to Tibidabo is most convenient on the FGC metro trains (Avinguda de Tibidabo station), from where there is a bus to the top of the hill. On weekends and holidays between the Plaza Catalunya and the Tibidabo Square there is a “tibibus” T2. The fare is € 2.60.
10. Spanish Village
If you do not have time to travel all over Spain, feel free to go to the Spanish village on the Montjuic hill, where skilled architects erected exact copies of buildings from different regions of the country.
Here you can see all the main buildings of Spain: medieval fortress gates from Ávila, and buildings from Castile and Aragon, and also Andalusian, Basque, Valencia and many other “thematic” quarters.
Now, I think you are convinced that Barcelona is definitely worth your attention. The country of color, music and tortilla - that's what paradise is!