Like most large cities Barcelona also has many attractions and sights. The city has a good selection of museums, historic buildings, cultural institutions, concert halls, parks and squares. There is also a vibrant nightlife, great shopping and sandy beaches just a few minutes walk from the centre.
The Basilica Sagrada Familia
The architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926) has certainly left his mark on Barcelona with seven of Gaudí’s pieces of work on the UNESCO world heritage list and throughout the city there are buildings designed by him. The most famous of his edifices – the Basilica Sagrada Familia – was begun in 1883 and is still not finished but is scheduled for completion in 2026. Sagrada Familia means ”holy family”, i.e. Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus. Gaudí planned the church with twelve 100 meter tall bell towers, this to symbolise the apostles. Currently eight of them are finished. The Sagrada Familia is located in Calle Mallorca.
The Columbus monument
This is one of the best known monuments in Barcelona. It lies in the south end of La Rambla, in front of the main harbor. It was created in 1888 by the sculptor Rafael Atche and was erected in connection with the World Exposition in 1888 in honour of Christopher Columbus. The entire monument measures 60 meters in height, where the statue of Christopher Columbus stands atop an iron pillar and inside this pillar is a lift where visitors may be brought to the top and from there enjoy a fantastic view over the city.
In the northern part of the city, on a hill in EL Carmel, lies Parc Güell. This park has architectural elements to it with sculptures and decorations, largely made of colourful mosaics. The park was designed by the renowned modernist architect Gaudí, and was built between the year 1900 and 1914. This is listed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List and is a major tourist attraction. For 20 years of his life Gaudí lived in one of the two houses within the park. By the main entrance lies the fountain ”Font del Drac”, with its famous porcelain eagle.
The Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum in Barcelona was opened in 1963 and lies within five connecting palaces dating from the middle ages , in the Gothic part of the city called Barri Gòtic. The Picasso Museum boasts one of the biggest collections from this Spanish artist, more than 3500 works.
Pablo Picasso came to Barcelona in 1894 and the museum focuses on his relationship to the city. Many of his works were donated to the museum by Picasso himself in 1970, three years before he died. From time to time the museum arranges special exhibitions, seminars and lectures related to Picasso.
The Miró museum
Joan Miró (1893-1983) was, next to Picasso and Salvador Dalí, Spain’s most famous artist in the 1900’s. Barcelona was his home town and in 1975 a museum which he had himself initiated, was named after him; Fundació Joan Miró. This is not only a museum with pieces made by Miró but also with other contemporary art, and is located on the hill Montjuïk, southeast of the city. Nearby we find the rest of the Catalonia National Art Museum in an imposing building from 1751.
El Poble Espanyol
There are several attractions on Montjuïc. The open air museum El Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village) can certainly be recommended as a sight for the whole family. It was built for the World Exhibition in 1929 and is as attempt at reconstructing an typical Spanish village. It functions as an architectural museum and an activity centre all in one. Here are many workshops for arts and crafts and also workshops for children, and has otherwise a varied selection of shops, restaurants etc. It should be added that this village is car free.
In Barri Gòtic”, the Gothic part of town, lies Barcelona’s cathedral, which is often called ”La Seu”. This Gothic catherdral is the seat of the archbishop. ”La Seu”was erected between 1298 and 1420 with a neo-Gothic façade which stems from the 1800’s. The cathedral is dedicated to St. Creu and St. Eulalia, with the latter being the city’s patron saint and who is buried in the crypt. The cathedral is 93 meters long and 40 meters wide.
Aquárium de Barcelona
At Port Vell in the port area lies Europe’s largest aquarium, Aquarium de Barcelona. More than 11,000 fish swim around here in a total of 35 individual tanks, which together holds 6 million liters of seawater. Among the approximately 450 different species, also 11 sharks live here. These and various species of deep-water fish native to the Mediterranean can be studied at close range when visiting the 80 meter long ”underwater ” tunnel, which is built specially for this purpose.