A weekend in…
Still some time left?
As always, your holiday probably flew by and it is now almost time to catch your flight back home. Our weekend together in Barcelona has been packed full of all that makes the city great and probably given you quite a good idea of what this vibrant metrop
HEAD TO THE SEA
Your passage through Barcelona is not complete without having dipped your toes into the cold Mediterranean Sea. The city’s coastline runs from the historic neighbourhood of La Barceloneta to the north end of the city and consists almost exclusively of sandy beaches. Those in Barceloneta aren’t always the nicest to catch a tan on, as they tend to be super-crowded and noisy. A kilometre further away, in the neighbourhood of Poblenou, the beaches are still animated but more pleasantly so. On sunny days, you’ll still have plenty of space to put your towel down while listening to the crashing waves and the numerous beach volleyball players behind you. Our favourite beach is Platja Bogatell, where you’ll find the perfect balance between rest and ambiance.
To go to the beach, take metro L4 to Barceloneta or Bogatell.
SOAK UP SOME CULTURE
Culture lovers will enjoy roaming the numerous museums in the city. In addition to obvious choices such as the Catalan National Museum of Art (MNAC), the Museum for Contemporary Art of Barcelona (MACBA) and the Picasso Museum, you can choose from the Maritime Museum, the Joan Miró Foundation, the Frederic Marès Museum, the Gaudí Exhibition Centre and many more. Science lovers might want to stop by the Museum for Natural Sciences (Museu Blau) or CosmoCaixa, an interactive science centre for all ages.
VISIT ALL OF SPAIN IN JUST A FEW HOURS
For the World Fair of 1929, modernist architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch wanted to build something truly special. His idea was to create a life-size village with houses and buildings that represent all regions and cultures in Spain. In the end, Puig i Cadafalch didn’t design this village himself, yet the idea was realised and named Poble Espanyol (Spanish Village). With a total of 117 buildings, the domain represents all regions of Spain, apart from the Canary Islands and the small region of La Rioja (as the Canary Islands were too expensive for the architects to visit and La Rioja was not yet a separate region). The idea was to demolish the village after the World Fair, but the enthusiastic visitors who kept on coming have kept it open to date.
Poble Espanyol. Avinguda de Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia 13. €14 (discounts available). Open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays from 9am to midnight, to 8pm on Mondays, 3am on Fridays and 4am on Saturdays).
VISIT THE CITY’S STUNNING SUPERCOMPUTER
As much as Barcelona is a city of the past, it very much looks to the future as well. In a former church in the suburban district of Pedralbes, you can find one of Europe’s most powerful super computers. The Barcelona Supercomputing Centre focuses on research and development in plenty of fields, but it also allows tourists to visit this mighty computer in its ironically ancient setting. One of the centre’s workers leads you around and tells you all you want to know about this prodigal calculating talent.
Carrer de Jordi Girona 31. Free admission. Visits can be scheduled from Monday to Friday, 9am to 7pm.
DISCOVER BARCELONA 2.0 IN GLÒRIES
To see the Barcelona of tomorrow, you can also head to Glòries, a modern business district at the border of the city centre. The eye-catcher of this district is the futuristic Torre Agbar. With its 130 metres, it is the highest building in the city (at least until the Sagrada Familia is completed). At night, it is beautifully lit in red and blue. In its shadow, you’ll find the modern flea market of Encants and the Museum of Design. On the opposite side of the street, you enter the exciting Glòries shopping centre. The big construction site beside it is to be turned into a giant park in a few years. By digging a tunnel, the city of Barcelona aims to turn this former traffic-packed square into a green city garden.
Take metro L1 to Glòries or hop on tram T4 or T5 to that very same station.
GET LOST IN THE LABYRINTH
To really go off the beaten track, head to the Parc del Laberint d’Horta, an amazing garden outside of the city centre. This stunning park stretches out around a mystical hedge maze with statues and water features. Don’t expect a labyrinth in which to get lost for hours – but it sure is fun to stroll through it and try to escape as quickly as possible. The rest of the garden excels in its simplicity. Giant beds with just one type of plant give the park an almost-minimalist character. At the top of the hill, you’ll find a tranquil pond and a beautiful panorama across the enigmatic maze and the mighty city behind it.
EXPLORE THE CHARMING DISTRICT OF GRÀCIA As Eixample took over the valley of Barcelona at breaknecking pace, the surrounding rural villages were endangered by this growing urban grid. Luckily, these authentic villages were preserved and Eixample just settled itself around them. Therefore, you can still spot small, chaotic enclaves in the otherwise-rigid structure of Eixample. Gràcia is by far the most charming of them all. Its cute streets are restaurant-packed nowadays, and on its many squares you’ll find terraces aplenty. It’s also home to some of the nicest concept stores and design shops in the city. Don’t expect any major hotspots here, but just enjoy a relaxing stroll.
With metro L4 to Joanic or Alfons X or L3 to Fontana of Lesseps, you’ll walk through Gràcia in no time.
Passeig dels Castanyers 1. €2.23 (discounts available). Free admission on Wednesdays and Sundays. Open daily from 10am to 8pm (and until 6pm from November to March).