If you think I have dropped off the earth somewhere in Rome, I don’t blame you. I will get back to the Italy trip soon, but meanwhile we have just come back from a fabulous 10 days in Barcelona, Spain and I’m itching to write about that trip first.
By way of introduction, here is a summary of our itinerary. We thought 10 days (7 in Barcelona itself) would be more than enough time, and we would have to fill in some leisure hours sitting in tapas bars drinking Cava and Sangria. In fact, despite a full schedule we left feeling like another visit is essential, there’s so much more to see and experience. We did manage to fit in a few tapas bars as well, of course.
|We arrived in Barcelona early after an overnight flight and hit the ground running …
- Sant Pau Recinte Modernista, the largest Art Nouveau site in Europe, a complex of buildings of stunning architecture, until 2009 a functioning hospital.
- La Sagrada Familia – the most famous site in Barcelona, is everything everyone says and more.
- Park Güell – large park designed by Antoni Gaudí, initially intended as an upmarket housing estate, full of his signature style.
- La Boqueria Market – bustling city market selling everything from lobsters to lollipops.
- Picasso Museum – excellent museum dedicated mostly to Picasso’s early years, which he spent in Barcelona
- Frederic Marès Museum – a very eclectic collection by a local sculptor
- Exploring Barri Gòtic, the medieval old city of Barcelona.
- Els Quatre Gats, cafe made famous by Picasso and other artists.
- Santa Caterina Market, another produce market.
- Barcelona Cathedral, stunning 14th century Gothic Cathedral
Modernista architecture in Barcelona’s Eixample District, especially:
- Casa Milà, also known as La Predrera, the last private residence designed by Gaudí.
- Casa Amatller, another modernista house, complete with fantastical stone carvings on the facade.
- Casa Batllo , considered Gaudí’s most beautiful building.
- Back to Casa Milà for a light show on the roof.
|We hired a car and headed out of Barcelona for a 3 day road trip. We visited Girona, and then did the so-called Dalí Triangle, visiting 3 museums in 3 towns dedicated to Salvador Dalí.
- Wandered the gorgeous old city of Girona
- Girona was the site of several Game of Thrones film locations
- The Dalí Theatre-Museum in Figueres, a quirky and wonderful collection of Salvador Dali works
- Exploring Cadaquès, a delightful old town of whitewashed houses on the Costa Brava.
- Dali House Museum in Portlligat, the house Dali and his wife Gala lived in for 50 years.
- Gala-Dalí Castle in Púbol, the castle Dali bought and decorated for his beloved wife Gala.
|Meanwhile, back in Barcelona …
- Montjuic Cable Car for unrivalled views over Barcelona.
- Joan Miró Foundation, the best collection of Miró’s art anywhere.
- MNAC (National Museum of Catalonian Art) – incredible collection of Romanesque art
- Three Kings Parade, celebrating 12th night, with a huge parade through the city.
- MNAC again to see the Catalan art and design from the 19th and 20th centuries
- Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus tour to see some parts of the city we hadn’t got to, while resting our weary legs
- Santa Maria Del Mar Church striking church, the best example of pure Catalan Gothic
- Barcelona History Museum, fascinating excavation of Roman streets under the old city of Barcelona.
- Palau de la Música Catalana, suberb concert hall designed with Modernista exuberance.
- Ciutadella Park
- Rambling Las Ramblas, exploring this touristy but still interesting main street of Barcelona.
As I write more details about each of the places we visited, I will update this summary with links, so check back often! Meanwhile here’s a small photo gallery to give you a sneak preview:
The widest nave in any Gothic church in the world
It was a lot colder than we expected.