Thursday, July 19, 2012

What to do in Barcelona in 2 days

Barcelona keeps its vocation as the great metropolis of the Mediterranean from its founding 2,000 years ago. With a privileged location in the Iberian Peninsula is Spain's second largest city. Barcelona is the best urban tourist destination in the world by The Daily Telegraph, it's considered a favorite City break for the British Travel Awards and the British favorite destination for city breaks, according to British Airways. Barcelona is the only city in the world with nine World Heritage buildings: La Pedrera, Park Guell, Palacio Guell, Palacio de la Música Catalana, Hospital de la Santa Cruz and San Pablo, Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo, Casa Vicens and Crypt of Colonia Güell.

Paseo de Gracia
Modernist buildings like the Casa Batlló (Paseo de Gracia, 43;; 9:00-20:00, 18.15€; night visit Jun-Sep Wed-Sun 21:00-00:30, 25€) or Casa Mila, better known as La Pedrera (Paseo de Gracia, 92, Nov-Feb 9:00-8:30, Mar-Oct 9:00-20:00, 15€).

Sagrada Familia
The great unfinished work of genius Antonio Gaudi. The project dates back to 1881, although the building is still in works a century later. When completed, it will have 18 towers: 12 dedicated to the apostles, 4 to evangelists, one, to Jesus and the other to Virgin Mary. It is the most photographed monument in the city. A must, though not the most visited monument in Spain as the tourist office in Barcelona says (the most visited is the Alhambra in Granada). c/ Mallorca, 401. Oct-Mar 9:00-18:00, Apr-Sep 9:00-20:00, 13€.

Gothic Quarter
The Cathedral of Barcelona ( is in the Plaza Nova, where you can admire this wonderful gothic building. It began to be built in 1298 during the reign of King James II of Aragon. At that time the chapel of St. Lucia, in late Romanesque style, already existed. Construction was slow and gradual: the crypt dedicated to Saint Eulalia and the choir are from late 14 century while the façade remained unfinished until the early 20 century.
A curiosity: In the cloister there is a fountain where the day of Corpus Christi an egg dances, according to the tradition in Barcelona of "l'ou com balla", and there is also a pond with thirteen white geese, always thirteen, as these are the years that Santa Eulalia had when she was martyred.

Basilica of Santa Maria del Mar
One of the finest examples of Gothic architecture because of the harmony of its proportions. It was built in shot time: it started in 1329 and was completely finished in 1384. (Paseo del Born, 1. Free entrance. Mon-Sat 9:30-13:30 & 16:30-20:00, Sun 10:00-13:30 & 16:30-20:00).

La Rambla
Is the best place to see Barcelona, a bustling and colorful avenue that begins by the sea, in the viewpoint of Colon, and comes to the Plaza Catalunya. A walk on the Rambla is the quintessence of Barcelona, the quiosks of flowers accompanied by newsstands and books, opened 24 hours. In the Columbus Monument at the end of the Rambla, a lift reaches the shoes of the discoverer of America. The fresh air of the sea accompanied by the magnificent 360º views make it a mythical viewpoint of the city. (Pl. Portal de la Pau, s/n, 8:30-20:30, 4€)

Boquería Market
In the middle of La Rambla, officially called the Market of San Jose, is a historic market that offers an extravaganza of everyday life. (La Rambla, 89;, Mon-Sat: 8:00 to 20:30)

Park Güell
Designed as an urbanization for the Barcelona bourgeoisie of the early 20 century, it ended up being a huge park full of paths and trails with different entrances and two buildings crowned by a dome and covered by a mosaic made of polychrome irregular pieces. (Olot, 7. Dec-Feb 10:00-18:00, Mar-Nov 10:00-19:00, Apr 10:00-20:00, May-Sep 10:00-21:00. Free entrance).

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