Barcelona - The Catalonia Capital
Updated: Oct 6, 2019
I was fortunate to add Barcelona to my Spain itinerary. I had been to Barcelona many years ago but returning to this capital of Catalonia in Spain's Northeast coast was a special time.
Late September is a great month to visit Southern Europe. The visiting crowds have tapered off and the weather remains warm and more comfortable.
I believe spending time walking the streets and neighbourhoods of a city is the best way to discover the highlights but also the hidden gems. Barcelona is filled with streets lined with incredible Catalonian and Spanish architecture. Dominated by the wonderful facades of the buildings and the endless array of balconies that vary in style and ornate features.
The other part of Barcelona is just the streets themselves, many of them twisting and winding throughout the districts. Traditional mixed with modern architecture. Small businesses, markets, and shops of unique product or services. Luckily many traditional businesses still remain in Barcelona and the large chain stores and businesses situate themselves on the major streets and squares, leaving the small lanes rich with smaller unique shops.
There are many architectural landmarks and areas in the city that have become iconic when thinking of this city. The one artist that dominates the culture of Barcelona is the works of Antoni Gaudí. From the homes to the public buildings and parks his work is prominent in the city core. His style influence can also be seen in many other buildings. No other house is more iconic of his work than Casa Batlló located in the Gracia district.
The other architectural gem is the great work in progress La Sagrada Familia. This basilica has been under construction for over 100 years and is projected to be completed in 2026. Antoni Gaudí's work on this project consumed the later years of his life. His designs and building plans are still used in the current completion of this Barcelona landmark. My impression of the basilica is that it has traditional elements of the great churches and cathedrals of Europe, but also contains many modern elements that helps it transcend time or influence. The interior of the Sagrada Familia is truly a wonder to the eye.
What becomes difficult to do is explore everything with a city of this size and history. There is never enough time to see it all. You can spend months or years discovering Barcelona and I was happy to spend 7 days touching the surface of this great metropolis on the Balearic Sea.