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Barcelona: Top 10 Attractions

Barcelona: Top 10 Attractions - Barcelona, Spain

by SARAH SILBERT


Barcelona is a city of art, architecture and non-stop activity, where tourists can find themselves overwhelmed with museums, shopping, and endless nightlife. Here are 10 of our top Barcelona picks, from Gaudi to the Barri Gotic.

1. La Sagrada Familia

Perhaps the most famous of Antonio Gaudi's buildings in Barcelona-and a postcard image favorite, La Sagrada Familia cathedral is perpetually under construction. Tall yellow cranes don't distract from the church's beauty, though: Its four tall spires are one of the highlights of the Barcelona skyline.

To get the most out of your visit to this must-see site, climb the winding spiral staircase. It offers some wonderful views! Admission to the cathedral costs €12.50 (€10.50 for students, seniors and kids under 18), but is well worth it. If you don’t want to huff it up the stairs, there is a lift available for €2.50.


2. La Rambla

La Rambla (sometimes referred to as Las Ramblas) is the city's main thoroughfare, where stalls, shops, street performers and bustling restaurants converge.

Though the area is often considered a tourist trap, and is notorious for pickpockets, La Rambla is also home to Barcelona's Christopher Columbus monument and the Mercat de la Boqueria, where you'll find fruits and vegetables in the summer months. Directly north of La Rambla is Plaça Catalunya Square, a great place for shopping and home to one of Barcelona's mega department stores, El Corte Ingles.


3. Parc Güell

Parc Guell is another must-see stop along the Gaudi tour of Barcelona. The park, which spans some 42 acres, is best known for its colorful, mosaic decorations that grace everything from a large dragon to a winding terrace seating area that looks out at the city of Barcelona.

Entrance to Parc Guell is free. Take the Green Line (L3) Metro to the "Lesseps" stop and follow signs to the park.


4. Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso is one of Spain's most celebrated artists, having contributed boundless flair to the world of art,. It's only natural then that a Picasso Museum is located in Barcelona, where he lived in his formative years. Appropriately, you'll find many of his early works here, though a study of Velázquez's Las Meninas draws crowds as well.

The Picasso Museum is open from Tuesdays to Sundays 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are €10 for the museum and temporary exhibits or €6 for temporary exhibition only (€6 and €3 for seniors and those under 25). Entrance is free on the first Sunday of every month. Take the Metro to "Jaume."


5. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

Another top Barcelona museum pick, the Catalan capital's National Museum of Art is impressive both for its grand setting and its vast collection of paintings from Goya and Velázquez as well as earlier masters.

The MNAC holds exhibitions of more contemporary Spanish artists, as well. Tickets are €8.50 and valid for two days. Admission if free on the first Sunday of each month.


6. Port Vell

Lest you forget, Barcelona is a beach city, and Port Vell is the hub of activity on the water. The Rambla de Mar, a wooden bridge, connects La Rambla with Port Vell's Maremagnum, a sprawling collection of bars, restaurants, shops and cinemas. Port Vell is also famous for its IMAX theater and aquarium.


7. Barri Gotic

Barri Gotic is Barcelona's Gothic Quarter, a neighborhood near La Rambla and the Plaça de Catalunya. We love the Barri Gotic for its funky architecture and charming cobblestoned streets. This is one of the city's most historic quarters, comprised of Town Hall, Cathedral and ancient Roman walls.

What's more, hotel rates in this neighborhood can be significantly lower than accommodations directly on La Rambla.


8. Montjuic Castle

Montjuic Castle has overlooked the city of Barcelona since 1640. The imposing building, situated high atop a hill, served as a political prison under Franco during the Spanish Civil War; today it houses a military museum.

The castle is worth visiting for its panoramic views of the city and the Barcelona port. Tourists can access Montjuic Castle by metro, bus or cable car. Admission is free.


9. Poble Espanol

Poble Espanol is a model Spanish village, constructed in 1929 in the style of traditional Spanish architecture. Think less Gaudi and more Spanish Gothic: The 116-building attraction maintains an authentic air of the past.

The Poble Espanol, in addition to a museum, houses restaurants, craft shops and even hosts flamenco shows.


10. Barcelona Cathedral

King Jaume II commissioned Barcelona's main cathedral, located in the Barri Gotic, in 1298. The cathedral, also known as the La Seu, is considered to be one of Spain's most impressive feats of architecture. Inside, you'll find an intricately decorated high altar, a crypt containing the tomb of the cathedral's patron Santa Eulalia and high, vaulted ceilings.

The cathedral is also renowned for its pleasant garden, beneath a gorgeous, 14th-century cloister. Admission to the cathedral is free; roof access is €2.50.

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