¡Vamos á Barcelona!

{Cue music to George Ezra’s song “Barcelona”}

Barcelona, Spain is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been to, and I can’t wait to visit again! I made a fast trip to Barca over Thanksgiving Break, and had the pleasure of staying with my friend Kayla’s Spanish host family in an apartment near La Rambla. From the moment my bus arrived in Plaça de la Catalunya, I knew I had arrived in a very whimsical city. Whether it’s the sea breeze or the sangria, Barcelona has a mischievous vibe that carries from the beach to the basilica!

park guell

 

GAUDI AT HIS FANTASTICAL BEST

  1. Sagrada Família Basilica – Ever walked into a rainbow? That’s what the interior of the Sagrada Familia Basilica feels like! With stain-glass windows throwing color all about, this basilica is like no other church in Europe. Construction on Antoni Gaudí’s master-piece began in 1883, so I’m pretty excited that estimates say the structure will match his architectural sketches by 2026. Gaudí takes much inspiration from nature and animals, as he saw them as creations of the god he was honoring.

With that in mind, the entrance of the basilica rests on the back of two great stone turtles, while green and red mosaic lizards crawl about the entrance door. One of the coolest things about this basilica is that it looks entirely different on the inside depending on the way the sun hits the stain-glass. Needless to say, Sagrada Familia rapidly became one of my favorite sites in Europe!

sagrada familia
Sagrada Familia is a bit like a whimsical Basilica-Sandcastle 🙂 (PC: National Review)

 

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  1. Casa Batlló – Textile industrialist Josep Batlló wanted a creative house like no other, and so he found the perfect architect for the job: Gaudí. The fantastical roars from every beam of this house: the mosaics of the curved roof invoke dragon scales, while the arches of the loft a floor below comprises the dragon’s ribcage. Inside, the blue mosaic color scheme make you feel like you’re underwater and the shape of the rooms are curved to appear like ocean waves. The exterior façade is equally mysterious: though it’s open to interpretation, I think the windows are like masquerade masks. You can take an augmented reality tour — which is really fun! –of Casa Batlló that makes the magic of the house come to life!

    casa batllo
    Absolutely do the AR Tour inside Casa Batlló 🙂 (PC: Apartment Barcelona)
  2. Parc Güell – contains many hidden gems, like Antoni Gaudi’s own house! From the mosaic salamander to that one terrace spot overlooking Barcelona that’s featured in everyone’s Instagram photos, Parc Güell is definitely a place to hit up while exploring Barça.

    park-guell
    Note that they’ve caught onto us Insta-lovers, and charge extra to go onto the terrace photo-spot. (PC: Just Fun Facts)

WORTH WANDERING

  1. Las Ramblas – is a series of streets lined with shops, stalls, and street musicians. It’s great for people watching, tapas, shopping, and enjoying the general hustle and bustle of the city! My friend and tour-guide Kayla and I had a lot of fun getting quite lost in this part of town for an afternoon. Spanish poet Federico García Lorca once said, “La Rambla is the only street in the world that I wish would never end.”

    12301621_10153648231265907_4514899198439932163_n
    We’ve got simple pleasures here in Las Ramblas! 🙂
  2. Plaça de la Catalunya – is where you’ll land up if you take a bus from the airport to the city, as I did! Considered the city center, this square features a beautiful fountain, thousands of pigeons (think Spanish Trafalgar Square!), and leads the way to the rest of beautiful Barcelona.

    catalunya TripAdvisor
    One of the first places I saw in Barcelona! (PC: TripAdvisor UK)
  3. Gothic Quarter (aka Barrió Gótico) – is the oldest part of Barcelona and quite like a labyrinth. You’ll feel like you’ve taken a sharp turn into the Medieval era walking through its cobble-stoned lanes. Every few streets, you’ll open out into a small square where you’re bound to find some interesting tapas, sangria, and mojito spots!

    gothic barca
    I also felt like you could see the Arab influence over some of the details in the Barrío Gótico

DOWNRIGHT MAGICAL

  1. Magic Fountains of Montjuïc – is a sound, water, and light show that you’ve got to see if you’ve got an evening in Barcelona! Located near the National Palace and the Plaça d’Espanya, you’ll enjoy a beautiful scene combining classical architecture with modern special effects.

    montjuic
    Joining the ranks of the Bellagio Fountains and Dubai Fountains, is definitely Montjuïc! (PC: Planetware)
  2. Parc de la Ciutadella – is serene enough to make you wonder if you’ve found Spanish Olympus or walked onto a Peter Jackson movie set. The park features gorgeous statues of mythological gods and creatures; a fantastical version of Rome’s Trevi Fountain. You can also go boating in the lake, check out the zoology museum, or just hangout with friends in the park and experience your idyllic surroundings. 12316426_10153648110760907_1014963681390849143_n

BY THE BEACH

  1. Fire-breathing Sandcastles – Yes, this is a thing! Sand-artists create the most amazing creations on the beach as their was of busking. While catching brunch beachside at Playa de la Barceloneta, we saw a fire-breathing dragon (Barça really likes their dragons no?), the most intricate sand-castle, and funky rock person! Barca Sandcastles
  2. Paella – I was pretty surprised to find this, but this Spanish seafood dish is only found at the beach in Barcelona! Either ways, it’s a solid excuse for foodies to go to the beach…as if you ever needed another reason 🙂 Paella
  3. Opium (The Nightclub) – is a place I need to return to Barça to experience! My sources say it’s the absolute best beachside nightclub in the city and worth checking out if you’ve packed your dancing shoes and party wear. In the words of my best friend Kelly, “It’s lit!”
    opium barca club
    On the top of my Barcelona list for next time!

    Whimsical, fun-loving, and intriguing are many of the words I could use to describe Barcelona to you, but nothing beats seeing and experiencing this beach-side city for yourself. I definitely want to do another trip…maybe to check up on how the Sagrada Familia’s construction is coming along!

me casa batllo
#nikitalyfe on the sunny rooftop of Casa Batlló, near the dragon scales 🙂

Author: Nikita Taimni

A Dubai-based blogger, I write about travel, theatre and lifestyle in the cities I explore around the world. Follow me on Instagram @nikitalyfe and follow via email if you enjoy reading my posts!

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