Barcelona! Barthelona!

In Europe by LA Travel Magazine

After a recent trip to the artistic city of Barcelona or should I say Barthelona, the Spaniards have me lisping everything I say and wishing I was still there sipping on some fine rioja. Whether this is your first trip to Spain or one of many visiting the second largest city, Barcelona is a must. Its geographical location once made it an important city for commerce and today is one of the largest touristic hubs for cruise ships. Visiting Barcelona via cruise ship could be looked at as a crime because to spend only a few minuscule hours here will leave you simply crying for more!  Come indulge in the mystical enchantment of Barcelona!  Follow our footsteps taken throughout this city to learn how to truly live life like a Spaniard.

Although Barcelona is situated right on the coast, one does not come here for the beaches; the main attractions here are the cuisine, art, people and culture.  Being so close to the sea there are a plethora of opportunities to enjoy world class dining; with fresh seafood delivered daily to numerous fine dining establishments, Barcelona will meet all of your culinary desires.

When you are vacationing in the area it is absolutely required that you enjoy the breathtaking Mediterranean weather.  Sit outdoors; let the wind blow through your hair and the sun kiss your skin, truly let yourself be free. We did just that, sat outside and indulged in some fine local Spanish fare. The service and food was as expected at a five star dining restaurant.  After one too many bites of paella we headed back downtown taking a stroll down the central, pedestrianized boulevard of La Ramblas.  Lined with trees and full of street vendors, stores and markets one could spend all day here. For the true local experience, spend some time talking to the people, taste some local treats, listen and feel the music, smell the flowers; this is Barcelona at its best.

This city has always had a taste for the sublime and the surreal—inspiring such artists as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso, and architect Antoni Gaudí, whose work still endows the area with an enchantment straight out of what seems like a mystical fairy-tale.

If you have the chance make sure to visit the northern part of city where you will find many of famous architect Antoni Gaudí homes, whose facades he designed.

Take a tour to view and study Gaudi’s works in Barcelona, it is an expedient way to gain some knowledge and see the highlights in a short amount of time.

If you are in the mood for top-notch shopping Avinguda Diagonal or The Portal de l’Àngel, just off Placa de Catalunya, is lined with an endless array of shops selling the most exclusive brands of clothing and accessories.

They say to “save the best for last” so we dedicated our entire third day to visiting la Sagrada Familía basicilia and Park Güell.  La Sagrada Familía was Gaudí’s masterpiece – 132 years in the making and still unfinished.

Hit the streets early to beat the crowds at La Sagrada Família because most end up wasting away the day just waiting to get in. This is the type of building whose sheer size will impress you as it stands clear surpassing all the other buildings it is surrounded by. The buildings façade is famous for its stonework that is carved with representations of the Nativity on one side and the Passion on the other. It is a story being told and will unfold before your eyes!

We spent the later morning at Park Güell a garden complex with architectural elements situated on the hill of El Carmel in the Gràcia district of Barcelona also designed by Gaudi. Don’t leave without taking a rest on the world’s longest bench. Its ergonomic design truly helps your back and is extremely comfortable!

If you are only in the city for a few hours as part of a cruise ship stop…good luck being able to experience and view all that Barcelona has to offer. Not even my three days were enough. We truly felt that our short but action packed stay was perfect as it was. To drink, eat and be merry! That is what Spaniards do best!