Palau Nacional is one of the most spectacular buildings in Plaça Espanya and was built for the 1929 Universal Exposition, as were a lot of buildings in Montjuïc. The brainchild of architects Eugenio Cendoya and Enric Catà, the aim was to build a monumental, grandiose structure but the duo managed to surpass expectations. The Palace was restored by Italian architect Gae Aulenti and now houses the Museu Nacional de Arte de Catalunya (MNAC).
An unfinished religious icon that is steeped in profound cultural value and features an incomparable aesthetic, the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is an astounding marvel. Gaudí began working on this utterly surreal temple, now a renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, in 1882. Originally intended to be a modest, neo-Gothic church, the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia has since become arguably the most iconic building in all of Barcelona. Gaudí broke away from the reigning neo-Gothic style in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, imbuing his architecture with symbolic meaning and pioneering the Catalan Modernism movement. Intricate details like palm-tree pillars whose bases take the shapes of turtles, eye-catching colors, Baroque-style influences, and materials ranging from mosaic tiles to an array of stones converge to create an absolute masterpiece.
Gaudi's masterpiece, the Casa Batlló is one of the most unique residential buildings ever constructed in the Modernista style. Its facade bedecked with a rainbow of colored tiles gives way to the entrance hall that evokes an underwater sojourn complete with wave-like walls, turtle-shaped skylights, and a staircase that resembles the spine of a mythical creature. The upper level Noble Floor features windows that open out onto Passeig de Gràcia and are flooded with natural light and the connected outdoor patio is a kaleidoscope of hues wrought in glass and tile. From the terrace, it's easy to understand why the house is called casa del drac locally, as the roof tiles resemble Sant Jordi's dragon. A marvelous expression of both creativity and architectural acumen, the Casa Batlló stands as a testament to Gaudi's psychedelic genius.
Antoni Gaudí, the architect who built this jewel of Catalan modernism, wanted the facade to reflect his romantic and anti-classical ideas about design. It was built for the Milà family between 1906 and 1910. Neither the family nor the public were much impressed, and it was dubbed La Pedrera (stone quarry) as an insult. Only later in 1984 did it win great acclaim when the UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. Now internationally celebrated, Casa Milà is a prime example of Gaudí's civil architecture; it is aesthetically interesting and unique as well as outstandingly practical. Call +34 90 220 2138 for more details.
An impressive sight and the crowning glory of the football community in Spain, Camp Nou is one of the largest stadiums in Europe. Home ground of the beloved FC Barcelona, known simply as Barça to locals, this spectacular stadium was constructed in 1957 on a separate piece of land when the expansion of the Camp de Les Corts stadium was deemed impossible due to lack of space. The stadium is sometimes referred to as the 'house that Kubala built', in reference to the great Slovak-Hungarian goal scorer who played for Barça through the 1950s. Kubala was so popular with spectators that the stadium was even unable to accommodate the extraordinary masses that flocked to watch him play on more than one occasion. Camp Nou can accommodate more than a whopping 99,000 spectators at a time, and is profoundly iconic for its vibrant bleachers, painted in the club's royal blue and red colors.
An eye-catching fixture of downtown Barcelona, the Palau de la Música Catalana boasts a striking modernist design. It was built in the early-20th century by architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, who designed the now-iconic exterior to feature intricate carvings, red brick arches, and exquisite Spanish and Arabic architectural details. Inside, the concert hall is even more breathtaking with its gold accents, floral patterns, and exceptional stained-glass elements. Visitors to the Palau de la Música Catalana will be awed by the kaleidoscopic skylight whether they take in a show or simply tour this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the past, the Palau de la Música Catalana has hosted such quality performers as Ella Fitzgerald, Paco de Lucía, Woody Allen, Ángel Corella, and Duke Ellington.
A landmark district in Barcelona, the Portal de l'Àngel is always filled with people looking for a bargain inside one of the cool boutiques. Located in the Ciutat Vella (old city), the Portal de l'Àngel has a wide variety of stores and it is the second most popular area to shop in the city. The district extends from the Plaça Catalunya and runs along the Avinguda Diagonal all the way to the Barri Gòtic.
The works by national and international painters from the last two centuries are displayed in Galeria Manuel Mayoral. Some of these painters include prestigious artists such as Graner, Brull, Baixeras, Rusiñol, Casas, Grau-Sala, Pruna and Opisso. Works by modern artists like Wifredo Lan, Fernando Botero, Celso Legar, Hans Hartung, Luis Freih, Antoni Clavé and Miquel Barceló are have also been exhibited here. A must-visit for connoisseurs wanting to browse through some timeless pieces of art.
Art enthusiasts shouldn't miss a trip to this beautiful modern art museum in the Eixample neighborhood. Featuring a carefully-curated collection of Modernista art, the focus here is on local artists and the indigenous Art Noveau style that developed in Catalonia from 42 of the genres most representative artists. These include such names as Antoni Gaudí, Joaquim Mir and Gaspar Homar. Expressed in a variety of different mediums, the works of these artists were diverse as they subverted traditional notions of art. From sculpture, furniture, painting and decorative arts, each discipline is well represented. The museum itself is a living work of art, designed by architect Eric Sagnier, it has been restored and renovated to house the museum. Fans of Anton Gaudi should make it a point to visit the top floor; there is an entire room dedicated to his work.
Ibiza's Contemporary Art Museum (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, or MAC, for short), can be found in one of the historic buildings that is part of the city walls - the arms room in the San Juan bastion, above the main gate of the city walls, la Puerta de Taules. The museum came into being as a result of the biennial international art show that took place for the first time in 1963. Nowadays, the museum organizes several exhibitions throughout the year, including collections of works by local contemporary artists, as well as exhibitions organized by other entities. The museum continues to organize the biennial international art exhibition, which includes works from all over the world. The works owned by the museum include pieces by Barry Flanagan, Hans Hinterreiter, Erwin Broner and Will Faber.
Designed by Richard Meier, the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art is housed in an aptly modern building with a glass facade and striking white color. It combines elements of contemporary American architecture with the Mediterranean rationalist tradition. The museum opened to the public in 1995, showing a permanent collection of work produced over the last 50 years and donated by the city's other artistic institutions. Visitors will also find regular temporary exhibitions featuring Spanish and international artists, as well as lectures, seminars, and audiovisual competitions on offer. If you like art, culture, and all things modern, swing by the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art.