I have been to Barcelona once and it is definitely impossible to see everything in one visit, unless of course it is a month long stay. But it is possible to see the main sites in three days. Keep in mind that Barcelona is hot and humid so the summer months are not ideal if you are not a sun/heat worshipper. My trip was actually in July which is definitely not when I would recommend going, but if you do, get out early and take a siesta in the middle of the day because the heat is truly unbearable.
What to see in Bareclona, Spain
I stayed in a small hotel about two blocks from the street, La Rambla. La Rambla is one of the main streets in the city and includes a center promenade so you can admire both sides of the street, watch street performers, and it is a good point of reference if you get lost.
From La Rambla you can enter the Gothic Quarter, which is a maze of narrow streets that occasionally open onto small plazas. Most of the buildings in this neighborhood date from medieval times.
One of the main sites in the Gothic Quarter is the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia. The Cathedral was built throughout the 13th to 15th centuries. The church is dedicated to Eulalia, the co-patron saint of Barcelona; she is entombed in the cathedral’s crypt. The impressive Cathedral also includes a cloister with a “Well of the Geese.” There are thirteen white geese who live in the cloister, thirteen because that is the age that Eulalia was martyred. To see and buy a photo of the geese in the Cathedral cloister click here.
Visiting the Park Guell in Barcelona, Spain
One of the main attractions of Barcelona are the buildings by Antoni Gaudi and Park Guell.
Park Guell was designed by Antoni Gaudi and built from 1900 to 1914 and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is a fanciful space that feels like a fairytale. My advice is to get there early, just before it opens at 10am, which is the only way to get photos of the entrance and the grand staircase without hordes of people.
The park is very extensive and does take at least half a day to see. Upon entering the park you are faced with a huge staircase with a fountain in the center and a large mosaic lizard that is the park drop to many a family portrait. The first impression is that of a sandcastle. Traipse up the stairs to find a cavernous gallery of Doric column that feels like a scene from Alice and Wonderland. Wander over to a stoned colonnaded pathway with tilted archways; the colonnaded path is probably one of the most photographed places in the park and you can see a photograph on my store site.
The upper level of the park is bordered by mosaic serpentine benches and is the next spot to see. The benches, the columns, the colonnade all reflect nature and show how Gaudi integrated natural forms into his work.
You could spend all day in this park and some people do. The views are spectacular and some spots are positively restful. You can just imagine how it was when the park was first built.
1 – A little history of the Park Guell: The park was originally meant for a housing site for luxury homes. The original idea was that of Count Eusebi Guell, a patriarch who became a patron to Antoni Gaudi, and for whom the Park is named after. There were actually only two houses built on the land: Count Eusebi lived in the Larrard House and Gaudi lived in the second house with his family.
1- As with most Cathedrals in Spain and Italy, you must be dressed appropriately which means shoulders must be covered. If you lack the proper attire you will be denied entrance. Or you can purchase a shawl from one of the few enterprising individuals who linger just outside the Cathedral doors.
2 – Park Guell is a bit of a trek to get to since it is on the fringes of the city. After taking the metro it is about a 20 minute walk up hill to the park. There is a bus as well.
3 – Make sure to get to the Park Guell early, before it opens at 10am. This will help you get great photos without crowds of people and it will also be before the mid-day heat.