Home » 2019 Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Monday, June 17, 2019 - 8:15am by Lolo
66 miles and 1.5 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


Parc de la Ciutadella's "Cascada," an ornamental fountain designed by GaudiParc de la Ciutadella's "Cascada," an ornamental fountain designed by GaudiIt had all come full circle and we were back in Motel One in Barcelona where our journey had begun. We had arrived four weeks ago - two wide-eyed, enthusiastic tourists ready to take on Spain. Those eyes were a bit wearier now after a pretty fast-paced month, but our enthusiasm for this lovely country had not diminished.

We had briefly considered staying in an airport hotel for our last night, but it’s so convenient getting to the airport from the city that we decided it would be much more fun to return to Barcelona.

During our 4-day stay at the beginning, we had covered a lot of ground, but there were still a few things we had missed.

View from our hotel rooftop in BarcelonaView from our hotel rooftop in BarcelonaOne of those was the Parc de la Ciutadella (Citadel Park), literally right across the street from our hotel. This lovely green oasis is Barcelona’s largest park and the site of the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition, Spain’s first International World’s Fair.

So, we decided to take a stroll. One of the most beautiful things in the park is the ornamental fountain, known as “Cascada.” It was designed by the then unknown architect, Antoni Gaudi, who went on to make such a big mark on this city’s incredible architecture. His signature winged dragons guard the fountain.

Just beyond the fountain is a lovely little lake where you can rent rowboats. There is also a zoo, an art museum, a greenhouse, and a winter garden to explore.

Goodbye lovely BarcelonaGoodbye lovely BarcelonaWe continued on through the park and eventually wound up on the Barceloneta again, Barcelona’s fabulous man-made beach, where Barcelonians like to recreate.

There were so many places to eat by the Barceloneta and Parc, but we decided to try a quieter neighborhood. Herb looked on TripAdvisor and found a highly rated "creative cuisine" just a short walk from our Motel. It was quite tasty and the ambiance was nice.

When we got back at the hotel, we decided to check out the second thing we had missed on our first visit here - the incredible rooftop bar atop Motel One. Why didn’t we know about this before?? There were dozens of comfy chairs and couches to sit on, and the views of the city were phenomenal. It was magical during the golden hour.

A fitting ending to a really wonderful trip.


While I will not attempt to do an in-depth description of all Barcelona has to offer -- there are numerous guidebooks to do just that -- the following are some interesting sites that we enjoyed:

Las Ramblas pedestrian mall - one hour stroll from Playa de Catalunya to the La Rambla del Mar on the waterfront

  • Broad pedestrian boulevard with souvenir hawkers, street artists, mimes, living statues, cafes, and shops
  • More charming in the morning - grab breakfast at a market cafe
  • Along the way:
    • Fountain of Canaletes - ornate black and gold lamp post with a fountain at its base. Legend says that a drink from it ensures you will return to Barcelona one day
    • Wavy tile work - represents the stream that once flowed here
    • Look up to see the city’s characteristic shallow balconies with floor to ceiling windows
    • Chairs fixed to the sidewalk at jaunty angles
    • Betlem Church - 17th century Baroque church with sloping roofline, ball-topped pinnacles, corkscrew columns
    • Rambla of Flowers - flower stands
    • La Boqueria Market
    • Plaça de la Boqueria - here you will see the Joan Miro mosaic in red, white, yellow, and blue
    • Plaça Reial - dotted with palm trees and surrounded by yellow buildings with white trim this placa has old-fashioned taverns as well as modern bars with patio seating
    • Palau Guell - apartment building designed by Antoni Gaudi. This was the first of his Modernista buildings, and you can see his emerging nonlinear style in the arches and doorways
    • Christopher Columbus monument
    • Rambla del Mar - wavy wooden walkway along the waterfront

Barri Gotic (Historic Gothic Quarter) walk - 1.5 hour self-guided tour from Placa de Catalunya to Placa del Rei

  • Stroll the narrow Medieval lanes of Barcelona’s enchanting old quarter
  • Relics of ancient Rome, 14th century Gothic churches, cobblestone lanes lined with shops, bars, and restaurants
  • Along the way:
    • Avinguda del Portal de l’Angel - once a major city gate. The angel statue atop the gate was said to keep Barcelonans safe from plagues and bid voyagers a safe journey
    • Church of Santa Ana - 12th century Catalan Gothic church
    • Els Quatre Gats - circa 1900 bohemian artist hangout, where Picasso had his first one-man show
    • Playa Nova - flanked by two Roman towers that once guarded the entrance ate of the ancient Roman city of Barcino
    • Barcelona Cathedral - 14th century Flamboyant-style (donation entrance 7 euros)
      • Sardana dances, patriotic dance in which Barcelonans link hands and dance in a circle - on Sunday at 11:15 and many Saturdays at 18:00
    • Casa del Ardiaca - old mansion that now functions as the city archives
      • Carved mail slot (right of door) carved by a 19th century Modernista architect
      • From the courtyard, climb to the balcony for views of the cathedral steeple and gargoyles
    • Jewish quarter (El Call) - walk along the narrow passages and alleys where 4,000 Jews were forced to live
    • Ruins of Roman Temple of Augustus - site where Romans founded the town of Barcino in 12 BC
    • Placa del Rei - reminders of Barcelona’s medieval Golden Age


  • Traditional fishing neighborhood with gritty charm and good seafood restaurants
  • Gorgeous man-made beach several miles long
  • Stroll 4.5 km promenade - from La Estrella Herida to Peix
    • La Estrella Herida - Contemporary 33-ft. beach sculpture of 4 stacked leaning steel cubes with windows, by Rebecca Horn.
    • Peix (Fish) - giant copper-like Peix (Fish) sculpture by Frank Gehry glitters in the sunlight

La Sagrada Familia - Antoni Gaudi’s grand masterpiece

  • Located in Eixample residential neighborhood, 1.5 miles north of Placa de Catalunya
  • Hours: Mon - Sat 9:00 am - 8:00 pm; Sun 10:30 am - 8:00 pm)
  • Timed-entry tickets - buy in advance: http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/
  • Gaudi labored on the Sagrada Familia for 43 years, from 1883 until his death in 1926. Work continued after his death and the church is expected to be finished in 2026 (a century after his death)
  • Exterior
    • Currently there are eight 330-foot spires topped with crosses. When completed there will be 18 - 12 representing the apostles, (over the three entrances), 4 taller ones representing the evangelists, an even higher one designated for the Virgin Mary, and the final 18th one, which will be the highest one in the middle, representing Jesus Christ
    • The three facades - Nativity, Passion, and Glory, will chronicle Christ’s life from Birth, to crucifixion, to resurrection. Only the Nativity Facade was completed during Gaudi’s lifetime. The Passion Facade was completed in 2006, and the Glory Facade is still under construction
  • Interior
    • Floor plan is that of a Latin cross, 300 feet long and 200 feet wide - large enough to ultimately accommodate 8,000 worshippers
    • The roof is held up by 56 tree-like columns, complete with branches and leaves, creating the effect of a forest canopy
    • Sunlight filtering through stained glass windows creates a hypnotic, magical effect of a dappled rainforest canopy. Morning light shines in through blues, greens, and other cool colors, while evening light flows in reds, oranges and other warm tones.

Park Guell - Gaudi’s most ambitious project after Sagrada Familia

  • 30 minute walk from Sagrada Familia
  • Fanciful and playful space - two Hansel and Gretel gatehouses, dragon guarding a whimsical staircase, wavy benches, and a panoramic view terrace supported by a forest of columns
  • Located 2 miles (uphill) to the northwest of Sagrada Familia
  • Much of the park is free, except for the Monumental Zone where all the iconic Gaudi features are

L’Eixample - heart of Barcelona’s Modernista architectural movement

  • Located north of the Old City
  • Modernista - Free-flowing organic style that lasted from 1888 to 1906. It is characterized by wave-like curves, asymmetry, brightly colored glass and tile, and vegetal and other organic motifs
  • Block of Discord - two of Gaudi’s colorful Modernista facades on Passeig de Gracia near the Metro stop)
    • Casa Batllo - designed by Gaudi at his hallucinatory best
      • Wave-shaped window frames and balconies, mushroom-shaped fireplace, and roof topped with a fanciful dragon-inspired roof
      • Open daily from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm (but currently under renovation)
      • Timed entry tickets - buy in advance
    • La Pedrera (Casa Mila) - one of Gaudi’s trademark works and an icon of Modernisme
      • Half hour walk from Park Guell
      • Purist Gaudi interior in Barcelona
      • One of the most notable elements of the building is the roof, crowned with skylights, staircase exits, fans, and chimneys.
      • Open daily from 9:00 am - 8:30 pm
      • Timed-entry ticket - buy in advance http://www.lapedrera.com/es/prepara-la-visita/tarifas

Montjuic - Large hill overlooking the city with Romanesque art, a fort, beautiful gardens, and art galleries and museums

  • Fundacio Joan Miro (closed Mondays) - Barcelona’s best-looking gallery, set among gardens overlooking the city
  • Montjuic Castle - at the top with great views of the city
    • Dating from the late 17th century, for most of its dark history it has been used as a political prison and killing ground
    • Tickets - €5

Picasso Museum - (closed Mondays)

  • Set in five contiguous medieval stone mansions
  • The collection, which includes more than 3500 of his works, concentrates on his formative years (from age 14 to 23) in Barcelona (pre-1904)
  • Tues - Sun 9:00 am - 7:00 pm
  • 12 € for timed-entry ticket (buy ahead of time on the museum website)

Parc de la Ciutadella (Citadel Park) - located in La Ribera section of the city (across the street from Motel One)

  • Site of the 1888 Barcelona Universal Exposition, Spain's first International World's Fair
  • Barcelona’s largest park - its 70-acre grounds include a small lake with rental rowboats, an ornamental fountain (which Antoni Gaudi helped design), the city zoo, a greenhouse, a winter garden, and plenty of green areas to sit and relax

Barcelona location map in "high definition"

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