We are going back to Barcelona for our forth visit this Fall, but with a slightly different twist because this time we will have a family member traveling with us who has never been there before. So, we will be balancing returning to our “must-see” favorites that we want to show our new visitor with trying out some new things.
We think that the old classics will be even more fun to see again this time because we will have the excitement of viewing them through the new eyes of our companion.
Many of these sites are within walking distance of each other, so are planning a bit of a walking tour. By starting by the bay at the Christopher Columbus Monument, which stands on the spot where it is said that Columbus returned to Spain after his first voyage to the New World, it is easy to walk toward the city center on La Rambla.
The Main Street of Barcelona
We have come to think of this as the Main Street of Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. The shady, tree lined pedestrian boulevard leads from the waterfront to Plaça de Catalunya, with several great things to stop and see along the way.
We love to stop off at the Plaça de George Orwell to soak in the surroundings, and it is a great place to enjoy a quick bite and refreshing drink away from the hustle and bustle of the boulevard.
But we also like to wade into the crowd for a visit to the Boqueria. It is Barcelona’s main market and dates back to 1217, when an open-air meat market sprang up near the city gate. These days it is the city’s main market and a fantastic place to find almost anything from fish, meats and cheeses, to bread, fruits and vegetables, and even flowers.
La Rambla is also where the Teatre Poliorama is located. Built inside the Real Academia de Ciencias y Artes in1899, this is one of the theaters where Gran Gala Flamenco performs. The other theater is the nearby Palau de la Música Catalana, which has a more classic opera style.
Finding the Best Flamenco
For us, seeing Gran Gala Flamenco at either theater will be a new experience that we simply can’t miss. We are eager to have an introduction to the different styles while enjoying the best flamenco show in Barcelona.
And even more so because we are planning to see the show at Palau de la Música Catalana, which includes a tour of the theater and a behind he scenes peek at rehearsal, along with tapas and a drink, with the ticket to the show.
Barcelona has deep roots in flamenco and is considered to be where the unique strumming style for the guitar was originated.
The Center of the City
But flamenco is not the only show in town. La Rambla is well known as one of the premier places to watch street performers anywhere in the world. Many perform as human statues, remaining perfectly still until the clang of a coin dropping into their tip jar brings them suddenly to life. It can be quite surprising!
The number of entertainers seems to grow as you get closer to end of the road at at Plaça de Catalunya. This plaza is considered to be the city center and the dividing line between the old Gothic Quarter and the new city. And even with all of this to see and do along La Rambla, the entire walk is less than a mile.
About another mile to the north and east of the plaza is what we like to call “the most incredible building we have ever seen,” Sagrada Família. This imposing cathedral is undoubtedly the pinnacle of architect and designer Antoni Gaudí’s exceptional career.
While there are numerous examples of Gaudí’s work throughout Barcelona, this is the masterpiece. It has been several years since we last saw it, and as we said, our new companion has never had the pleasure, so this will be an exhilarating experience for all of us.
We understand that the work has advanced significantly since our last visit and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to see the progress that has been made.
A perfect example of going back to Barcelona and seeing things for the first time.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com