Visiting Gaudi architectures in Barcelona

The architect Antonio Gaudi (1852-1926) didnt create Barcelona. The city is over 2,000 years old and the famed artist was active around the end of the 19th century. But much that is worthy in this Spanish city is the result of his efforts. Just a list of the works he created that are still extant here would fill pages. To describe them would take volumes.

Unquestionably the most well known of his buildings in Barcelona is the Sagrada Familia, otherwise known as the Temple of the Holy Family. The structure almost defies description. Part neo-Gothic, part neo-Baroque it is sui generis. A series of spires topping a church begun in 1883, it is still under construction.

The Park Guell on nearby Montjuic, completed in 1914, is one of the architects civil engineering projects. It is a 20-hectare expanse filled with lush greenery and art objects that visitors to Central Park in New York would envy. Whether its the outstanding lizard sculpture or the famed enormous wavy bench, or just a touch of mosaic tile here and there, the distinctive Gaudi look is clearly evident.

Park Guell

Park Guell

Another structure almost as well known and as often visited is the Casa Milà, or La Pedrera (The Stone Quarry). Originally designed as a private home, it quickly evolved into a set of individual apartments. The organic, undulating balconies give the facade its unique look from the street, but the organic Gaudi elements are everywhere in and on the structure. From the ice-cream cone-shaped chimneys to the seaweed-style wrought iron to the hushed, glowing attic, the building is Gaudi throughout.

Several other structures of the man regarded as the Father of Spanish Art Nouveau demonstrate his worthiness to that title.

Casa Batllo, erected in 1907, is one of the many Gaudi buildings on the UNESCO World Heritage list of worthy treasures that prove the point. As in the Casa Milà, the architects unusual style is readily visible. The balconies that almost resemble sections of skull around the eye sockets combine with a colorful mosaic-like facade that seems to be melting. The curved chimney complex set in front of an orange clamshell roofline is yet more proof of his unique style.

Gaudi employed organic shapes everywhere, but always adapted them to his own purposes, just as the better known Frank Lloyd Wright always did. That is clear in the Colonia Guell chapel. The unique arches bear the stamp of this unusual artist. Festooned with organic carvings, the arches themselves are sharp angled, yet blend seamlessly into a main structure that appears almost cavelike.

In a city full of outstanding architecture, Gaudis work continues to be frequently visited by locals and tourists alike. A single glance at any of his buildings makes it easy to see why.

Barcelona weekend trips

Barcelona weekend trips

 

A week-end – or why  not a week   in Barcelona will bring you in contact with some of the worlds most amazing architecture. Barcelona was the place where Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí created his own very special variety of Art Nouveau.

His fantastic cathedral Sagrada Familia, the Holy Family, looks like a mixture of gothic style, something out of a fairy-tale and an over-decorated wedding cake. No wonder it never got finished and work is still going on today (building started 1882)  – but it is now officially consectrated as a place of worship by the pope. The Casa Milà, an apartment building where the balconies seem to sway and undulate and the façade gives a soft and liquid impression is another of his buildings – you might not want to live in it, but looking at it is something you will never forget.

old port district in Barcelona

old port district in Barcelona

Top it off with the Parc Güell where you can sit on the finest of Art Nouveau benches, inlaid with shimmering tile and glass mosaics, and you will have got a grip of Gaudí’s world of magic.

Barcelona is of course much more than Gaudí. It has a long and varied history starting off with a Roman fort. Later it was part of the Moorish domain of Al-Andalus, but was conquered by the Christians and developed into a trade metropolis in the 12th century. Still later Barcelona was relegated to the sidelines in various centralized more or less “Spanish”  state constructions – something that led to an ongoing struggle to preserve the uniquely Catanlonian cultural heritage and language. Today the official languages are both Catalàn and Spanish, which you will see on street signs and official notices.

The trade boom in the middle ages led to a building boom as well, the results of which can be seen in all the gothic buildings in the romantic old town center, Ciudad Vella or Barrì Gòtic. Take a walk through its narrow streets and admire the medieval buildings: the basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, the City Hall, the Palace of Governement and the hospital are all left over from this time.

The place to stop for a drink and tapas is the picturesque square Placa Rejal in the heart of the Old Town. Tapas is the large variety of appetizing small dishes that originally served as a fore-runner to the meal proper, but is nowadays a whole dinner in itself. Remember, this is a city of the night – you eat at ten o’clock in the evening and if you have the stamina you go on to night-clubs afterwards, to stumble home worn out at dawn. That of course prevents you from extensive shopping on Las Ramblas the next day – and walking along this street that cuts through the medieval town and goes on to the brink of the Mediterranean is a must. Chic boutiques and not so chic shops filled with tourist mementoes and cheap ornaments jostle for place with trendy cafés.

Not to be outdone by medieval times, Barcelona is in the grips of a new building boom today, set in motion by the summer Olympics of 1992. Take a visit to the future and go to Parc del Forum.

Extraordinary glass and concrete buildings and   well, not a beach, since there is not a grain of sand, but a place to swim in the sea and sunbathe on a large paved expanse. It’s near the centre, easily accessible by the undergrounds yellow line (stop: El Maresme Fórum). There, you can also see a huge solar panel located at the Forum Esplanade. It is the largest urban solar structure in Europe, with a surface of 10.500 m2. The electricity produced achieves an annual reduction in emissions equivalent to 440 tons of CO2. Impressive!

And while the future is on our minds, remember this is a city where the transport of the future is available to all – get a bike card and you can pick up your public bike at a number of stations, go wherever you want and return it at another station…

Museu Picasso

It makes no difference whether you are interested in the arts or not. It is doubtful if there are more than a handful of persons in this world who have not heard of Pablo Picasso, the famous twentieth century Spanish artist. The Museu Picasso is a museum, dedicated to this legendary artist. It boasts of more than 4,000 works of the Spanish virtuoso. This museum is undoubtedly one of the most cherished and also one of the most visited of tourist locales in Barcelona.

Barcelona, Museu Picasso

Barcelona, Museu Picasso

Those who are interested in further details about the Museu Picasso can enhance their knowledge with the fact that this museum is housed in five medieval palaces.

According to history, Picasso Museum Barcelona owes its origins to Jaume Sabartes, a dedicated friend of Picasso. The legendary painter had gifted lots of his paintings, prints, and drawings to Jaume. Most of those collections are now found in the museum whose site was chosen by the legendary artist.

This museum first opened its door to the public in the year 1963. At that time it boasted of 574 collections passed on by Jaume along with those from the works that Picasso had gifted to Barcelona City.

Later on, Picasso chipped in by donating approximately 1,000 pieces of art. The Museu Picasso is a must visit for lovers of art.

Ciutat Vella

Whenever we travel to any city, we generally want to check out its history and its traditions. If you are of the same mould, your trip to Barcelona shall remain incomplete without viewing the Ciutat Vella. Literally meaning the `old city,’ the Ciutat Vella is the oldest district of Barcelona city. What makes it viewing even more important is the fact that the locals treat it as the centre of their city.

Ciutat Vella (foto Axelv)

Ciutat Vella (foto Axelv)

While visiting this place, do not miss out on viewing the Placa Catalunya, a large square in the centre of the city, which is the junction for some of the most important avenues and streets of the city, including Carrer de Vergera, La Rambla, Ronda de Sant Pere, etc.

This square is a must visit when you travel to Barcelona. It is famous for its statues and fountains. Another important value of the Ciutat Vella is that being the heart of the city, it provides a central point from where tourists can access the other popular tourist attractions of the city.

In fact, this landmark is situated extremely close to some of the top tourist attractions of the city. The Ciutat Vella is perhaps the best spot to begin your tour of the city.

Parc Guell

Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Parc Guell is yet another of architect Antonio Gaudis great gifts to the city of Barcelona. Built between 1900-1914, this 20-hectare park sits on the hills to the north of Barcelonas main areas. It provides a peaceful oasis of lush greenery and outstanding architectural elements.

Park Guell

Park Guell

On the northern edge of town, visitors have a spectacular vista to see much of Barcelona arrayed below. The terraced gardens provide an excellent combination of the natural and artificial. Seating available shows another example of the colorful mosaic tile that Gaudi loved to incorporate in his design for the park.

Stop at the small cafe on the outer edge before entering and have a cool drink. Barcelona can get very hot and many of the hills are steep. For visitors needing a little more sustenance, there are several small restaurants to choose from. Note the outstanding dragon-themed fountain as you enter. Take a moment to enjoy the multi-colored tile adorning it. Then stroll down the flower-festooned walkways dotted with many mosaic tiles that show Gaudis distinctive influence.

But there are just as many interesting sights further inside the park itself. Theres a museum dedicated to Gaudis art, filled with photos and other items both instructive and decorative. Once the architects house, it contains furniture designed by Gaudi himself.

Outside once again, alongside the lush shrubbery reside many worthy sights, including sculpture, columns, restaurants and museums. Even the benches are works of art. There is one enormous, curved example that is famed throughout the city, the Paseo de Palmas.

Further on are still more examples of wondrous sights. The Hall of the Hundred Columns (Sala de las Cien Columnas) is an array of classical supports. But what they support is drawn from later styles, such as the romantic-era balcony, which is covered in mosaic tiles of a more modern design.

Nearby theres a walkway supported by twisted rock pillars, introducing yet another style. Irregular and organic in appearance, they demonstrate another facet of the organic eclecticism Gaudi embraced.

There are a number of entrances to the park and visitors will want to choose accordingly. Taking the metro to the Lesseps stop, brings one to the base. That leads to a steep climb up the hill on which the park rests. Challenging, but great exercise in Barcelonas fine air. Taking the metro to the stop at Vallcarca brings the traveler via outdoor escalators to the top of the park, allowing for an easy walk down the hill.

Admission to the park is free and most buildings open at 10 a.m.

Barcelona Five-star hotels

When youre in Barcelona, why settle for anything less than the best? Start your vacation with a classy and extravagant bang by staying at the five-star hotels in Barcelona. Very few hotels in the world can rival the opulence and exquisite service offered in these hotels. The city itself is renowned for fine living and gastronomic treats. It is, thus, no wonder that a stay in any of the five-star hotels in Barcelona will truly be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for weary travelers.

Luxury hotel bed room

Hotel Arts Barcelona

Hotel Arts Barcelona is one such hotel. Arguably the most popular among five-star hotels in Barcelona, Hotel Arts offers breathtaking views of the marina and port area. The view can be seen regardless of your accommodations. You could book a suite, double room, or a luxurious duplex apartment and be equally treated to a magnificent feast for the eyes.

Hotel Arts of Barcelona is owned by the Ritz Carlton Group. It is situated in the marina area of Port Olimpico. If you are looking for style, charm, and an idyllic beach location, then the Hotel Arts is the perfect place for you. The staff are polite and friendly, and they will pamper you like royalty.

Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel

My personal favorite among the five-star hotels in Barcelona is the Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel. As its name suggests, this hotel is in Barcelonas marina area. It sits very close to the area where cruise ships dock. Like the Hotel Arts, the Grand Marina Hotel Barcelona offers astounding view of the marina area. It also gives guests first class accommodation and ready access to the heart of the city.

Le Meridien

If ready access to the city is what matters the most to you, then you cannot get a better option than Le Meridien. The hotel is on the famous Ramblas, the center of Barcelonas hustle and bustle. Like other five-star hotels, it boasts of an amazing view of the Ramblas. Unfortunately, the hotels greatest draw also proves to be its greatest problem. Because most of the rooms in La Meridien overlook the Ramblas, guests can expect a little street noise. If you think you would not mind this, then book yourself into the Le Meridien. A basic double room can cost you between 330 and 360 Euros.

Claris Hotel Barcelona

The Claris Hotel Barcelona has an interesting geometric shape. Like La Meridien, the Claris Hotel is not far from where the action is. It sits at the intersection of two busy roads, and while this makes the hotel accessible to almost any vehicle, guests can expect to be subjected to a little road noise.

The Palace Hotel Barcelona

The Palace Hotel is not much different from the Claris and La Meridien, although it certainly is more pricey. For a double room at the Palace Hotel, expect to pay 380 to 550 Euros a night. The Palace Hotel is located in the modern part of town. It sits close to numerous cafes, bars, and shops. It is also surrounded by many historical buildings and is not far from the citys best shopping area.

Hotel Melia Barcelona

This hotels location is not as accessible as the others and is, thus, not as conducive for sightseeing compared to other five-star hotels in Barcelona. However, it is only a ten-minute walk away from the nearest metro stop, and from this starting point, one can go anywhere in the city. What sets this hotel apart, aside from the distance? Locals and guests claim Hotel Melia serves the best breakfast in town!

A stay in any of the five-star hotels in Barcelona will make your vacation truly memorable. Ultimately, however, it is not just your preference for luxury that you have to consider but the health of your pockets.

Barcelona for families

Barcelona, with its wealth of family-friendly attractions and fascinating cultural institutions, is the perfect place for a family vacation. The city boasts everything from beautiful beaches to world-class museums to a wide array of historic landmarks. No matter where you go in Barcelona with your family, you’re sure to find something fun and exciting to do. With so many great sites and family-friendly activities, Barcelona always makes for a memorable family vacation.

Cheap Barcelona hotels are available throughout the city, especially the Casa Con Estilo Hotel. Casa Con Estilo offers affordable rooms, beautiful city views and a wealth of amenities such as balcony views, televisions, free WI-FI and much more. The hotel is set in a quiet, charming neighbourhood and boasts a courteous and professional staff. Its prime location makes exploring nearby attractions like La Rambla and the Museum of Natural History very easy and convenient.

Barcelona is packed with family-friendly attractions, many of which are free. Here are just a few of them.

Ciutat Vella 

Ciutat Vella is Barcelona’s oldest and most historic district. The neighbourhood is filled with beautiful buildings, great shops and world-class restaurants to explore. Just a stroll down its streets is a history lesson in and of itself. Overall, Ciutat Vella is a great place for families to learn about Barcelona’s history and rich culture. Barri Gotic plays host to some of Europe’s finest medieval architecture to explore as well.

Ciutat Vella
Ciutat Vella

La Rambla 

This seaside pedestrian walkway is the perfect place for families to take a leisurely stroll and take in the city’s beautiful sights. It is also a great place to grab a bite to eat or do some shopping. La Rambla is renowned for its breath taking views of the city’s beaches and the Mediterranean Sea, making it the best spot in the city for a photo opportunity.

La Rambla
La Rambla

Sagrada Familia 

This architectural masterpiece is an international icon of Barcelona. The cathedral serves as a minor basilica in the Roman Catholic Church and is noted for its unique architecture and opulent interior. A must-see for families, it is one of the world’s most distinct and iconic cathedrals.

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia

Barcelona Cathedral 

This towering Gothic cathedral is another architectural gem and a fascinating place to learn about local heritage and culture. Constructed primarily during the 14th century, the cathedral is renowned for its towering Gothic spires and breath taking interior design. As with Sagrada Familia, the Barcelona Cathedral is a magnificent example of Barcelona architecture and a fascinating place to visit on a family vacation.

Barcelona Cathedral
Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Zoo 

This long time family favourite is one of the city’s top attractions. Founded in 1892, the Barcelona Zoo is home to a wealth of unique animals from all across the world, such as gorillas, dolphins and monkeys. This is a place where both young and older children would be very excited to explore.

Botanic Gardens

Archaeology Museum of Barcelona

This fascinating museum holds a plethora of artefacts from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. Of particular interest for families with a love of history and culture, this museum is not to be missed.

Archaeology museum
Archaeology museum

Montjüic Park 

The largest park in Barcelona, Montjüic Park Park offers breath taking views of the city as well as a great place to relax and have a picnic. It is surrounded by attractions like the city’s botanical gardens and a number of interesting museums.

With its blend of history, culture and fun attractions, Barcelona is the perfect place for a family vacation. Be sure to visit it for a truly memorable and interesting trip.

This post was brought to you by HostelBookers.com the travel budget specialists who with over 20,000 Hotels and Hostels can help make your trip one to remember.

Photos By: wallygrom,  mmarftrejo, Paula Funnell ,  Janex & Alba ,  Son of Groucho ,  sincretic

El Raval

Welcome to yet another district of Barcelona city, which was, till some years back, infamous for its crime and prostitution which mingled along with its nightlife and cabaret shows. Those who have visited this district of Barcelona city during those days will be amazed by the changes that have taken place in the recent past. In fact, it is now one of the rated tourist attractions of the city.

El Raval Barcelona (foto Bicloch)

El Raval Barcelona (foto Bicloch)

This locality is also famous for its immigrant population with a majority of them hailing from countries as diverse as Pakistan, Indonesia, and Romania. The crime might have abated and the prostitution rings might be outdated, but the cabarets and nightlife remains. This along with its numerous bars and restaurants make it one of the favorite tourist locales in the city.

Apart from the things mentioned previously, this locality of the city is also extremely close to the port. Tourists who visit El Raval will also love to see some of its famous monuments like the Monastery of Saint Pau del Camp.

The Modern Art Museum of Barcelona is also located in this neighborhood. Do not miss the southern part section of this locality where you can find an old gate and wall… existing parts of the medieval city called Portal de Santa Madrona.

The gate and the wall are a part of the Maritime Museum. Do not miss out on the huge cat statue by the famous sculptor Fernando Botero. El Raval also hosts La Boqueria, the most famous market of the city.

Barcelona by night

Judging by the incessant traffic and lively crowds at night and in the early morning hours in some areas of Barcelona, it might be said that the city never sleeps.

Port Vell and Port Olímpic are two of the favorite spots for night-time amusement. The district of La Ribera, around Paseo del Born, boasts numerous late night haunts and nightclubs with live music. The central area of the Eixample, the district of Gràcia, the uptown part of Diagonal and nearby Tibidabo are other possible alternatives. Such is the popularity of the night that some museums even schedule enticing late evening activities. Imagine a summer concert on the terrace of Gaudí’s La Pedrera, followed by a chilled glass of “cava” beneath a starstudded sky.

Barcelona by night

Barcelona by night

Barcelona vacation guide

Barcelona is an ancient city, born of the Roman Empire. But like many great cities around the world, it flowered in the late Middle Ages and blossomed in the mid-19th century. Yet there are many exciting elements of the modern period there, as well. These periods are all evident in this northeastern Spanish city on the Mediterranean Sea coast.

Visitors can find a remnant of old Roman architecture here and there, in the form of part of an aqueduct in the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) and some of the streets. But unlike Rome itself, most of the older buildings are from the time that give this area its name. The medieval years saw many of Barcelonas famed churches born, including the world famous La Seu.

The late 19th-early 20th century is alive and well in this artistic city, too, thanks to Antonio Gaudi and his patrons. Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia are two notable examples, but there are many others. The Casa Milà is still another. Even the lampposts outside the Pla de Palau show the distinctive touch of this unique artist.

Barcelona port

Barcelona port

But Gaudi has hardly been alone in forming the great buildings and monuments of Barcelona. The Arc de Triomf, built for the 1888 Universal Exhibition, is an outstanding example. Though not to well known as the Parisian structure of that name, it is no less a thing of beauty. The many sights of Cituadella Park, Montjuic, and other areas of the city provide still more samples of the great things to see here.

The whole range of art throughout these centuries is on display at MNAC (Museu Nacional dArt de Catalunya). Here, visitors can find examples of objects from the Romanesque period (early 11th century) and continuing through the turn of the century, works drawn from all over Catalonia.

The modern era has hardly been neglected in Barcelona, either.
The Poble Espanyol, like many other famed structures in the city, was built for the 1929 International Exhibition. This collection of over 100 buildings was drawn from every style in Spain. Apart from seeing the whole range of Spanish residential architecture in a single location, visitors can shop, dine and dance to their hearts content.

Park Guell

Park Guell

For those after a fine combination of food and civic art a tourist could do no better than a visit to La Boqueria, the Mercat de Sant Josep, or St. Josephs Market. Housed in a stellar 19th century structure, dozens of produce stalls offering every kind of native fruit and vegetable greet wanderers. Then when its time for a rest, shoppers can sample one of the several superb tapas bars, such as Pinotxo.

Once refreshed, head out to the Barcelona Zoo or the Aquarium at Port Vell or to the top of Montjuic for an unforgettable view of the entire city of Barcelona. For, no matter where they go in this world-class city, visitors will be presented with some of the finest things to see and do anywhere in Europe.