Places of interest in Barcelona
We present a selection of places of interest you cannot miss. In this section you will find the main areas of the city presented by themes or by districts. The proposals are varied, some more cultural and others more concerned with leisure.
Gaudi is the city’s most international and emblematic architect. His must-see work astounds everyone who sees it.
Gaudi’s works in Barcelona:
Pavilions of the Finca Guell (1884-1887)
Col·legi de les Teresianes (1888-1889)
Casa Calvet (1898-1899)
Casa Bellesguard (1900-1909)
Park Guell (1900-1914)
Casa Batllo (1904-1906)
Casa Mila, “La Pedrera” (1906-1912)
Church of la Sagrada Familia (1883-1926)
Palau Guell (1886-1889)
Art Nouveau in Barcelona – The "Eixample d'Or”
The Eixample district of Barcelona, an extension of the city planned by Ildefons Cerda and which started in 1860, is one of the most unique urban spaces in a worldwide context. The personality of Barcelona has its roots, to a considerable extent, in the unique lay-out of this district.
This legacy is concentrated in a relatively small sector, arranged around the central axis of Paseo de Gracia. This privileged area of the Eixample, the Quadrat d'Or (golden square), is bound by the streets of Aribau and Paseo de Sant Joan, the Rondas and the Diagonal.
The consolidation of the Quadrat d'Or as a centre of the Barcelona bourgeoisie, which took place during the last decade of the 19th century and the first decade of the 20th century, coincided with the diffusion of the Art Nouveau movement. An attentive walk around the area gives you the opportunity to admire the immense quantity of architectural wealth, fruit of the movement of bourgeois residence from the old city toward the central Eixample, around 1900.
Here the remains of the ancient Roman city can be found together with the mediaeval buildings, witnesses of a splendid past. Barcelona was the city where Catalan counts and monarchs reigned for five hundred years.
The historic centre is the Plaza del Rei, on whose edge is the Palau Reial Major. Near the square, the Museum of History of the City can be found. Other places of interest in the Gothic Quarter are the area around the Cathedral, with the Romanesque church of Santa Llucia.
The cobbled streets in this area offer a varied catalogue of history and art. The Plaza de Sant Jaume is located in the centre of the district. On opposite sides of the square, facing each other, are the Casa de la Ciutat or City Council building and the Palau de la Generalitat. Antique dealers, bookshops, restaurants and very original shops maintain the complementary activity and interest of this historical district.
Port, Barceloneta and Olympic Village
Barcelona is now a city that has opened up to the sea. The port has become one of the favourite stopping places for luxury cruisers. At the Port Vell (old port) an area reserved for fishing is still conserved, with the Torre del Rellotge watchtower, which gives its name to the pier, and the small fish market. The old mediaeval shipyards, the Drassanes Reials, bear witness to the splendour of Catalan maritime trade and sailing during the Middle Ages, and currently house the Maritime Museum.
From the Columbus Monument, you can take a stroll along the Port Vell, the oldest area of the Port of Barcelona. From the top of the Columbus Monument viewpoint, you can see all of Barcelona and the Port Vell, with the new leisure area comprising the Maremagnum, the Imax cinema and the Aquarium. The city can also be seen from the sea with the “golondrinas”, small tourist boats that do trips along the port and the city’s seafront.
The Barceloneta, the traditional sailing and fishing district, famous for its fish and seafood restaurants, leads to the Olympic Village district, the former residence of the athletes during the Olympic Games. The Port Olimpic, with more than forty bars and restaurants, has become the new leisure area, together with more than 4 km of beaches, offering the chance to practice all kind of water sports.
The mountain of Montjuic underwent urban development on the occasion of the International Exhibition in 1929 and the current trade fair centres and sports facilities were built. The mountain has become a leading cultural centre with facilities such as the Museum of Archaeology, The Ethnological Museum the Fundacion Joan Miro, the Fundacion Fran Daurel and the Fundacion CaixaForum, in the former Casaramona factory.
Montjuic is also the home of the Parc de les Arts Esceniques (Park of the Performing Arts), with the Ciutat del Teatre, the Teatre Grec and the Barcelona Teatre Musical. At the different parts of the trade fair area, a large number of events, congresses, trade fairs and shows are held each year.
Near these facilities is the Poble Espanyol, also built for the 1929 Exhibition. It offers a representation of the architecture and crafts of all corners of Spain. The most emblematic image of Montjuic is the night-time view from Plaza de Espanya, with avenida Reina Maria Cristina, the Font Magica and the Palau Nacional all illuminated. The Olympic Ring, heart of the competition during the Games of the 25th Olympiad, is now one of the most visited places.
The Tibidabo is the prominent point of the Collserola mountain range, an extensive area of forest and metropolitan parkland, five hundred metres above sea level. From the summit, an excellent panoramic view of the city can be enjoyed.
The Church, the Amusement Park and the Telecommunications Tower, with a height of 268 metres, stand out silhouetted over the city. The Amusement Park, which has been in operation since 1900, combines attractions as traditional and symbolic as the Atalaya (the Watchtower), which dates from 1921, or the Museu d'Automates (Automata Museum), with the most modern installations.
The legendary transport to reach the Tibidabo is the Tramvia Blau (blue tram), a genuine Barcelona trademark, which will leave us at the foot of the funicular railway, from where we will commence the last section of the journey to the summit, the plaza del Tibidabo
Diagonal and Pedralbes
In this area, tradition and modernity live together in perfect harmony. Some innovative buildings such as the Trade Towers stand out among the modern office, house and hotel buildings. It has important shopping centres, with elegant boutiques and large department stores. On both sides of the Diagonal, the entrance and exit point of the city, we find the University zone.
More information at barcelonaturisme.com