Barcelona is a wonderful city to visit for travellers and tourists who enjoy sightseeing. There are many wonderful things to see for families with children, for couples, for anyone.
As is true for most big cities, Barcelona has many interesting museums, art galleries, parks, theatres, summer festivals and much, much more, including buildings featuring unique Catalan Modernista architecture. Importantly, all of the best sights are easily reachable by foot or by affordable public transportation, including the metro, buses, the railroad and even taxis.
Those who enjoy and appreciate fine examples of architecture will be pleased to take a “strolling tour” to see the many Barcelona buildings that actually feature Catalan Modernista architecture.
Additionally, the region’s 13th century golden age saw the birth of Catalan Gothic Architecture a simple and elegant version of classic Gothic. The best examples can be found in Ciutat Vella (old town) and particularly in Barrio Gotico (Gothic quarter), which many say is the most complete gothic quarter on the European continent.
The area features a fascinating maze of narrow dark streets and grey stone buildings with arches and dragons which will transport you back in history.
The Catalan Renaixenca (Renaissance), which began in the late 19th century, was the period when the Catalan Modernista movement really took hold in Barcelona. Today, there are many stunning Modernista buildings throughout the city. The best known buildings are probably those of architect and designer Antoni Gaudi (1852 – 1926). Some of his best works – Casa Batllo and La Pedrera – can be found at Passeig de Gracia Boulevard. Other sites worth seeing include the Sagrada Familia Church and Parc Guell.
Barcelona is currently in the midst of renovating and revitalizing itself through urban renewal projects. Some of the most important and noteworthy projects include a new soaring bullet shaped tower called La Torre Agbar, which is beautifully lit up every evening … and a stunning metallic sculpture called The Fish. Created by Frank Gehry, it can be seen at Vila Olimpica.
Art lovers will find lots to see.
If you love and appreciate art, you’ll find numerous art galleries and museums that are worth a visit in Barcelona which has become a “hotspot” for today’s artists and designers. Areas like La Ribera (El Borne) and El Raval are full of studios displaying and selling art.
Visitors who take the time to stroll through Barcelona’s old quarter will find an impressive number of shops that sell locally-designed jewellery, fashionable clothing and glassworks. There are also lots of museums, galleries and expositions in the area, many of which feature contemporary art.
You may also wish to visit one of Barcelona’s most important modern art museums the Museu d´Art Contemporany de Barcelona (or simply MACBA). The Fundacio de Antoni Tapies and the Fundacio Joan Miro on Montjuic are also worth visiting.
You will surely want to visit Picasso Museum, as well. He was, arguably, the most famous artist of the 20th century. In order to honour his memory, and his brilliance, two old palaces were converted into twin museums housing about 2,500 of his paintings, engravings and drawings, all of which he donated to the museum when it opened its doors to the public in 1970.
Enjoy shows, concerts and festivals every summer.
If your visit to Barcelona coincides with any of local holidays, try to find time to visit one of the numerous shows and concerts that occur frequently all over the city and you won´t be disappointed. By the way in summer, many Barcelona neighbourhoods sponsor Fiesta Majors (major festivals) that are great family fun.
Celebrations are held in the streets with parades of giant sculptures, fire-breathing dragons and monsters. Perhaps the most famous festival is the Fiesta Major de Gracia which takes place in one of Barcelona’s finest and most beautiful suburbs.
Throughout the year, neighbourhood associations work on the elaborate decorations that are hung in the streets in mid-August. Each street chooses a different theme and competes for the prize of “best dressed street”. The district then becomes a giant stage for 10 days of non-stop frolicking and fun.
There is another great show that tourists and travellers may want to see. It’s called the Festival of La Merce. It takes place in September and features spectacular firecracker displays, processions and dancing. The highlight of La Merce is the fire run when a parade of devils, monsters and dragons that carry firecrackers in their mouths, makes its way through the Barrio Gotico. This is a “must see”.
Finally, tourists or travellers who stop at the square in front of Barcelona’s cathedral any Sunday morning will see the most revered dance of all - La Sardana, - a joyous dance where people hold hands and dance in a circle. The style of this lively dance, which is far removed from the sensual flamenco, is actually the most typical Catalan dance. Those who watch it will get a real sense of Catalan culture and tradition.
Naturally, there are many, many more things you can see in Barcelona, as is the case for most world-class cities. Like big cities around the world, Barcelona has many interesting and fascinating sights to see and enjoy. If you’re adventurous, plan to see them on your own. For those who may need help, sightseeing tours and excursions are available.