Something for Everyone in Barcelona

Travel & LeisureTravel Spot

  • Author Mathieu Quintart
  • Published February 4, 2012
  • Word count 779

As a result of household commitments, frantic work schedules or a tight budget it's nearly impossible at times for people to break away from daily routines, to be able to realize plans for a family holiday they are turning to short city breaks as an affordable and more popular way to travel the world.

In Europe you have the diversity of coastal France, bustling Italy, and romantic Greece, to the eastern beauties of Czechoslovakia and Romania, whilst the Catalan capital of Barcelona has an intriguingly diverse view unlike any other Spanish city.

If you do find yourself on vacation in Barcelona then there are some sights you simply cannot ignore. The Montjuic Mountain for one is a naturally wooded area and also home to the Joan Miro museum and a cemetery containing the graves of the rich and celebrated of Barcelona. The streets around the city were once the tracks for the F1 racing circuit which hosted the Spanish Grand Prix, and you can always take pleasure discovering the collections of the Botanical Gardens.

Primarily endorsed by Catalan publisher Joseph Bocabella, who wanted to achieve Catholic Church triumphs via the protection of St. Joseph, the building of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral was a larger-than-life task that ultimately landed in Gaudi's hands when he was 31. Barcelona has been truly blessed with his wonderful designs, and indeed, he is one of the main reasons the city draws so many sightseers.

You're obliged to visit the Gaudi masterpiece, Park Guell, which commenced around 1900 when Eusebi Guell commissioned him to construct a garden city for the cream of Barcelona society. A committed student and lover of nature he created a unique design that avoids any straight lines and only has curved corners, twisted iron effigies and strong shapes. There are some great examples in the park that he used in the elements of his greatest design, the Sagrada Familia, such as the centenary arches, coned shaped roofs and tree-inspired pillars, and the same can also be seen in Casa Museu Gaudi, his abode for most of the last twenty years of his life. Access to the top of the park is via a steep climb but worth it for the wonderful views of the park and city below.

An installation that even Gaudi himself would admire if he were to see it is the illustrious Frank O. Gehry sculpture, The Golden Fish. Appearing to mark the beginning of the area where the two tall famous landmarks stand, the Fish is admired the world over, as is the artist for his modern outlook as an architect who creates contrasting open spaces, materials and forms to produce dazzling, vibrant art.

Around the city itself are several places that you can take a hike and be in awe of the views, such as Montserrat which is outstanding for its eye-catching rocky outlines and natural beauty, or the Montjuic hill best known for hosting the 1992 Olympics.

Bars in Barcelona start to fill up from 2am onwards and there are lots of late bars that remain open just as late, although not officially bars they're great places for chilling or partying, depending on what you feel like at that time. There is a mass of live music jam sessions, jazz, rock, flamenco shows and clubs to choose from especially in the Las Ramblas area but don't anticipate crowds until 2 or 3am. Maremagnum is a waterfront shopping mall with hundreds of shops and bars to explore, busy day and night you'll find the whole lot here from techno clubs to Salsa, and it's quite easy to party here till the wee hours as some of the clubs stay open till 6am.

Bear in mind that during bank holidays, Christmas, New Year and summer vacations the city is at its busiest and will be pricier than if you choose a weekend break at another time of the year. It is possible to get a last minute bargain at a really cheap price, however if you want to have everything organized then it's best to reserve ahead.

Some people surmise you need at least a month in order to discover all the city's masterpieces for yourself, however long it takes the city will keep you very busy and with the warm weather and beach nearby it is the ideal short break destination. In the central band there are plenty of apartments you can call home during your stay and they can be rented with discounts on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can also have friends back for a meal made in your very own apartment kitchen if you like, or gossip in the spacious living room and loosen up.

Mathieu Quintart writes for Cocoon Barcelona aboutflats Barcelona and budget apartments Barcelona.

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