B A R C E L O N A
It seems like it was yesterday, but it’s been actually three years since I moved to this city, with two suitcases full of clothes and shoes, a few dollars in my savings account, longings for adventure and a lot of that kind of healthy fear that makes you go and seek for wonder. I can tell you, with all words believed and tattooed in my heart, that I love Barcelona. Because of that, and in celebration of my third anniversary, I wanted to create a special post talking about my favorite places.
However, I realise it would be extremely deluded from me to believe I can include every aspect of the city in one post and within it tell about its pleasures, architecture, its sunny days, noise, history and everything you cannot see or smell in photos. For that reason, and taking a bit of advantage of you as my readers, I’ll not create a post but a series in which I’ll tell you all I encounter myself with, from the busiest streets, the most reposted areas, the most beautiful corners and those places no one knows about. Because Barcelona might be small, but its wonders are uncountable.
S A G R A D A F A M Í L I A
Of course, I couldn’t start somewhere else in the map. One of the most visited places in Europe and the busiest by tourists in Spain, the Sagrada Família is not only an architecture gem and a catalan pride by Antoni Gaudí, but it’s also a monument so big it’s hard to take a complete photo of it without the right photography equipment. Once it’s completed on 2026 after almost 150 years of construction and design modifications, it will be the tallest cathedral in Europe. You’ll excuse us, then, that we couldn’t take a proper shot of it as we’d had like it.
I felt like starting from here because this is also the neighbourhood I live on and, while it’s true the summer brings a lot of tourist who block the metro entrances and is a personal nightmare, this area of the Eixample is the ideal balance between movement and tranquility. My recommendation is to walk from Sagrada Família all the way up via Avinguda Gaudí, eat a gelato in a terrace and take the sun (in summer, you can hide from it under the dense and beautiful London plane trees). If you experience real hunger, one of my favorite mexican restaurants is right next to it, La Tortería.
P L A Ç A C A T A L U N Y A
For myself and many people, this is the center of Barcelona. To the northwest of the plaza you can find Passeig de Gràcia, Las Rambla to the southeast, to the northeast the Eixample with some of the most beautiful buildings you’ll encounter in Europe, and to the south the old town of the city. It is the most frequent meeting point within locals (and tourists) for many reasons, within them: the eternal sunlight in summer, the free WIFI from Apple Store and the connectivity to trains and the metro. For me, it’s one of my favorites because it gathers my daily life: the office I work on, the transportation, the quick shopping, my language school and some of my favorite restaurants, such as Flax & Kale y Teresa Carles.
Don’t be afraid of the amount of people or the size of the pigeons (they actually behave rather good), it’s a pretty cosy area to chill by thanks to its dimensions. Besides, if you take the bus from the airport, Plaça Catalunya will be the destination and the first place of Barcelona you’ll step on your feet.
C A R R E R D E L B I S B E
On the opposed side, there’s Carrer del Bisbe. A small street (but highly transited) which hides the architectonic treasure probably most posted on Instagram after the Sagrada Família. To reach it isn’t as easy either, if you deide to take left on the Cathedral of Barcelona, you’re lost already. Here’s how I recommend you to reach it: take the metro to Plaça Catalunya, do some window shopping on Avingunda del Portal de l’Àngel, walk to the Cathedral and look at its front (and take a photo, too), walk to the right side and don’t turn right again, continue a straight path. Passing a few drinking fountains and within a sea of people, turn your head up and enjoy the view accompanied of classical music (probably). It’s small, ephemeral, a sigh in comparison of the whole city, but nevertheless, so charming.
And while you’re there, visit the Cathedral, drink water from the fountains for good luck, take a coffee at Satan’s Coffee Corner and walk towards Plaça Sant Jaume, which is another of my favorite places but we’ll have to leave it for second part.
Finally, and as a tip for before/during your visit, don’t call it Barça. While it’s similar to Barcelona, the first one is the soccer team and the second is the city. If you wanna look for a short name, Barna is the right one. Well, are you ready to book your trip?
To be continued…