Where to Get the Most Bang for Your Buck: Barcelona
Europe’s third most visited city, after London and Paris, Barcelona lures tourists with its unique and historic architecture, medieval pedestrian old town, and delicious food like paella (savory rice and meat/seafood), jamón (cured ham), and tapas (appetizers).
While travel to Europe can be expensive, these six must-see attractions in Barcelona are either free or very reasonable.
1. Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter, also known as Barri Gòtic, is Barcelona’s oldest and most lively part of town. It’s a labyrinth of narrow alleys and plazas with a rich history dating to Roman and medieval times. In the center of the old town stands the Gothic Catedral de la Seu which predates the more famous La Sagrada Família by six centuries. To get a panoramic view of the gargoyle-clad exterior and flying buttresses, head to the rooftop of one of the surrounding buildings. The Gothic Quarter is filled with cafés, boutiques, and museums. Although it’s a relatively small, walkable area, it’s very easy to get turned around and lost in the alleys.
2. Las Ramblas
The mile-long Las Ramblas is one of the city’s main pedestrian walkways. The tree-lined thoroughfare is right in the middle of the city, so chances are you’ll end up on the lively boulevard at some point. Souvenir stalls, flower sellers, bistros, theatres and museums line the alley. Unfortunately, it’s known to be a haven for pickpockets, so leave your valuables in your hotel.
3. La Sagrada Família
This massive Roman Catholic Church is said to be renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s most recognized work, and the iconic symbol of Barcelona. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the basilica was started in 1882 but never completed. In a continuous state of construction, the tentative completion date of 2026 would be the centennial of Gaudí's death.
It doesn’t cost anything to walk around and photograph the striking exterior architecture.
The design plans show a total of eighteen unusually shaped spires representing, in ascending order of height, the Twelve Apostles, the Virgin Mary, the four Evangelists and Jesus Christ which, upon completion, will make La Sagrada Família the tallest church in the world.
Prices to tour the breathtaking interior of stained glass and geometric ceiling design begins at $12 and up, depending on age and procurement type, plus a very long waiting line.
4. Park Güell
If you’re looking for whimsy, this is the place. Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece park is one of the most photographed spots in the city. Gaudi took over an unfinished housing project and turned it into a colorful explosion of building, sculptures, and undulating walls, covered with brightly colored mosaics. He incorporated the natural elements of the 42 acres instead of tearing them down. Some of the buildings look like they are straight out of a Dr. Seuss book, while others look like iced gingerbread cake. Entrance is around $8.50, and the park can get crowded, so an early morning arrival would be less restrictive.
5. La Boqueria Market
La Boqueria is foodie heaven. Since 1840 it’s been one of Europe's largest and most famous food markets, but dates back as far as the 13th century when vendors sold meat on the streets. It’s a cacophony of color and noise, but lots of fun, offering an incredible array of things to eat, from stalls selling street food, fresh fruit, and enticing candy, to restaurants and bars within the market.
6. La Barceloneta Beach
While most tourists seek out Barcelona for the famous architecture, rich history, and delicious tapas, the city rests on the banks of the Mediterranean Sea. The clear blue water and sandy beach make Barceloneta Beach not only popular in the summer for swimming, but an energetic vendor-filled spot for strolling and people-watching in the winter.
All content provided in this blog is supplied by Patti Morrow and is for informational purposes only. Barclays takes no position as to the views, and makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information contained in the blog or found by following any link within this blog.