Top 7 must do activities in Barcelona
Discover the city on foot
Barcelona is a big city, but it’s the perfect size to discover on foot. Spend a day away from the metro and the tourist bus, and take your time strolling around and stopping to recharge with some of the city’s great gastronomic options. If you’re in the mood for visiting some of the most impressive buildings and parks, you’ll want to see all the Parc de la Ciutadella has to offer as well as the Parc de Joan Miró, and the Montjuïc castle, but there’s also a Barcelona you won’t find in guidebooks.
Get off the beaten path and head up to Horta, get to know the charm of the Sant Andreu district, see a lesser-known side of the Eixample and take in breathtaking panoramic views.
Antoni Gaudí and Modernism in the city
Without a doubt, one of Barcelona’s top attractions for tourists (as well as for those who live here) is admiring the city’s modernist architecture and the works of Antoni Gaudí in particular. Just walking around you’ll come across various examples of Gaudí’s work throughout the city, be they civil or religious buildings.
The most famous is the Sagrada Família, impressive both outside and in; Park Güell, a space that’s out of a fairy tale and emulates an English garden city; and La Pedrera. But don’t miss the opportunity to visit other Gaudí buildings that sometimes occupy smaller space in guidebooks, such as Palau Güell, Casa Batlló, Torre Bellesguard, Casa Vicens and (if you have time to venture a bit outside Barcelona) the crypt of the Colònia Güell, in Santa Coloma de Cervelló.
The best location for festivals and open air concerts
Among the activities in Barcelona, there’s a lot of live music venues, such as Razzmatazz and Apolo, but the city boasts some wonderful concert halls as well. The Gran Teatre del Liceu is a survivor in splendor, decorated with gold leaf, plush red carpets, and ornate carvings. Don’t shy away from checking out the program, as tickets are not always as expensive as you might think, and it’s a space that’s definitely worth a visit.
Memories of Pablo Picasso
Picasso’s Barcelona, where he spent his early years, was beautiful and vibrant. Follow the footsteps of the artistic genius as you visit the landmarks that shaped his youth. Walk down C/Reina Cristina and then cross over to number 3 on C/Mercè to see where his family lived, though the building was later destroyed.
If you need to make a stop along the way, head to Els 4 Gats, where artists, including Picasso and Salvador Dali, gathered at the time to chat, eat dinner and have meetings about art. Finally, visit the Museu Picasso itself, a gallery that houses works from Picasso’s formative years.
The amazing tapa culture
Pintxos, in essence, are Basque tapas – plates of bite-sized goodies served atop a piece of bread – and they’re also a culinary trend in Barcelona. Tradition calls for you to pick at the food with toothpicks, and at the end of the night you will be charged for the number of toothpicks that you have used.
One of the best places to give them a try is Euskal Etxea, where you can get stuck in to ham empanadillas (a type of pie), pintxos made of chicken tempura with saffron mayonnaise, melted provolone with mango and ham, or a mini-brochette of pork. But lest you forget, there are many more pintxos places in town as well.
Enjoy the local festivities
How long can you party non-stop? A week? Then September is a good time to visit because the Festes de la Mercè swing into town. The celebration started life as a small religious parade but since then it has snowballed into a weeklong party celebrating Catalan culture.
Performances, dazzling firework displays along the beaches, a seafront air show, exhibitions, children’s activities and free concerts (playing everything from sea shanties to hip hop) make this a celebration of Barcelona in all its splendor.
Wonder though the Raval
Like Paris, Barcelona also has a literary flavor. Many a writer has been inspired by the lower Raval, which was once called the ‘Barrio Chino’, a name coined by an American journalist due to its underworld feel in the 1920s. Haunted by drifters and prostitutes (and, more recently, hipsters and their ilk), the seedy ghetto forms a strangely glamorous setting for Jean Genet’s existential novel The Thief’s Journal (1949) and provides the backdrop for the civil war novel The Palace(1962) by Nobel prize-winner Claude Simon and The Margin by André Pieyre de Mandiargues (1967), which was made into a film.
Source: Timeout Barcelona