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Barcelona, a modern city… steeped in ancient History

Sandwiched between two rivers, namely the Llobregat and the Besòs; the Mare Nostrum and the Collserola mountains, Barcelona would be hard pushed to expand. Therefore, it has been redesigned through reinventing and restoring itself, as olympic, technological, cosmopolitan, accessible and modern through its many facets, renovating districts from the top to the bottom –and from the bottom up. Barcelona has undergone so many attempts to update in the last few decades –in fact, since the Olympic Games in 1992- that a naïve observer could mistakenly think that the city was created yesterday: from the Distrito [email protected] Barcelona; the renovated (old) Borne market, where fashion, the latest gastronomic trends and the newest cultural crazes coexist; the trendy bars and restaurants of the Olympic Port; the charismatic silhouette of the Torre Agbar… to Gaudi who gives the impression of being born only yesterday, given the colourful and groundbreaking styles of his architecture and sculptures.

Barcelona born yesterday? It could seem that way, but in fact it was the Iberians who firstseated their royals in the heights of Montjuic mountain… not far from which, centuries later, some Iberian settlers became the first inhabitants of Barcelona. Then came the Romans –for them Barcelona would be the Iulia Augusta Paterna Faventio Barcino colony-; Visigoths; Arabs; and, in the year 801 the Christians, in the hands of the Carolingian conquistadors. In other words, Barcelona has always been as it is today: a melting pot of cultures… and of sensations. And thanks to this, those who come to Barcelona today are guaranteed to find it all: culture, leisure, sea, mountains, art, sports, trade, finance, technology... The best way is for travellers to discover it all for themselves, to get lost in its unique districts, to tour it from beginning to end, by day and by night, to see how the city transforms and presents itself in its different, varied and complementary guises.

Discover these guises by touring the streets of Carmel, a district situated on the slopes of one of the hills which form a backdrop to the city… like the famous Parc Güell (who would go to Barcelona and not visit it?). An infrastructure designed as the heart of the city’s residential area, which finally became the public park it is today. Travellers are recommended to lose themselves in some, or all, of its dreamlike corners: the Sala de les Cent Columnas, the Gran Plaça…

Above is Parc Güell, below is Barcelona, with the Olympic district in what was the crowded Poblenou area –today, amongst trendy restaurants and chic bars, the city’s highest buildings reach for the sky: the Hotel Arts and the Torre Mapfre- and with slight traces of what was there before, visible in the surrounding Calle Pere IV and La Rambla. It would be worth your while passing through there after taking a swim in the neighbouring beaches of Bagatell, Nova Icaria or, further south, in what was the old fishing area –now a place with rectilinear streets and buildings made from glass and steel, known as the Barceloneta. Not far from here is the Parc de la Ciutadella, also worth a visit, with its various museums (for example, the Museu d’Art Modern) and delightful walks.

For no apparent reason, the long walk brings you out at the Columbus monument, the royal docks (Drassanes Reials) and, a stone’s throw away, as they say, the Rambla de las Flores, the Gothic district (with unique attractions such as the beautiful cathedral of Santa María del Mar and the Picasso museum)… fancy discovering more? Then Barcelona awaits you.

What to see or do in and around Barcelona

  • Barcelona (Barcelona)

    City Weekend Break

    We decided to not book transfers from the airport for our arrival, as we had heard there were some good public transport options. The rail/ metro stop is a 7 minute walk from the terminal, and we paid €4.80 each for a ticket for a 45 minute journey. We had to make one change but it was a case of getting off one train, staying on the same platform and getting on the next train. The hotel was great, easy to find and our room was ready early so we were able to drop our bags etc.Amongst other things, we went to the Sangrada Familia, £50 ish for 2 to enter. It’s an impressive building from the outside, and the stain glass windows are pretty great inside, however I wouldn’t pay to go inside again.We also went to the La Boqueria food market. We zigzagged through to make sure we didn’t miss anything, and it is full of amazing smells and colours. Don’t eat before going here as you will regret it! There are plenty of things to choose from, from snacks to sit down meals at a heightened bar.Finally we wanted to get a good view of the city too, so we headed to the Bunkers de Carmel (again by bus, €2.40 each, each way). This was a great spot with an amazing view, very chilled and a lot less tourists.An overall great mix of city, culture, beach and great food.

  • Barcelona (Barcelona)

    Great city by the beach.

    Great city with beautiful buildings and locations to see. A lot of attractions and places to visit. The big minus is that almost all places get closed at 21:00, with mid-day breaks, so it leaves you less time to visit them.

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