What are the attractions in Barcelona?
What exactly IS there to draw one to this city?
Actually, Barcelona more or less has it all. The beach, the weather, the people, the food (debatable) and it’s relatively cheap. No one really needs to question why it has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. But I’ll give you a brief run down of what attractions you may take particular interest in.
Attractions in Barcelona - La Sagrada Familia
If you have seen something comparing to the Sagrada Familia elsewhere on your travels, let me know, because I have seen nothing like it before. Whether you like it or not is a matter of opinion, but nobody can debate its grandeur and individuality.
It has been under construction for more than 100 years and is predicted to be finished in or around 2040.
Inspired in part by the holy mountain of Montserrat, outside of Barcelona, the mystical structure of La Sagrada Familia is a must. You need not pay in though; it’s equally amazing from the outside. Go to 'Facts on Barcelona' to read more about Gaudi
Attractions in Barcelona - Montserrat
Also a popular first name for Catalan girls, the famous tooth serrated mountain of Montserrat is 50km northwest of Barcelona. From the mountain, on a clear day, you can see the Pyrenees. The Monestir de Montserrat dates as far back as 1025 when it was founded, after allegedly a vision of the Virgin Mary was seen. Today approximately 80 monks live there.
The mountain makes for a strange combination; aesthetically odd but beautiful; the mountain is formed in such a way, by the wind and rain, to give a very eerie appearance. Also, it has a very deep and long spiritual history, and as I said, is still inhabited by around 80 monks, yet, in the same vicinity is littered with tourist shops and McDonalds style cafeterias. For me it creates an odd sensation, but I do like it a lot, for its strangeness and there are some gorgeous walking routes to be followed.
Attractions in Barcelona - The people
Yes, the people are an attraction in themselves.
The Catalans, the South Americans, the Europeans, the Africans, the Asians...they're all here, and they all add to the flavour of the city.The Catalans are interesting people; a comment to be taken neither as positive nor negative. I have many a time needed help with small situations and I have had Catalan people going thoroughly out of their way to help me. Conversely, there have been times when I just needed to get something done, and no one seems willing to help. I have experienced rude Catalans, and very friendly Catalans, but always interesting.
Physically, they do not look the typical Spanish stereotype, often the ultra tanned and dark people you see are from elsewhere or of ethnic descendent. The typical Catalan man, in my eyes, is relatively short, pale, with glasses and dark, but not particularly warm, eyes. Alas, I may offend with this opinion, but there it is.
Attractions in Barcelona - La Boqueria market
Just off La Rambla, this market is a feast for the eyes. If you enter from the main gate, you’ll be bowled over by the colours; everything at the front looks fabulous (except, in my opinion, for the skinned animals). The front entrance and all the stalls there are, of course, so placed and priced for tourists. Look, take photos, maybe even poke a few things, but don’t buy anything right at the front, unless you can’t get it elsewhere in La Boqueria. Try not to become too entranced by the chocolates either; a lollipop almost set me back 1 euro. Okay, it’s only a euro, but it’s also ONLY a lollipop!
No, instead head for the back left; here is where the bargains are. We’re talking a kilo of strawberries for a euro, in the summer. The fishies are fun and smelly, so head for the centre of the market to experience them. Be careful when buying salmon or any fish slices. I asked one lady for two portions of salmon for myself and my friend once, thankfully I was paying attention to what she was doing because I did NOT want the two pieces of fish she started weighing for me; a fish tail and a fish head. Thanks, I’ll go elsewhere.
There’s also some great people watching to be done at the various eateries in the market itself. Heck, if they’re gonna stare at you, and they ARE gonna stare at you, you may as well join them and commence staring at the various caricatures walking by.