If you’ve done any research around what to do in Barcelona, your head is likely spinning right now. The to-do list of tourist attractions to see, food to taste and things to try is always getting longer with no signs of stopping. How are you supposed to decide what’s worth the time and effort and what to pass on if you’ve never been there and don’t have a personal guide? Let us take the trouble out of the problem and give you a sample itinerary for a day in Barcelona. If you are lucky enough to have more than one day in the city, you can space it out over a couple days and take your time going through every place.
This is the main tourist attraction in all of Barcelona and the earlier you can get to it, the less crowded it will be around the base of this incredible church. The Sagrada Familia is the masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi, the architect who made his mark on a number of buildings throughout the city and is a great way to start your day. It’s been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is sure to excite you for all the amazing things to come on your fun-filled day in Barcelona. Pay 12.5 Euro to gain entry into this building to see the detail and continuing work that is being done every single day.
Another building by Antoni Gauid, La Pedrera is one of his most unusual buildings. It includes a rooftop sculpture park that you can tour through and is also a part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Pay 14 Euro to see the museum part of the building and take your time looking around and taking in the skill and inspiration that Gaudi had on Barcelona and beyond.
Yet another Gaudi building, Casa Batllo has a very imposing appearance from the outside that has earned it the name “Casa dels Ossos” by locals, or the House of Bones, because of its skeletal look. The façade of the building is decorated with a colourful mosaic all the way up the sides and the twists and curves of it reach the top in a unique arched roof that some say look like the back of a dragon. Some even say that Gaudi purposely tried to avoid using straight lines in the construction and design of the building, and as you wander the building you can judge for yourself.
The Casa Amatller is another stop on the incredible “Apple of Discord” block of buildings. It is one of the best examples of modernist architecture in the city and as you stop to look at it for a few minutes, let your imagination run wild. Try to figure out who lived there and what they did as you look at the whimsical and unusual construction of the building.
Just like the Casa Amatller, the Casa Lleo Morera is a part of the block of buildings nicknamed “Apple of Discord.” It is by far the most tame of the buildings on this list, but is also incredibly detailed. While there aren’t insane colours and curved and arched rooftops, there are small details in the sculptures that are impossible to see when you just walk by quickly. Take 10 minutes to really look around the whole building and see what jumps out at you.
Now, a break from all the architecture and oddities! It’s time to head to La Rambla, the favourite walking street in all of Barcelona. As you amble along the road you’ll get a taste of what the street performers can do and may even be drawn in to a show or two. Be wary of scams and pickpockets, but generally, you can let yourself relax and really take in the environment along La Rambla. There’s a strong Mediterranean vibe in this area and if you are in the market for truly gourmet tastes, head to the Boqueria to see what’s fresh that day.
Pick a restaurant or café to take a load off your feet and enjoy a late lunch. You are sure to have plenty of options and based on where your rumbling stomach leads you, you are sure to find the perfect spot. Think about all the amazing things you’ve already seen and just how much more there is to do before night falls!
While Sagrada Familia may get all the attention from tourists and guide books, that doesn’t mean you should pass up on the Barcelona Cathedral. Tickets are only 6 Euro and you’ll be able to see a small museum, walk through the inside of the church and even take an elevator up to the roof for a superb view of the city.
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona boasts one of the most extensive collections of the master’s artwork with more than 3,500 of his pieces on display. Opened back in 1963, the idea for the museum came from Picasso’s long-time friend, Jaume Sabartes, whose donation of 574 of his works made up a majority of the museum’s original exhibition.
Your final Gaudi visit of the day, Guell Park, was built in 1900 and is a truly unforgettable maze of gardens full of statues, buildings and other creations. Try to uncover and discover all the tiny “Gaudi” details that were included in the park as you wind down paths and when you tire of that, take a break on the famous serpentine bench, which is unlike anything else in the world. If you haven’t had enough of Gaudi by this point, you can head to the small museum dedicated to his life within the park in Casa-Museu Gaudi, where the architect lived for 20 years!
As the sun sets over the city skyline of Barcelona, head to the Magic Fountain, in front of the National Art Museum of Catalonia. It was built in 1929 and as the dark descends, water jets turn on and give a spectacular 15-minute sound and light performance. Sit back and enjoy the show!
Anyone who lives in Barcelona will have their own take on this itinerary and you are welcome to shift or switch out activities based on what you like and don’t like to do. If you’ve just flown 24 hours from Australia via parts and ports unknown, you may opt for a day of tasting tapas and engaging in some restful people watching on your first day. If museums and history aren’t your thing, spend more time at the beach! If you don’t like looking at art, take a longer lunch or even a siesta. Whatever itinerary you decide on as your favourite, spending a day in Barcelona will likely change your outlook on Catalan culture and about Spain in general. An international travel insurance plan can protect your holiday, health and more from unexpected mayhem. Get a quote today and find out how affordable Cover-More’s quality international travel insurance can be!
Image courtesy of Flickr user Oh Barcelona