The sea, mountains, Gaudi’s fantastic architecture, the mysterious Barri Gòtic district and the bustling La Rambla, excellent cuisine and delicious wine – these are the most important reasons why millions of tourists from all over the world come to Barcelona every year.
Barcelona is one of the most beautiful and interesting European cities. It is where the spirit of the past merges with the present, which is reflected primarily in the Gothic and modernist Catalan architecture. A subtle love of beauty and art is intertwined with a passion for long conversations and delicious food. Barcelona becomes especially charming in winter, when the temperatures get pleasant, the prices are lower and the crowds of tourists are much smaller than in summer. This is when you can fully enjoy the unique magical atmosphere of the city.
While strolling through the streets of Barcelona and soaking up its unique atmosphere, it is impossible to miss La Rambla, located in the centre, which runs from Plaza Catalunya to the Columbus Column towering over the port. The promenade is visited by about 150 000 people a day! No wonder – there are plenty of shops, stalls, street performances and gardens there. In order to do elegant shopping, pay a visit to Passeig De Gracia Avenue. Moreover, if you get tired of wandering around the shops, stop for something tasty. The number of tapas bars, cafés and restaurants serving local delicacies is endless. The prices vary quite a bit and are usually related to the distance from the centre of the premises. Eat you meal with a glass of sangria or cava – sparkling Catalan wine.
A market full of flavours
Gourmets absolutely must visit the most famous of Barcelona’s numerous fairs, La Boqueria. It is located on La Rambla. You can buy almost everything there: meat, cold cuts, fish, cheese, fruit, nuts, spices and a whole bunch of local dishes and snacks. Mini sandwiches (pintoxy and bocadillos), tapas, paella, chorizo, fried sardines and seafood, tortillas, hot peppers and chocolate are just some of them. Superbly prepared fish dishes and seafood paella can also be found in pubs in the seaside district of Barceloneta. As far as dessert goes, order crema catalana, which is made from milk, eggs, sugar and corn flour. Finally, visit the Ciutat Vella district, the iconic Els 4 Gates, which has been in business since 1897. They serve Catalan delicacies as well as beer and wine. It was here that Picasso organized two exhibitions of his works. You will certainly feel the bohemian atmosphere in the Marsella bar in the Raval district, where you can try absinthe.
City of museums
There are over 60 museums in Barcelona. The most famous is the Picasso Museum, which gathered 3 800 works of the great painter. Similarly popular is the Joan Miró Foundation, which exhibits as many as 14 000 surreal works by this artist. Moreover, it organizes interesting temporary exhibitions to promote contemporary art. It is worth visiting the Design Museum, the Maritime Museum and the Science Museum (also very interesting for children). There are also many unusual museums in the city, such as the Museum of Mammoth, Chocolate, Ham and… Funeral Vehicles. Before visiting a selected facility, it is worth checking the winter opening hours, as they often differ from the summer ones.
The architecture of Barcelona is famous all over the world, thanks to a genius architect who created his amazing buildings in this city. Antoni Gaudi is considered the father of biomorphic architecture. He was inspired by the neo-gothic and Moorish architecture, and its characteristic, decorative and flowing style, referring to the natural world, is extremely recognizable. His highlights include the Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, and the stunning Park Güell, which is home to the Gaudí House Museum.
Barcelona’s seaside district, known as the fishing district, is a great place to walk in any season of the year. Tourists are delighted with the yacht harbour and walks along the beach. When you feel you have had enough of the winter sun, it is worth taking a break in one of the numerous restaurants offering fresh fish and seafood.
On the snowy slopes of the Pyrenees
Winter frenzy fans visit Barcelona to use it as a hub for traveling to numerous, well-prepared mountain resorts.One of them is La Molina, located approximately 160 km from the Catalan capital.It is easy to reach by car, train or bus.The transport is organized so efficiently that many tourists even decide to go skiing for a day and come back to the city in the evening.The ski season there runs from early December until April. The slopes of La Molina are prepared to accommodate both beginners and advanced skiers.In addition to 46 slopes, there is a snow park and a tobogganing area, but dog sledding and snowshoeing are on the table too.
Around February 12, Barcelona celebrates the feast of their patron Eulalia, also known as La Laia in all squares and streets; and at the end of the month the carnival begins. There is nothing better than having fun while eating baked chestnuts, hot chocolate and churros!
Barcelona is close to the seaside Stiges, where the best carnival in this part of Spain takes place every year. You can get there in less than 40 minutes by train from Barcelona Sants station. As soon as you get on the platform, you will see dressed up, amused people, and you will immediately know which train to take. The festivities last for a week and end with almost all-night parades and dancing in the streets. The most important event is the Rúa de Extermini parade, which, amongst dances and songs, stretches along picturesque streets towards the sea. The costumes of the participants are colourful, varied, professional and breathtaking. You can find out about it soon – the next carnival will take place between February 24 and March 2, 2022.