DESTINATION SPOTLIGHT: BARCELONA
Being a capital of the autonomous Catalonia region in Spain, Barcelona is probably one of the quirkiest and most vibrant travel destinations on the planet. Founded as a Roman city, Barcelona was besieged quite a few times throughout its history, accumulating the diverse cultural heritage and gradually obtaining its unique modern appearance, with the most significant features added by Antoni Gaudi. Due to its location and strong influential voice in various areas including education, commerce, fashion, entertainment and the arts, Barcelona proudly holds the title of one of the world’s major cities.
If you happen to visit this beautiful place, you are guaranteed to be swept of your feet regardless of what kind of experiences you’re craving. Speaking of experiences – we strongly believe that the following Top 3 things to do in Barcelona are definitely not to miss!
See Sagrada Familia. Believe it or not, this magnificent Romanic Catholic church has been under construction since 1883 and is still only around 70% complete, with the last decorative elements expected to garnish the facade by early 2030’s. Apart from a number of unfortunate delays, such as partial destruction during the Spanish Civil War, the extended construction timeframe is no surprise for anyone and pretty much carries on as planned. When the architect director Antoni Gaudi was approached about this by concerned colleagues not long before his death in 1926, he simply outlined: “My client is not in a hurry”. When you get to see this opulent UNESCO world-heritage listed architectural masterpiece, you will definitely agree: the perfection can wait.
Explore Park Güell. Named in honor of its commissioner, Park Güell was built between 1900 and 1914 as a stylish gathering location for picky aristocrates. Located on Carmel Hill (spectacular views included!), this UNESCO-acknowledged World Heritage Site is yet another marvellous creation of Antoni Gaudi. At the period, often referred to as Gaudi’s ‘naturalist phase’, the artist was primarily getting inspiration from organic shapes such as leaves, trees and flowers, as well as exotic animals such as reptiles. We strongly encourage you to take your time and explore the pathways and gardens of the Park with great attention to every little detail. And don’t forget your camera! The dragon fountain, the spiralled columns easy to confuse with trees, the terraces – all made with thousands of vibrantly colored tiles, these objects will leave you speechless.
Walk La Rambla. As the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca once said, La Rambla was "the only street in the world which I wish would never end”. Technically being a series of shorter streets, but still usually perceived as a single long one, La Rambla is most famous for its Boqueria Market. Surrounded by trees and often swamped by tourists at peak times, this delightful marketplace has seemingly anything you can imagine for sale, from small vintage nothings to exotic pets. The Market takes pride in its long history, first held on Saint Joseph's day on the 19th of March 1840. Not in a market mood? No problem – there are a lot of major fashion shops and amazing restaurants along the way.