Visiting Barcelona, with limited time? There is so much to see in this fascinating city, which would normally take at least a week, but it is also possible to see the major highlights in just a couple of days.
I would highly recommend the following unique attractions:
The Gaudí masterpieces:
Temple de la Sagrada Familia- or Temple of the Sacred Family - Gaudí's famous unfinished masterpiece and a must-see in Barcelona. A fascinating combination of the original architects' vision (Martorell and De Villar), combined with the magic of Antoni Gaudí. Unfortunately Gaudí passed away before the work was complete but construction still continues on this amazing building and your entry fee helps towards this. This will probably be the first time you pay to visit a building site!
Casa Milà (La Pedrera) - in the L'Eixample neighbourhood - Antoni Gaudí was commissioned by the industrialist, Pere Milà, to construct a building on the boundary of Barcelona and Gràcia, as both a family residence and also to be leased as separate dwellings. Owing to the way its facade appears to be carved out of rock, the Casa Milà was nicknamed "La Pedrera", which means stone quarry. Amazing interior architecture, as well as the famous and fascinating chimneys on the rooftop.
Casa Battló also in the L'Eixample neighbourhood – is a fairytale building. Originally Gaudí was commissioned to demolish the building, and build from scratch, but he convinced the owner to let him completely redesign the existing building. This was in the days when the Paseo de Gracia was undergoing a "keep up with the Jones'" battle – with everyone trying to outdo each other with their architecture. Gaudí did an incredible job using tiles and scales on the exterior of the building, unique and beautiful interior design, plus again with the famous chimneys on the roof top.
Parque Güell (Güell Park) - ideal for a restful stroll after your busy days in Barcelona. Originally planned to be a residential area, it is now a beautiful park with many wonderful Gaudí creations in tile work and stone. The views over Barcelona to the sea are simply beautiful.
Other areas worth visiting are the following:
The very famous Las Ramblas - a busy street between the Plaza de Cataluña and the port with many restaurants, cafes, bars, kiosks and the famous Human Statues of Barcelona. Bear in mind, if you wish to photograph the human statues, pay first! I personally went through quite a few Euro coins in the process, but it was well worth it.
Poble Español de Montjuic (the Spanish Village) - situated at the foot of Mount Montjuic. Created in 1929 on the occasion of the Barcelona International Exhibition, the Spanish Village is the only initiative of its kind which has survived the test of time. A collection of streets and squares, monuments and buildings, representing the different peoples and cultures of Spain. Some might call it kitsch, but it is an attractive and interesting place to visit, full of shops selling the handicrafts of the various regions. There are restaurants and cafes to enjoy a break and also an art gallery, Fundacio Fran Daurel. Above the entrance to the Poble Español is a terrace cafe with incredible views (but alas, bad service and incredibly high prices!), however, the views were worth it! If you are on a budget, there are many other places to enjoy a reasonably priced meal and drinks.
The Cathedral - a Gothic creation of great beauty – with one of the most beautiful Gothic cloisters in existence, is a definite must for your touring of Barcelona.
The Palau de la Musica Catalana - a beautiful concert hall designed in the Catalan modernisme style by the architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. Photographers, bear in mind that unfortunately you are not allowed to take photos (so take a very small compact with you! LOL).
The Port, Barceloneta and the beaches – see all the great tourist liners, the ferries to Ibiza and the Balearic Islands, and also a range of lovely yachts in Port Vell. Endless sandy beaches will satisfy your sun bathing wishes!
Barcelona has many more attractions, too numerous to list here - so if you are only spending a couple of days in this city, plan ahead for a longer trip to Barcelona in the future - you will not regret it.
See more photos on Spanish Life, or more information on All Barcelona Accommodation.