One of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe is Barcelona. Known for its unique Modernista architecture and independent sensibilities, Barcelona is also one of the most welcoming and friendliest of the major European capitals. And the food-- you can't beat the food.
For some helpful tips and ideas, check out the Barcelona Tourist Guide.
From my blog:
There are all types of places in Barcelona, and no shortage of truly stylish places. Here's what I'm looking at now, but feel free to email me with your favorites!
La Boqueria. Go there. One of Europe's great food markets, just off the Ramblas, and a wonderful place to pick up cheeses, Jamon de Jabugo, as well as the tastiest little anchovies you've ever had. Official site.
La Sagrada Familia, Calle Mallorca, 9-6(Oct-Mar), 9-8 (Apr-Sep). Without doubt, the most visited construction site in the world, Antoni Gaudi's expiatory temple of faith is magnificent even half-built.
Picasso Museum, (34) 93-319-6310, 15-19 c. Montcada, Tue-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 10am-3pm. One of the most highly touristed places in Barcelona, but the collection is not-to-be-missed, and worth the wait.
Fundacio Joan Miro, Parc de Montjuïc, s/n, (34) 934.439.470. The ultimate collection of Catalan artist Joan Miro.
National Museum of Catalan Art or MNAC, Palau Nacional. Parc de Montjuïc,
Modernism Center, (34) 93-488-0139, 41 Passeig de Gracia, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday till 2. A good place for information about Gaudí and other modernist architects. At the center you can pick up a map and discount tickets to the Palau de la Música and three museums.
Casa Milà (la Pedrera), (34) 93-484-5995, 92 Passeig de Gracia, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Casa Batlló, (34) 93-488-0666, 43 Passeig de Gracia, open Sunday till 8. One of the three fabulous Modernista houses that make up the Manzana de Discordia, or block of Discord. Batllo tell the story of Barcelona's patron St. George. The roof of the house depicts the spine of the dragon St. Jordi fought, and the macabre bony balconies show the grisly remains of the dragon's victims.
St. Eulalia Cathedral, (34) 93-315-1554, Pla de la Seu, closed for the long Spanish lunch.
Parc Güell, (34) 93-213-0488, Carrer d'Olot, Park free; museum €1.80, May-Aug: 10am-9pm. Gaudi's fantasyland of open spaces and relaxing shady passageways isn't easy to get to, but worth the trip.
Palau Guell, (34) 93-317-3974, 3-5 Nou de la Rambla, $3 , The Palau is closed until January 2009.
Barceloneta. That part of town was built after King Philip V pushed all the workers out of the area east of the Born in order to build his new fortress, the Ciutadella. It’s still got the feel of a working-class fishing village — laundry hung from balconies, the smell of fried seafood in the air. The streets are close and a little gritty, but if you look straight down them, you’ll get beautiful views of sand and sea.
Gran Teatro Liceu - La Rambla, 51-59; +34 93 485 99 00. Barcelona's grand opera house.
Palau de la Musica - Pasaje Palau 4, off Via Laietana, Metro: Urquinaona; +34 93 295 72 00. One of the most beautiful concert halls in Europe, designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner.
Mercat de les Flors - Lleida, 59; +34 93 4261875. A venue for contemporary dance.
L’Auditori- carrer Lepant 150, Metro: Glories, Monumental. A modern venue for traveling jazz and contemporary music groups.