Take a Walk
You won’t be in Barcelona long before you find yourself on Las Ramblas, the 1.2 kilometre pedestrian avenue that leads from Plaça Catalunya to Port Vell near the cruise port terminal. Join a never ending stream of tourists, students and locals enjoying the human statues, bird stalls, flower shops and magazine kiosks. Stop for coffee at the historic Cafe de l’Opera. www.cafeoperabcn.com. Alternatively, stretch your legs on the Barceloneta promenade. Relax with a beer at the seaside but if you’re hungry, veer inland for something to eat at an authentic Barceloneta institution, La Cova Fumada. No booking; either squeeze in at the bar or, if you want a table, give your name to the proprietor and wait to be called. Carrer del Baluard 56, Barceloneta; Mon.-Wed. 9am-3:20pm; Thurs.-Fri. 9am-3:20pm & 6-8:20pm; Sat. 9am-1:20pm; closed Sunday.
Visit a Museum
Picasso, who was born in Malaga, spent roughy ten years of his adolescence and youth in Barcelona. In 1963, the artist oversaw the foundation of Barcelona’s Picasso museum, a repository of his early works (mainly dating between 1890 and 1917). Established in ancient buildings in the Gothic quarter, the capacity of the galleries is limited. Booking online is advised. www.museupicasso.bcn. The influential 20th century artist, Joan Miro was was born in Barcelona; he, too, helped form a museum in the city to house his works. In 1975, the Fundacio Miro opened high on Montjuic hill in a light-filled building designed by the artist’s friend, Lluis Sert. Pictures, drawings ceramic and graphics, as well as a large tapestry, all made and donated by the artist, are exhibited along with some works by his contemporaries. Outdoors, colourful Miro sculptures compete for attention with the view over Barcelona. www.fmirobcn.org
Admire the architecture
The incredible craftsmanship and refinement of Palau Güell will transport you to another era. From the basement stables to the fancifully decorated chimneys, this masterpiece by architect Antoni Gaudi for the family of industrialist Eusebi Güell is one of the outstanding icons of Barcelona architecture. t’s located just off Las Ramblas at Career Nou de la Rambla. Tickets online at www.palauguell.cat or at the office 20 metres from the entrance. Gaudi wasn’t the only important architect in the Catalan Modernisme movement; the Palau de la Music Catalana is a testimony to the artistry of Lluis Domenech i Montaner. Like Palau Guell, this opulent concert hall has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tours lasting 55 minutes are conducted every 30 minutes daily from 10.00 to 15.30. The theatre is less than a ten minute walk from Plaça Catalunya. www.palaumusica.cat
The Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s famous temple-in-progress. Begun in1882, Antoni Gaudi’s extraordinary project is now more than 70 percent completed. The building was consecrated in 2010, though Mass is not yet regularly celebrated here.Since Gaudi’s accidental death in 1926 work has been carried on by consecutive teams of architects who have dedicated themselves to deducing how Gaudi’s design would have developed, most of his plans having been destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. . Completion is expected around 2026. Admission fees and private benefactors provide the funding. The Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s number one tourist attraction so expect long queues. Plan ahead by buying a skip-the-line ticket online. www.sagradafamilia.org
A bustling temple to food, the Boqueria San Josep is more than just a market; it’s a cornucopia of produce, a hive of restaurants, a social centre with scheduled events – it even hosts a cooking school. Take a four-hour course (in English) and learn how to prepare Gazpacho, Spanish Tortilla, Seafood Paella, Crema Catalana and Pá amb Tomáque. You will be guided every step of the way, from choosing products in the market to the preparation. Then enjoy the meal. (Book on the Boqueria website: boqueria.info) . Or let someone else do the cooking, and find a seat at one of the market’s 14 bars and restaurants. Entrance at Rambla 91, Monday to Saturday 08:00 – 20:30.
The Sardana, Catalunya’s traditional dance, has been an emblem of Catalunya’s national pride and defiance since the 19th century. Banned by Franco, the dance survived; most Saturdays at 18.30 and Sundays at noon, a Sardana band assembles on the steps of the Church of San Sceau, Barcelona’s 15th century cathedral. When the music begins, people in the square form circles by linking hands and then dance the slow and stately Sardana. Picasso called it ‘the communion of souls’ . If you’re tempted to try (it looks easier than it is) just leave your coat and bags in the centre of one of the circles and join in. Learn more about the dance at www.spanish-art.org« Back