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Barcelona is one of the more interesting destinations in Europe. Architecture that inspires, history that enthralls, restaurants and cafes to make your mouth water and a large public market that thrums with activity. There is no shortage of things to do in the cosmopolitan city of Barcelona. Here’s a taste of some of the top “must-see” destinations in Spain’s remarkable and trendiest city

Sagrada Familia Cathedral

This iconic example of the work of famed late 19th century architect Antoni Gaudi exhibits the unique Art Nouveau, Catalan Modernism and Spanish Gothic style for which the architect was known. Construction of the Roman Catholic Church began in 1882 with Gaudi joining the project in 1883. The architect realized he may not himself complete the project but left extremely detailed design designs to guide completion of the church. Only a fourth of the cathedral was finished upon Gaudi’s death in 1926 and currently the project is 70% complete. In spite of its incompleteness, the church was consecrated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

Barcelona Cathedral

The Cathedral of Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is a Gothic cathedral constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries. Also known as the Barcelona Cathedral, it is the seat of the archbishop of Barcelona. The cathedral is a stunning example of Gothic architecture and named for Barcelona’s Saint Eulalia whose remains are interred in the cathedral’s crypt. There’s a cloister within the church where 13 white geese are kept. The number 13 represents the age at which St. Eulalia was martyred.

Casa Battló

In the center of the city is another one of Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece projects. Originally constructed in 1877 by Emilio Sala Cortés, one of Gaudi’s architecture professors, it was purchased in 1903 by Josep Battló y Casanovas. Battló, a prominent businessman in the city, gave free rein to Gaudi when it came to redesigning the house. The home is a true work of art and an example of Modernism at its finest. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was voted World’s Best Landmark by the Remarkable Venue Awards in 2021.

Gothic Quarter

Narrow medieval streets lined with trendy bars and restaurants flank Barcelona’s charming Gothic Quarter. Stroll the Quarter and visit the stalls and kiosks selling everything from leather goods to jewelry. Just along the busy La Rambla you’ll find vendors with fresh flowers and tasty street food. Pause in one of the cafes to watch as life in the Gothic Quarter unfolds. Stay the evening and enjoy the nightlife in one of the Quarters trendiest clubs.

Las Ramblas

Las Ramblas, Ramblas or La Rambla is a street in central Barcelona, lined with trees and bustling with pedestrians; the area is quite renowned for its street performers. The landmark boulevard that runs through the center of Barcelona borders the Gothic Quarter. There are fine examples of art and architecture along Las Ramblas as well as a monument to famous explorer Christopher Columbus. Don’t be surprised if some of the more interesting statues look almost lifelike-they are. Las Ramblas is known for its human statues as well as other interesting sites. Definitely a “can’t miss” attraction in Barcelona.

Mercado de la Boqueria

The Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria is known locally as La Boqueria. It is a large public market in the Ciutat Vella district and is one of Barcelona’s foremost landmarks. La Boqueria boasts several stalls of specialty goods such as olives, seafood, fresh produce, meats, cheeses and the like.

La Boqueria is a great place to watch the action as it hustles and bustles with visitors from all over the world. Stop at one of the bars along the way or a snack or a meal and a few glasses of wine. Quite a lovely way to pause as you make your way around the captivating city of Barcelona.

Passeig de Gracia

The Passeig de Gracia is a major avenue in Barcelona, one that is known for shopping, business and architecture. The avenue links the historic city center with the more independent Gracia neighborhood. Along the way there are luxury shops like Massimo Dutti and even a museum that pays homage to the history of perfume. Casa Battló is also located in the area of Passeig de Gracia.

Placa de Espanya

In 1929 the city of Barcelona hosted an event called the Universal Exhibition. The event had a significant impact on the city and among the many works carried out to accommodate so many visitors was construction of a square, the Placa de Espanya.

The square is the second largest in Spain. It features a fountain with ornamental statues meant to represent the three main rivers that cross the Iberian peninsula, the Ebro, the Tajo and the Guadalquivir. There are statues above the fountain depicting several historical figures. Two bell towers mark the entrance to the Avenida Reina María Cristina which leads to another Placa de Carles Buïgas, location of the popular Magic Fountain known for its display of light, music and animation.

Barcelona is a great addition to any pre or post trip in Spain.