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.
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.
Built in 1990, the National Art Museum of Catalonia offers the best collection of Romanesque murals in the world, including some real gems from the Pyrenean region. Other pieces housed in the collection demonstrate diversity through such mediums as carving, sculpture, wood paintings, and glazed objects. Also found in the museum are uniques works like intricate altarpieces and gold and silver ornaments. You'll enjoy a selection of Gothic period paintings by 14th- and 15th-century Catalan School artists alongside those of their counterparts from across Spain and Europe. Art lovers will enjoy a healthy dose of local art at the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
Teatre Grec with the semi-circular structure reminds you of typical Greek theaters. Large number of people can be accommodated and the perfect acoustics ensure that the sound quality is excellent. Built in 1929, it was planned and structured by architect Ramon Reventós. Mostly connoisseurs of performing arts gather here to enjoy various festivals. Festival Grec de Barcelona that celebrates the rich Spanish culture is held at this theater.
Barcelona's Tourist Office organizes excellent 90-minute walking tours through the old town (Ciutat Vella) led by an official guide. The tours take you on a trip through history as you retrace the steps of one of the world's most iconic painters, Pablo Picasso. The English-language tour starts at 10 am and the Spanish/Catalan tour at noon from the main office in Plaça Catalunya. You will start your tour at the Portal de l'Àngel followed by a visit to the Plaça Nova, Casa de l'Ardiaca, the cloister of the cathedral, Plaça del Rei, Llibreteria, Plaça Sant Jaume (including the Casa de la Ciutat (Ajuntament)), Sant Honorat, Plaça Sant Felip Neri and end up back at the cathedral. View the city through the eyes of Picasso and experience it in a new light on this well-organized tour of Barcelona.
The Barcelona City Hall is built on the site of the old Teatre Barcelona, which was destroyed. It has one auditorium and puts on musicals and concerts at varying times. It also opens its doors to other less common performing arts. Its most original shows are the dinner shows, the food is always good, and there is a lively atmosphere.
Teatre Tívoli is a classical theater in Barcelona, founded in 1875. It has been refurbished over the years but still retains its original structure and charm. The theater has a beautiful, stately entrance and the largest auditorium in Barcelona. With 1643 seats, it retains all the glamor and charm of the past. All kinds of theatrical companies have performed on this stage, including the most avant-garde among them. The theater also puts on the latest musicals produced in Catalonia. It is located right in the center of Barcelona, giving you the opportunity to enjoy contemporary theater, musicals, and operas in an unbeatable location.
From noon till late hours of night, Milano Cocktail Bar welcomes patrons into its elegant atmosphere to enjoy a drink or feast on traditional tapas. Renowned for its cocktails, do not leave this place without trying a few of their interesting concoctions. Green Almond, Gentleman Apple, Picasso, Lady Sour and the Watermelon Martini are highly recommended. In the afternoons, patrons are given a trip back in time, as the restaurant recreates a 1940s ambiance. Nights at this place are brought alive by soothing melodies strummed by Jazz musicians.
Hopping on one of these buses is a great way to see Barcelona quickly while on a budget. There are two routes, South and North, and both focus on the most important sights. The North Route ends up at Tibidabo and the South Route at Port Olímpic. Buy a day-ticket on the bus and you can get on and off as often as you like. You also get an information leaflet about the sights on the tour, which takes two hours. Contact the TMB (Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona) for more details.