Gaudi's impressive architecture, which includes the Parc Güell and the still unfinished Sagrada Família
Take a leisurely stroll on the sun-drenched beaches or indulge in water sports like wind surfing and sailing
Paella: A rice dish cooked with meat and seafood
Tapas: A wide variety of appetizers (veg and non-veg), or snacks, which can be served cold or hot
A common scam in Barcelona involves fake police officers, usually claiming to be "undercover"
The city beaches, particularly the ones adjoining Barceloneta, have proven to be quite lucrative for bag snatchers
Barcelona has 12 abandoned metro stations, and they are haunted
If you think of Flamenco and bullfighting when you think of Barcelona, then you don’t even know half the story. Barcelona, capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, stands out from the rest of Spain with a culture and pride of its own (FYI: Bullfights have been banned in Catalonia since 2011).
If you’ve never been to this vibrant city, here are five reasons to plan a trip now:
#1 The Architecture
Antoni Gaudi, the renowned Spanish architect is single handedly responsible for setting the Barcelona landscape apart from any other city in the world. The art and science behind his whimsical modernism is reason enough to visit Barcelona. Take a night tour of La Padrera, photograph the iconic balconies of the Casa Batlló, stroll around his former residence at the Parc Guell, and finally feast your eyes on his masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia. This magnificent opus was so ambitious it was not completed in Gaudi’s lifetime and remains unfinished to this day. It is scheduled to be completed in 2026, marking 100 years since Gaudi’s death.
If Gaudi doesn’t blow you away, walk through the fascinating Gothic Quarter and El Born for a taste of other styles that give Barcelona its unique character.
#2 The Food
Barcelona’s food scene is creative and eclectic, fusing Catalan and Spanish traditions with global and cutting-edge techniques and flavours. Ten years ago, vegetarians would have struggled in Barcelona with most dishes centered around pork and red meat. Today, you will find both Spanish favourites such as Paella and Tapas, along with innovative takes on vegetables, meats and grains, and a host of Michelin-starred restaurants to boot. Special mention in the food category to the hottest new addition to Barcelona’s food scene ,El Nacional; Catalan chocolate at Vioko; and Spanish olives served and sold all over the city!
#3 The Style
Barcelona is a stylish city, no question about it. Aesthetics matter, whether it’s in the structures, menus, or couture. Barcelona has a highly innovative set of fashion designers who can hold their own with the Gucci’s and Prada’s of the world, at a fraction of the cost. If you want a ‘Fifth Avenue experience’, head to Passeig de Gracia,where most global brands have a presence. But for the truly discerning, on the lookout for unique treasures from local designers, a trip to the local boutiques in El Born is a must. Make sure to plan wine breaks at the many bars and cafes in the area.
#4 The Beach
Amongst the many attractions that the city has to offer, there are the beautiful beaches. Barcelona is a great to visit any time of year but it takes on whole different persona during the summer season, with waterfront restaurants and never ending parties. Rent a bike and cruise around the boardwalk or lounge at one of the many beach shacks along the main strip.
#5 FC Barcelona
Your trip to Barcelona is incomplete till you have visited Camp Nou, home of the famous Futbol Club Barcelona, or Barça as it is popularly known.Take a tour of the stadium and museum to relive historic moments from football history. Games run throughout the year and bars and restaurants all over the city are packed with fiery fans. You can even get your name printed on a FCB football jersey at kiosks across the city, or better still from the gift shop in Camp Nou club store.
So whether you're a fan of the arts or sports, of urban buzz or seaside bliss, Barcelona is the city for you. Enjoy this colourful destination all through the year, and treat every one of your senses to an unforgettable experience.
Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan is an avid traveller and founder of Momaboard.com, a community for traveling families. Kaamna has been to several cities across the globe and the list keeps on growing. She has lived in India, Australia, the US, and currently resides in London, UK.