The last stop in our Spain trip was the second largest city in the country, Barcelona. Making most of the three days we had in hand to explore this city of amazing architectural wonders, it was truly a great learning experience for us. Dedicating a full day to explore the masterpieces of Antoni Gaudi, we then went on to spend rest of our stay admiring the city’s other major attractions and of course shopping at regular intervals.Barcelona city with its rich history and unique artistic masterpieces has so much to offer to all its visitors that they would definitely find themselves promising another trip to this dynamic city.
As we were staying at the Urbany Hostels, which was located at the Gran Via, we decided to start our trip with the famous Las Ramblas Street. The 1.2km long pedestrianized street from the Catalunya Square up to the Portal de la Pau known for its lively atmosphere is a complete picture of Barcelona’s free spirited life.
The Catalunya Square can be considered as the city’s central part surrounded shopping centres like El Corte Ingles and El Triangle Centre and large fountains adorning the square.
As we started towards the Las Ramblas first thing we noticed was the Canaletes Fountain. According to the local legend by drinking water from this fountain you are destined to visit Barcelona again so do not forget to try your luck by having a sip at this fountain (we definitely did :-)).
Flower stalls, Live statues, souvenir shops are the main highlight of the street along with some authentic tapas restaurants and bars. Walking along the crowded street we came across the Bethlehem church, originally a Monastery of Jesuit, is one of the oldest buildings in Las Rambla. The church is a Baroque structure with a very grand interior and is a perfect place to stop by and relax after wandering through the busy street outside.
Spending few peaceful moments in the church, we then started towards the Boqueria Market to grab some food. Also known as the Mercat de Sant Joseph de la Boqueria is one of the oldest markets in the city and an excellent way to learn the daily life of the Catalans. The colorful candies, fresh fruits and vegetables and the local tapas are an overload to the senses and we were just spellbound looking at the food not knowing what exactly to try.
Not far from the market was the Virreiana Palace, an 18th century baroque structure, which is considered as Historic–Artistic Monument of National Interest since 1941. The palace housed display of the giant statues called “Gegantes I Capgrossos” which is one of the main highlight in the city parade during La Mercè Festival.
As we walked towards the Barcelona Port we came across the Liceu Opera House and Theatre that is considered as the one of the best opera houses in the world. Also, close to this is the Royal Square, which is surrounded by palm trees and ancient buildings along with street lamps that were designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi.
The last stop on our walking tour of the Las Ramblas was visit to the Monument of Columbus at Portal de la Pou. Built in honour of the great explorer, Christopher Columbus in 1888 is 87 metres high and a statue of the Columbus on top pointing towards the New World. We took the lift within the tower to reach the gallery, where we caught the amazing view of the entire city. Entry to the monument costs 4.5 Euro per person.
At the Barcelona port we caught a ride in the Las Golondrinas harbor tour just with the intention of enjoying the view of the city from the sea. The 40 minute cruise boat (that costs 7.20 Euros) doesn’t have much to offer, but after walking through the busy street of Las Ramblas this was the best way to relax and take in the fresh sea breeze.
Since we had purchased the Barcelona tourist card, the entry to Colombus monument and the Golondrina ride was free of cost :-).
However do remember to take care of your belongings while walking in the Las Ramblas, as warned by the locals there are lots of pickpockets in this part of the city.