A weekend in…
A FIRST IMPRESSION
Once checked in and settled, you can finally start immersing yourself in the wonderful biotope of Barcelona. If you are only here for a weekend, make every second count and start soaking up the atmosphere straight away. As Barcelona is very vibrant and li
A first impression
STROLLING THROUGH BARRI GÒTIC
Barri Gòtic (the Gothic Quarter) is the medieval heart of the city. It has the oldest buildings and the most fascinating history. You will find that this neighbourhood has many faces. First, you will see nothing but tourist-flooded streets and squares, but as soon as you turn around a corner, you will discover tranquil lanes and picturesque squares. In El Call, a former Jewish district dating back to the 13th century, you will find the narrowest and most authentic streets in all of Barcelona. So, just follow your intuition and dare to escape the tourist stream, and you are sure to bump into something surprising, stunning and spectacular. You will return to this neighbourhood later this weekend, so don’t worry about seeing it all already – but take your time and enjoy it.
Start your trip at Plaça de Catalunya and enter Barri Gòtic through de Portal de l’Àngel shopping street to Plaça Nova, from where you can commence your quest.
Plaça Espanya and its surroundings were the face of the new Barcelona in the 1930s. The humongous, busy roundabout was constructed in 1929 for the World Fair in Barcelona. Apart from Arenas (a shopping centre built in the remains of a former bullfighting arena), most of the buildings and monuments here date back to this same period. On the adjoining Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina, you’ll still find the Fira, the exposition halls of the event. The two bright-red Venetian towers at the beginning of this avenue are relics of the legendary happening, as well. At the end of this road, the hill of Montjuïc rises up with the beautiful Museum of Catalan Art (MNAC) at the top. Get the stairs up or opt for the escalators to enjoy the stunning views in front of it. At its foot, you’ll find the Font Màgica (the magical fountain), where light and water shows take place every night. Next to them, there are four gigantic columns, representing the yellow stripes on the Catalan flag. They were originally designed by the modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch and built in 1919. In 1928, however, they were demolished by the anti-Catalan regime of dictator Primo de Rivera. The pillars you see today were built in 2010 by the pro-independence government of Catalunya.
Take metro L1, L3 or L8 to Espanya, where you can start your trip.
PARC DE LA CIUTADELA
1929 wasn’t the first time the World Fair struck down in Barcelona, as, in 1888, the event came to showcase art, culture and innovation at the Parc de la Ciutadella. This park was built at the location of an 18th-century fortress to defend the city against the kings of Bourbon. With the World Fair, they turned the site into a lush park with modernist touches. The grand entrance to the exhibition was the impressive Arc de Triomf, which is connected to the park by a beautiful avenue. Inside the park, you’ll find plenty of surprises, such as a bombastic waterfall with golden elements, a life-sized woolly mammoth, and greenhouses and palaces from the fair. On the left-hand side of the domain, you’ll stumble upon the historic Catalan parliament, and at the back, you’ll find the city zoo.
PARC DE LA CIUTADELLA
Take metro L1 to Arc de Triomf and enter the park the way they did in 1888. Zoo Barcelona, Parc de la Ciutadella. €21.40. Open daily from 10am to 5.30pm or 8pm (depending on the season).