Barcelona- National Palace Museum

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, located in the southeastern corner of Spain.  It is set up on a hillside with amazing views of the Mediterranean Sea.  The city is rich in culture and has some spectacular buildings spread throughout.  This is a place that is hard not to fall in love with.

Things you MUST see/do:

Sagrada Familia – The inspiration of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi, the Sagrada Familia is a catholic church built in the gothic and art nouveau style.  This building is the most bizarre interpretation of these styles ever created (Gaudi was known to have interesting designs), visitors either love it or hate it.  Work began on the church in 1882, however, due to Gaudi’s intricate design it has still not been completed.  The Sagrada Familia is supposed to be completed in 2026.  This is an absolute must see for anyone spending time in Barcelona.  It is possible to enter at this time for a tour for a fee.

Park Guell – Another of Gaudi’s original designs, the Park Guell is a park area located on a hill just outside the city.  This site contains many beautiful stone art pieces; including the dragon fountain and a house that Gaudi lived in for some time.  The house is now a museum that contains some furniture designed by Gaudi.  Though it is a little out of town and involves a hike up a hill, it is well worth the journey.

Olympic Park – Located on the Montjuic hill near Barcelona, is the 1992 Olympic Stadium and Diving and Swimming Centres.  They are located in a beautiful location with views from areas around the stadium out to the Mediterranean Sea.  Unlike most Olympic Games, the diving events were held outdoors with great scenery behind the diving board.  Also, check out the Olympic Torch still in its original location attached to the Olympic Stadium.

National Palace Museum – A picturesque location on Montjuic with its lit up walkway and fountain (more on this later), the National Palace Museum houses the National Art Museum of Catalonia. The building itself was built in 1929 for the World Exposition.

Arc de Triomf – A smaller structure than the version in Paris, but the Arc de Triomf in Barcelona has a similar structure.  It is a red brick arc, designed to be the entryway to the 1888 Universal Exposition.

Picasso Museum – The Picasso Museum was built in 1963 to house many of Pablo Picasso’s art pieces and to give visitors a history of his life.  Although we did not get the opportunity to visit, it would be a must see for any art fans.

Christopher Columbus Monument – The Christopher Columbus Monument is a nice monument in a fantastic location.  The monument of Columbus is standing on a huge pillar pointing to the new world.  The monument is located on the waterfront at Port Vell, with its marina and aquarium.

Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) – The Barri Gotic area of Barcelona has a rich history.  Over many years it has been modernized so that it is now possible to see extremely modern buildings right next to the ancient buildings.  Make sure to see the Cathedral, done of course in the gothic style.

Travels4Couples highly recommended EXPERIENCES:

See the Sagrada Familia at night – We mentioned the beauty of the Sagrada Familia above, however, it is even more spectacular at night.  It is lit in lights all around the building, in different colours that create quite the spectacle.  We suggest go see it during the day, then go off and do something else and return again after dark.

Visit the Barcelona Zoo – The Barcelona Zoo is in Parc de la Ciutadella (which is a nice itself).  It is one of the largest in Europe and contains many interesting attractions including a dolphin show, komodo dragons, some very entertaining chimpanzees and a very rare albino gorilla.  It is a great way to relax and spend a day.

Walk down Las Ramblas – The famous Las Ramblas is one of the most well-known streets in Europe.  It is bustling with activity day and night.  We recommend walking this street more than once during a stay, as it changes slightly daily.  The best reason to see Las Ramblas is for the human statues and street performers that set up on the street median.  There are many along the entire street that decorate themselves in very elaborate costumes and will interact with people that leave money for them.  Shopping is also popular on Las Ramblas; there are many kiosks along the street that sell many souvenirs.  Make sure to barter to get the best deal!

Travels4Couples #1 ROMANTIC thing to do in Barcelona:

Watch the Magic Fountain Show – The Magic Fountain is located in front of the National Palace Museum.  Every half hour after dark (varies throughout the year); there is a wonderful light, water and music show to behold.  Get there early to get a good spot for viewing, as it can be busy.  It is the perfect opportunity to snuggle up with that someone special and watch the show.