I recently visited Barcelona for the first time, and it had been built up by friends and fellow travelers for years. Nevertheless, I was so impressed by it’s charm (especially while visiting the quaint El Born district), authenticity (from Gaudi’s signature on many of its historical buildings to the freshness of their tapas) and grandeur (hello, the beach? the large, parallel, Haussman-esk boulevards?).
Here are a few snapshots I took from my trip – and of course, a short to-do list of sights and snacks you must experience if/when you are ever in Barça.
La Pedrera (and the Gaudi museum): Most amazing and inspiring piece of architecture that I’ve ever seen. It’s so impressive to see the objects that inspired this artist’s work, and the exposition is really a peephole into his creativity. A must see, if only for the amazing view of downtown Barcelona from the rooftop.
Sagrada Familia: Get there early and buy a ticket to visit inside. Unfortunately, we never got there in time… but it’s said to be filled with colorful pastel columns, very different from the exterior.
Park Guell: Gaudi’s infamous green space comissioned for Count Guell needs no introduction, it’s simply amazing. You can actually listen to flamenco musicians on its paths, very Vicky Christina Barcelona!
DHUB: The Disseny Hub, Barcelona’s design museum, doubles as a textile museum and is really worth the visit, very visually stimulating. Try the restaurant and adjacent bookshop as well. I bought about 15 postcards with witty blurbs on them such as “F*** Design, Let’s Dance”. Well OK, not witty as much as silly but still.
Finally, here are a couple of suggestions of where to eat while in Barcelona, although you really can’t go wrong as long as you stay off the main strips, like Las Ramblas. I found the food to be very fresh and authentic.
Flash Flash tortelleria
Inopia (former), renamed Lolita – as suggested on Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle blog, GOOP.