Guest post by Maisie Mason-Smith
With only a few days to explore the beautiful Catalonian city of Barcelona, I think it’s essential for you to do a little planning so that you can make the most of your time and not miss anything! Don’t get me wrong, there’s no need to set alarms and have a timetable, but a little research and a list really do go a long way. So, here are my top picks to give you some inspiration of how to fill your time….
1. Barcelona Bus Turistic
Now I do love a good bus tour when on a city break, and I must say this is one of the best ones I’ve been on! Barcelona Bus Turistic is an excellent way to get your bearings of the city on your first day and work out everything you want to do and see. With 3 routes which take you round all of the city’s main sights, it is well worth spending part of your first day exploring this way.
2. Sagrada Familia
Probably the most iconic landmark in Barcelona and the top of most people’s hit lists, this UNESCO world heritage site is well worth a visit. Inside the basilica you can marvel at the stunning architecture and colourful stained glass windows, and if you don’t have a fear of heights then be sure to take a trip in the lift up one of the Cathedral’s towers for some spectacular views over the city. My tip would be to visit late afternoon, around 5pm, as this is when the queues are a heck of a lot shorter!
3. Casa Batlló
Another of Antoni Gaudi’s architectural delights, this building is almost like stepping into the set of a mythical tale. With it dragon-like mosaic façade, colourful windows and impressive woodwork, Casa Batlló is well worth a visit. What’s more, the roof terrace, with its stunning views and design features, provides the perfect backdrop for some excellent holiday snaps!
4. Font Magica
After 3 trips to Barcelona, I’m still not bored of this amazing musical fountain show. A few evenings a week, the Montjuïc fountains are transformed into an array of colour and lights. Sitting on the steps in front of the MNAC museum watching this magical show is the perfect way to round off an evening!
5. Parc Guell
A stunning haven on the edge of the city, this park is design beauty and one not to be missed. You do have to book and pay for entry into the ‘Monumental Zone’ these days though, so I would recommend doing this online in advance in order to avoid disappointment! It’s definitely worth walking up to the upper boundaries of the park too for some panoramic city views and the perfect photo opportunity.
6. La Boquiera food market
It would be rude not to pay this spectacular food market a visit, especially as it’s located on Barcelona’s most famous thoroughfare – Las Ramblas. With the vast range of culinary delights on offer, it makes the perfect lunch stop too!
An excellent viewpoint to the south side of the city, this hill provides yet more panoramic views over Barcelona’s vast skyline. What’s more, there’s no need to exert too much energy in the blazing Barcelona sun as there’s a series escalators take you all the way to the top from Plaza Espanya! For the sports fans out there, Montjuic is also home to the Estadi Olimpic.
8. Barri Gotic (or Gothic Quarter)
Home to Barcelona’s less well known Catherdral, the Barri Gotic is the centre of the old town and probably my favourite area of the city. While away the time wandering down the narrow streets, discovering independent shops and boutiques, and enjoying a cerveza in one of the many hidden squares. For those with a sweet tooth, be sure to pay a visit to ‘Happy Pills’ sweet shop too, located just off the main square in front of the cathedral!
Planning your own trip to Barcelona? What’s on your to-do list? Tell us in the comments section below!