Welcome to MetroGuide Networks' overview of Barcelona-area attractions. As the capital of
Catalonia and Spain's gateway to the Mediterranean, cosmopolitan Barcelona is also among
focal points of European tourism, galvanized by the 1992 Olympic Games. Landmark buildings
and world-class museums include architect Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família, the Picasso Museum,
the Gothic Cathedral and Les Rambles, the tree-lined promenade running through the heart of
the old Gothic Quarter. Barcelona also serves as a springboard to the Balearic Islands -- Mallorca,
Ibiza and Minorca, an overnight ferry ride, or a shorter flight away. Gaudi's buildings make bold,
modern statements as a Spanish and mainly Catalan offshoot of Art Nouveau. Pablo Picasso spent
his formative years within the city where other painters like Joan Miro launched careers.
Barcelona divides into a distinct, contrasting old city and a newer add-on portion, providing
an abundance of intriguing attractions. The old city is between Placa de Catalunya and the port.
Above lies a grid-patterned extension (built after the city's third set of walls were demolished
in 1860) boasting most of the modern architecture. Barcelona summers tend toward the sweltering,
whereas winters are comparatively mild. Changing seasons (late February and early November)
bring on the rains. Much if not most sightseeing in Barcelona can be done on foot -- there's
no choice in the narrow labyrinth of the Gothic Quarter -- although vehicles are needed to get
from one sightseeing area to another.
Below is a list of some suggested things to do in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area,
with links to more details when available.
- Catalonian National Museum of Art
The National Palace, built in 1929 for the world's fair, houses the Catalonian National Museum of Art, where three main collections center on Romanesque and Gothic works, and the Cambo Collection that includes a Goya.
Mirador del Palau 6. Call (93) 622-0360 for more information.
- Gaudi Museum
A pink house where Gaudi lived with his niece from 1906 to 1926, displays include Gaudi-designed furnishings, drawings, portraiture and busts.
Parc Guell. Call (93) 219-3811 for more information.
- Gothic Quarter & Placa Del Rei
With portions surviving from the Middle Ages, the Gothic Quarter remains a vibrant neighborhood that invites exploration, especially for walking up the Carrer del Carme, east of Les Rambles. The Placa Del Rei, within Gothic Square, is the Quarter's oldest, loveliest part. Even though evidence indicates otherwise (with the royal couple summering elsewhere), stair steps within the corner of the square are widely believed to be where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella received Christopher Columbus on his triumphant return from the New World. The banquet hall Salo del Tinell was built in 1362. Other nearby points of interest are King Martin's Watchtower and the Royal Chapel of St. Agatha.
- Les Rambles
Barcelona's most famous street winds past kiosks and stalls where vendors interact with locals and visitors happily strolling along. Heading south toward the sea is Chinatown, with the red-light district on the right. At the foot of the Rambla is the Columbus monument. Nearby is the Maritime Museum, housed in the 13th century Royal Dockyards, showcasing all things nautical.
- Miro Foundation
As a present from the artist Joan Miro to his hometown, the Miro Foundation showcases contemporary art within a building providing panoramic views to the north. Exhibits are hailed as progressive and provocative. Miro, who died in 1983 after spending much time living in Mallorca, rests in the cemetery on Montjuic's southern slopes.
Avenue Miramar 71. Call (93) 443-9470 for more information.
- Olympic Gallery at Olympic Stadium
Resulting from the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, the Olympic Gallery is one of Europe's few museums devoted solely to sports. Exhibits include photos, costumes and memorabilia recalling crowds, pageantry and fame of the spectacle. Features include how the city prepared, videos of athletic events and archives. Enter at the Port Sud gate.
Olympic Stadium, lower level. Call (93) 426-0660 for more information.
- Picasso Museum
The Picasso Museum, occupying a trio of the city's most elegant medieval palaces, is known for its collection of the artist's early work. Childhood sketches, works from the Rose and Blue periods and Cubist variations on Velazquez's Las Meninas are on exhibit.
Carrer Montcada 15-19. Call (93) 319-6310 for more information.
- La Sagrada Familia
Started in 1882 and incomplete at Gaudí's death in 1926, La Sagrada Familia -- the Church of the Holy Family -- embodies his style, described on occasion as Art Nouveau run rampant. Work continues, without any definite plan for completion. The cathedral's crypt contains a small museum of the architect's scale models and photos of Gaudí's funeral.
Majorca 41. Call (93) 207-3031 for more information.
- Science Museum
Among the city's most popular museums, the Science Museum is a bastion of hands-on activity allowing visitors to feel an earthquake, hear whispers from a great distance and more. In the Mechanics Exhibit, visitors can lift an 88-lb. weight with little effort. More than 300 exhibits range from optics to space travel to life sciences. The museum is at the southern foothills of Tibidabo.
Teodor Roviralta 55. Call (93) 212-6050 for more information.
- Tibidabo Mountain
Offering the finest view of Barcelona, a funicular running from early morning until mid-evening takes visitors to the top of Tibadabo Mountain, with sunset being the ideal time to visit. Also here are an amusement park with a Ferris wheel, a church called Temple del Sagrat Cor (Sacred Heart), restaurants and mountaintop hotels.