I'm Portuguese, live in Lisbon and I'm a travel addict!
I've been traveling since I was a teenager and I've been around the World a few times already.
This is my attempt to share with you my experiences and the knowledge I've collected after more than 20 years of non-stop traveling. Hope you like it!
You can read more about me here.
Latest posts by Ana Barreto (see all)
- An Elephant Never Forgets! - April 11, 2017
- Postcards From Venice - April 6, 2017
- A Night On the Arctic Circle: Inside the Ice Hotel - March 1, 2017
Barcelona is one of those cities I keep returning to. It’s a place where you can find a hundred things to do and to love, things that make me return over and over again!
If I were to sum it up into one thing, what makes Barcelona such a great city is that it really has a bit of everything. Of course this statment could be true and applied to most cosmopolitan cities in the world but Barcelona has a few things that make it quite unique:
For once – you’ve got Antonio Gaudí and it’s insane and wonderful Modernista architecture.
Casa Batlló (Batló House) is one example of Gaudí’s genius and stunning originality. The facade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made of skulls and bones.
The “skulls” are in fact balconies and the “bones” are the supporting pillars. In addition Gaudí used colours and shapes found in marine life as an inspiration for his creativity, and in this building – the colours chosen for the facade are those found in natural coral.
Also, did you know that you can enjoy an evening at Casa Batlló’s famous “Dragon Rooftop Terrace” and relax with a complimentary glass of Cava (Spanish equivalent to champagne) and live music? You must of course reserve in advance, but I promise it’s well worth it!
Along Passeig de Gràcia you can find these marvelous benches with lampposts that follow Gaudi’s spirit. These are the work of the Art Nouveau architect Pere Falqués i Urpí and in fact they’re called benches-lamps (bancs-fanals in Catalan), as the lamp and the bench that supports it, are both part of the same artistic element.
Parc Güell is yet another extravaganza by Antonio Gaudí. The park contains amazing stone structures, stunning tiling and fascinating buildings. You can see from the picture above the Gaudí dragon fountain that is at the entrance to Güell park.
This dragon is adorned in beautiful colored tiling and there is something rather hypnotic and magical about it. It’s also a selfie magnet, as there’s always a line of people wanting to take a picture with this cute dragon!
Here you can see a walkway supported by twisting rock pillars that seem to be growing out of the ground like tree trunks. Although these are rather irregular in shape they do feel strangely natural too.
Gaudí was strongly influenced by natural shapes and used them in all of his work.
You can say that I am at the “heart” of Barcelona!😊
La Sagrada Familia
But, of course – the Gaudí’s masterpiece is La Sagrada Familia. This giant Basilica has been under construction since 1882 and it’s not expected to be completed any time soon.
Everytime I return to Barcelona there’s a new feature to see. It’s like visiting a new church every time! As a result of the stained glass windows, the interior of the Basilica is full of wonderfull colours that create a magical surrounding.
The garden in front of the Sagrada Familia is a good place to rest and take pictures of this stunning monument.
Another thing I love about Barcelona is the food – the wonderful tapas and paellas!
The colorful stalls of La Boqueria Food Market in Las Ramblas.
Inside the market there are stalls selling both food and drinks. They are most popular for lunches but are also an option for a lighter snack. With it’s colours, smells and tasty bites there’s no way you won’t fall in love with this place!
Barcelona By Bike
Did you know a great way to discover Barcelona is by bike?
The Barcelona city council launched this innovative bicycle borrowing scheme, called El Bicing in 2007 however, Barcelona’s El Bicing city bike system is mostly used by residents of Barcelona because it is intended as a public transport service for short bicycle journeys of maximum 30 minutes in duration.
For this reason it is not really suitable as a sightseeing bicycle option and so for tourists visiting Barcelona, I recommend renting bikes at the many tourist bike rental companies who rent bikes at affordable hourly rates.
If you are wondering what to pack when visiting Barcelona keep in mind that like in any big city you’ll find the fashionistas (the pijos) the hipsters (los hippys) and more urban tribes. The streets around the Passeig de Gràcia are home to high-end designers, like Valentino, Stella McCartney and Louis Vuitton.
However Barcelona also has an edgy underground scene. You will see everything on its streets – from classic suits to colorful clothes from famous local designers, such as Designal, as well as jeans and T-shirts because the majority of people like to dress comfortably but with a little bit of style.
And no matter what they wear, most Barcelonians dress in figure flattering clothes, tailored or cut to show off their best features.
If you are visiting the city in the Summer (June, July, and August) be aware that it gets really-really hot and humid! So pack light fabric and sweat-resistant clothes. T-shirts, shorts and summer dresses are all good. And don’t forget to bring a swimsuit to enjoy the beach! (Yes that’s another one of Barcelona’s wonders!)
In Fall And Winter:
During the Fall and Winter months, dressing in layers is the best strategy, as temperatures vary quite a bit by geographic area and the time of the day.
It’s usually colder at the top of Montjuïc than in the city center, and it’s much warmer in the middle of the day than first thing in the morning. Think pieces that can all be worn together when cold, but can also be mixed and matched, as well as worn individually for different temperatures and weather conditions, as well as different activities.
A good warm jacket and a scarf is also not to be forgotten in the Winter months (December, January, and February) as it can get very cold.
You are sure to do a lot of walking in Barcelona so my last tip is – make sure you pack comfortable shoes!