Barcelona is cosmopolitan and open city internationally famous as a top class tourist destination. It offers its visitors a large variety of attractions, among which its architectural heritage, museums, cultural activity and excellent gastronomy stand out above the rest. However, you can’t forget its urban beaches, streets, squares and shops.
It’s a city that has been developed and changed over a thousand years which means there are plenty of buildings and monuments of many different periods and styled to admire.
Cerdà is largely responsible for one of the most surprising districts of the city: The Eixample, a chess board-like grid system of streets that houses some of the most interesting buildings of Barcelona.
Also, newer, but by no means less interesting, is the Olympic Barcelona, with the Olympic stadium, the Calatrava Tower or Port Olímpic. A good way to enjoy the city’s skyline is to go up Montjuïc or Tibidabo, the two mountains that embrace the city…
Passeig de Gracia
Passeig de Gracia brings together the most glamorous in the city. In this cosmopolitan avenue you will find both spectacular modernist buildings and famous Brands such as Armani, Cartier, Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Hermés, Loewe o Louis Vuitton. Shopping centres like Bulevard Rosa which is opposite our apartments and many other smaller establishments that are equally interesting.
But apart from the big shopping centres and fashion boutiques, Barcelona has many shops with a long history that not only offer excellent products but also are testimony to other times and show us a close look at the daily life of the city’s inhabitants. Although here is nothing better for this that a visit to the Boquería, although there are many others that are also interesting.
The Gothic Quarter is the real heart of Barcelona, core of the medieval city which, until the middle of the19th century, was surrounded by walls. Once we cross the labyrinth of old streets we arrive at the Cathedral, the origin of which goes back to the 13th century.
Close by, in Plaza del Rey we can visit Gothic buildings such as the Palau Reial Major, Saló del Tinell, Capella de Santa Ágata and Palau del Lloctinent. In the plaza we can also find the Barcelona City History Museum.
In Plaza Sant Jaume we can find the Town Hall and Palau de la Generalitat, seat of the Autonomous Government of Catalunya. In the Gothic Quarter we also find the Call, the old Jewish district in Medieval times.
In Plaza del Pi and along Calle Petritxol, the most historic shops exhibit all their charm, without forgetting streets such as Ferran, Portaferrissa and, in particular, Portal de l’Àngel, exponent of the city’s commercial vitality that links the historic centre to Plaza Catalunya.
If there were just one street that most effectively defined Barcelona’s personality, it would be, without doubt, Las Ramblas. Although it’s only one avenue it has different names over its length: Rambla de Santa Mònica, de los Caputxins, de Sant Josep, de los Estudis y de Canaletes, and every section has a different character.
Originally it was an open space between the walls which surrounded the old city and its different convents and churches within. Its birth as we know it today was at the end of the XVII Century. The names of the different sections are based on theses temples.
On Las Ramblas we find some buildings that date back to the original street: el Palau de la Virreina, el Palau Moja or la Casa March de Reus. Others are more recent like the Liceo.
Barcelona’s Las Ramblas also includes some streets and squares with special meaning, like Carrer Ferran, which leads to Plaça Sant Jaume; la Plaça Reial, ideal for sitting down for a beer, or the Boquería market, one of the most popular places for visitors because its variety of produce and its modernist architecture.
But the most interesting part of Las Ramblas is the people, who amble between its flower stalls, human statues, newsagent’s and bars, they are the soul of Las Ramblas, a soul that now Spears dozens of languages.