Sights in Barcelona

In Barcelona you find a huge amount of places of interest, so I will only mention the ones, I think are the most important. Think of this as well: If you are studying and living in Barcelona, don’t make the mistake to think: “ I have enough time for sighseeing”, because you will be stressed out during your last few days in this city.

Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is the towns’ landmark. Antonio Gaudi was in charge of planning the building and worked until the end of his days (he died in 1926) on the accomplishment. The Sagrada Familia remains unfinished till this day. Nevertheless, everyone is fascinated by these round and sharp-ended towers, nearly reaching 100 metres of height. The architectural style is unique. However, you should give it a thought, if you also wanna see the Sagrada Familia from the inside because it is also a building site. Besides, students will certainly find more meaningful things to spend their 5 € on.

Opening hours: 01.04. - 30.09.: 9.00-20.00 h; 01. 10. - 30.03.: 9.00-18.00 h.
Prices: basic fee: 8 €; guided tour: 11.50 €; reduced fee: 5 € - students with Carné Joven and ID; 3 € pupils under 18 years;
Website: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/eng/index.htm

La Rambla

The Rambla, one of the main streets of the old town; this 2 km long touristic boulevard runs between Plaza Catalunya and the harbour. You can find flower and vegetable stands, animal stands, shoeblacks, road shows, sidewalk cafes and a lot of artists, who dress up in many different ways to earn their money. If you stroll along the Rambla, you will also pass by the market hall “Mercat de la Boquería” on your right hand side. It is definitely worth a visit!!
Casa Bruno Cuadros is also impressive, with dragons and umbrellas on the façade. One of the most beautiful places of Barcelona is the Placa Reial, situated on the left, close to the Rambla. This place used to be a monastery in the past, built in 1949. The galleries, which have been maintained, are hosting small shops now. Furthermore, there are two lanterns from Gaudi in the palm-lined yard. At the other end of the Rambla is the Monument a Colom (a statue of Columbus), which has been built to honour Christopher Columbus after his regression to Barcelona from his first journey to America. It is possible to climb up the 50 m statue and enjoy the amazing view of the harbour and the city.

The Rambla is definitely worth a visit, even though it gives a more touristic view of the city than the true spirit. But careful! The Rambla is a paradise for pickpockets and you have to beware of the “Shell game players”. Here you don’t have any chance to win!

Tibidabo

The Tibdabo is a mountain, 500 m high, and you can reach its’ top by taking the subway till Tibidabo stop, then the Tramvia Blau (historic tram) and then changing at the Peu del Funicular to take the cable car. On top of Tibidabo you can find a little spectacular amusement park and the amazing church Temple del Sagrat Cor. Actually it consists of two churches, built on each other, the church on the ground floor has a round basilica on top. You can see the statue of Jesus Christ on top of the church already from a distance.There is free entrance for both churches, which makes them definitely worth a visit. However, the most spectacular thing on Tibidabo is the unique view, as the city of Barcelona and the ocean are spreading in front of you with all their beauty. For a fee paid at the elevator, you can reach the viewpoint on a platform, from where you can take the stairs leading to the feet of the statue of Christ. The view, however, can not become a lot more impressive as it already is.

Barcelonas’ harbour

The harbour of Barcelona has been renovated due to the Olympic Games 1992. A walk along the beach and the harbour with its’ nice boats is definitely a must-do.

The old industry harbour (Port Vell) between Barceloneta and the old building of the customs authority has turned into the amusement mile of the city. Here you can find the Maremagnum, a shopping and amusement centre with shops, restaurants, bars, the biggest Aquarium of Europe and the IMAX cinema.

From Barceloneta to Port Olímpic stretches a large amusement mile, where you can party at night in the many bars and discos, situated next to each other. This party mile is, however, very popular among tourists, so not very cheap. It is certainly not the right place to get to know typical Spanish bars and discotheques.

Passeig de Gracia

In former times the Passeig de Gracia was a country lane, connecting Barcelona with the village Gracia. Today it is known as the most expensive shopping street of the city as well as an open air Art Nouveau museum. You can find all the chic shops of distinction in this street.
At Passeig the Gracia No. 92 you can see Gaudis’ Casa Milá with its’ wavelike façade and bizarre chimneys, which was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984. This buidling, also referred to as La Pedrera (quarry), was built from natural stone.
A street section of this elegant boulevard is named “Mancana de la Discordia”, which means: block of dissension. The name comes from the fact that at this part of the street, different styled buildings from 3 famous architects used to compete against each other in order to find the nicest one. Each of them has its’ charm, so you should pay attention to all of them when passing by.
Josep Puig i Cadafach has built the Casa Amatller, which is situated at Passeig de Gracia 41 and reminds of Northern Gothic. Gaudis’ Casa Battlo (No. 43) is located next to it. Curved balconies and bays embellish this house, as well as glazed tiles on the roof and glittering tesseras on the façade. Only few metres away, at No. 35, you can find the third building from the competition: Casa Lleo Morera. The façade is decorated with various important inventions from the turn of the 19th century, like gramophone, telephone, electric bulb and camera.
The Passeig the Gracia also catches attention with its’ wrought-iron ornaments at the old street lights, as well as the special pavement, both designed by Gaudi.

La Pedrera – Casa Mila
Opening hours: Monday till Sunday 10.00 – 20.00 h
Prices: basic fee: 7 €. Reduced fee: 3.50 € (pensioners, students and children between 13 and 16 years). Free entrance: children up to 12 years.

You should check for special events, because during June and July 2005 there was i.e. an event called “La Pedrera de nit”, where you could visit Casa Mila between 21.30 and 24.00 h and enjoy music and a glass of sparkling wine. You should definitely take the opportunity to take part in such special events, because it is a very nice experience to see La Pedrera at night!

Montjuic

The city started to integrate Montjuic during the world exhibition in 1929 and it took until Olympia 1992 to finalise this project. Buildings constructed for the world exhibition are mostly still intact.
Among these buildings are the Palau Nacional (National palace), which hosts today the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Enjoy the nice view of the Palau Nacional on the approx. 200 m high local mountain Montjuic from the monumental and busy Placa Espanya.
Underneath the palace lies a big fountain, called Font Mágica”, which attracts people on warm summer nights with its’ fascinating light and music show. You can see shows during the summer Thursday till Sunday between 21.00 h and 23.30 h.
The Montjuic, with a very nice view over Barcelona, is one of the most important natural parks in Barcelona and an oasis in the middle of this bustling city to find peace and rest.
Moreover you find numerous sports sites on Montjuic, due to Olympia.

During the summer an open-air cinema festival with a big variety of movies takes place. I can really recommend to see a movie there to experience this unique atmosphere. And don’t forget your “vino” and “bocadillo”!

Park Güell

This park was created by Antonio Gaudí between 1900 and 1914. Prince Güell assigned Gaudí to build a garden city similar to the English garden. Gaudí planned this garden city with more than 60 villas, which should have been sold before in order to finance the project. But this plan didn’t work out, so the garden city has never been finished. Gaudí tried to take the environment into consideration as well as cost-efficiency. There were no earth movings and he used bulding material, which he found on the property; for the mosaics he used leftovers from ceramics plants. He adjusted his plans to the hilly surface and built supporting walls and terraces – organic forms - which fit perfectly into the territory and seem very natural. Park Güell is a multifaceted and very beautiful park, which has been rightfully declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. At the main entrace you can see two porter houses with impressive sugar icing roofs. A beautiful staircase, decorated with colourful mosaics and sculptures on both sides and the famous salamander in the middle, leads you to a huge terrace. From the terrace, which is framed by a long curved bank in form of a serpentine and decorated with mosaics, you have a beautiful view over Barcelona and the ocean. You should also take your time to explore the rest of the park with its’ grottos, arcades, magnificent cactuses and much more. The highest point of this park is a place with three crosses, which gives you the best view over Barcelona. Gaudí used to live in the pink house in the park during the period of construction. This house has been turned into a museum, which, however, is not worth the entrance fee you are supposed to pay.

Opening hours: Open daily: November until February from 10.00 till 18.00 h. March until October: 10.00 until 19.00 h. April until September: 10.00 –20.00 h. May until August: 10.00 until 21.00 h.

Palau de la Musica Catalana – Catalan Palace of Music

This is one of the most important buildings of modernism in town and belongs to the most significant concert halls in the world. The Palau was built between 1905 and 1908 by the Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner and declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1997. Very impressive are the interior ceramics mosaics and the colourful windows, decorated with flower ornaments. You should also take a look at the lapidary images on the sides at the stage.

Up to 300 musically events take place every year and a concert is really worth a visit. Have a look at the calender of events at: http://www.palaumusica.org/concerts.html

Opening hours: September until June: Mondays till Sundays between 10.00 and 15.30 h. July and August from 10.00 until 19.00 h.
Prices: basic fee: 8 €. Discounted fee: 7 € (persons over 65 years, pensioners, unemployed, groups from 25 persons, students and children up to 14 years with ID).
Website: www.palaumusica.org/

Gran Teatre del Liceu

The Gran Teatre del Liceu is regarded by many people as one of the finest opera houses of Europe, next to the Scala of Milan. It was built by Miguel Garriga i Roca between 1845 and 1847. There was a horrible fire in 1994 but fortunately the lounge and the horseshoe arc were not distroyed. The population and the government of Barcelona wanted the reconstruction of the building, so the opera house was re-opened to the public in 1999. During the last years, the best singers interpreted the most important pieces from Mozart, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini and Strauss in this opera. Especially the room for the audience and the hall of mirrors are worth seeing in the Gran Teatre del Liceu.

Opening hours: Monday till Sunday: 10.00 h (guided tour), 11.30 and 13.00 h.
Prices: guided tours: basic fee: 6 €. Discounted fee: 4.50 € (groups from 25 persons); 4 € (persons aged 65 and older and students with ID)
Website: http://www.liceubarcelona.com/teatre_liceu.asp