Having family living in Barcelona has its perks, for example getting to know the city quite well in order to recommend interesting places and leave out the silly ones. Yes, we do want to be silly tourists every once in a while when travelling but please after spending 5 hours fonding over the Sagrada Familia it’s not really necessary to walk along La Rambla whilst drinking your fancy Starbuck’s Caramel Macchiato. Basically, it’s important to be aware of the existence of other flabbergasting places in Barcelona, which would love a visit from yourself as well as your good companion. Apart from La Rambla and Camp Nou there are other places that I know you’re dying to visit.
Yes, you read it right. The metro is a great place to watch people come and go, to make up stories just from seeing random’s faces and to overthink things. 11 metro lines, connections with 6 railroad’s lines and a million buses to take, that’s Barcelona. You could spend hours of a day just sitting in different metro stations and thinking of the ‘what ifs’ of life. Apart from the latest, haven’t you always fancied the idea of picking the first metro and letting yourself go wherever? Oh, I love doing that. That’s the way to discover the good places!
2. Plaza Catalunya
My apologies, there’s not time to shop. I’m not talking about the Plaza itself and the dozens shops all around it. Please, I’m begging you to take the metro, get out of it at this stop and just wonder about the streets behind. If you follow my advice you are going to witness the impossible: The Eixample, a district made of the historical center and lovely modern villages. You must take a camera with you if you want to picture every single detail of this area.
3. Palau Nacional
I’m going to do yourself a favor and help you witness a guilty pleasure of mine. Choose a day of your stay and get up at the ass-crack of dawn (trust me, it’ll be totally worth it much later on). You just need a happy and free mind and to get safe and sound to the top of the massive water fountains which are seen far away from the Plaza Espanya stop. When you’re up there just shout, think and watch the sunrise. It is such a cool experience that you will want to do that very single day you’re in Barcelona. If you’re not too busy yourself, you will want to walk straight down to the big building in front all this paraphernalia and visit one of the most original shopping centers. Inside of a big bullring you will find great stores such as Lush and a whole floor filled with places to eat.
I remember my 15th birthday like it was yesterday. I actually got tickets (as a present from some relatives) to watch a Mozart opera inside the very own Liceu and that, my friend, doesn’t happen every day. SPLASH OUT. Treat yourself and go watch a play, visit the amazing building that is the Liceu and have dinner in a posh restaurant outside. While you're entering in the theatre it feels like you’re in a completely different place, city, country; it’s absolutely astonishing. If you’re not an opera person you can purchase an express tour ticket and if you’re willing to spend your afternoon queuing for some tickets don’t worry, there’s not need to damage your heels. Luckily, you can purchase next season tickets online and there are also plays and operas adapted so the little ones can enjoy the magic of Liceu too.
5. Nacional Library of Catalunya
It's the heart of Barcelona: 108 years of history and it still goes strong. The big and quaint entrance, wide open and vintage, welcomes every single person walking around the center of Barcelona. It contains a massively cherished historical background as well as a center of investigators, which still study Catalonia's history. This incredible building held some exclusive expositions about Saint Theresa of Jesus last summer, which were simply magnificent- voice of experience talking.
6. CaixaForum Barcelona
Ditch Picasso Museum just for once and walk 5 minutes more to get to CaixaForum. Caixa Bank, Barcelona’s very own bank, sponsors it and it surprisingly contains one of the most popular photography and modern art expositions. Depending on the date you choose you will have the opportunity to admire different creations, paintings or visual arts. Summer 2015 welcomed Three Narratives: Language and 19’ FOTOPRESS, both amazing exhibitions which try to describe the meaning of life.
7. CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona)
It’s the ultimate place! Cool urban art + lots of interesting things. Some museums are overrated and people spend ages in front of paintings that can’t beat what CCCB exhibits. Nowadays, there’s an amazing exposition, which compares the cities of Medellin and Barcelona. Stats, drawings, info, works of art and many other examples are being used to show the world how different and similar can be two cities at the very same time. It is a well-known museum but it doesn’t get visited as much as other museums and that’s why you must make the most of it. If you want to seat down and stare through a window then do it because nobody’s going to get in your way.
Don’t fool yourselves, food MUST ALWAYS be present and that’s why Viena restaurants are a "must-try". Instead of going for some McDonald’s or Burger King’s just turn to the left (La Rambla) and enjoy some high quality and healthy fast food. Tasty sandwiches, salads, breakfast menus and a wide variety of sausages to choose and add to your meals. If it’s not your thing just get in there and ask for a classic jamón serrano sandwich- oh trust me, it will blow your mind!
9. Gothic Quarter
Drawing? Painting? Writing? It doesn’t really matter. Absolutely everyone needs to experience walking through the gothic streets and sitting down on the grass. Just try to imagine greater things and challenge yourself attempting to draw any building you see, even if you are not good at it you will bring back to life something incredible. In addition, many buildings need to be visited such as Basilica of La Mercé.
Just a single name could represent this enormous city: Gaudí. What ever you decide is best to visit just do it because everything is completely worth it and you’re not going to regret spending a day looking around and learning about Antonio Gaudí and his modernism. I’m not going to lie, the Sagrada Familia is just mind blowing and even though half population visits every single day of the year it is a must see without a doubt. Funny fact is that I’ve grown up watching the Sagrada Familia be built up; well, everybody has. It’s just magical to be honest, I’ve been to Barcelona a bunch of times and yet I still find time to visit the building and identify the progress made whilst I wasn’t there. Park Güell is the photograph center of the lovely Barcelona; I can’t even count with my hands the number of pics I’ve taken there. Just be careful! You’re going to walk like a monster so you’ll want to take with you a pair of comfy trainers and a bottle of water, just to avoid sunstrokes when in summer.
Don't forget to check out Part 1 of my easy guide for travellers if you haven't!