Ah, Barcelona. I didn't know much about the place when we planned our trip, but I turned out to be overwhelmed with how great the place was.  The history, the food, the climate, the people - it was all amazing and has turned Barcelona into one of my top destinations.

You can read up on the city on any good travel site so I won't dwell on a lot of history here, especially since this trip was in May, 2009, and things have undoubtedly changed since we visited.  But we hope they haven't changed much, because we want to go back badly.

Here's some things we saw over 4 days.  In addition to what you see here, we also ate some tremendous food, drank some fantastic wine, ate some incredible cured meats and cheeses, and had one of the most relaxing stays we have ever had.  We also really enjoyed seeing the Catalunya region, and how independent they see themselves being from the rest of Spain. 

In the Old Town, down by the water, is the Maritime Museum.  Built on an old medieval shipyard, they cover a lot of great seafaring history, and have a replica of a Spanish Galleon, such as might have been sailed by Christopher Columbus, who made Barcelona his first stop on his way back from discovering North America.

An old port-o-lan chart.  The museum has one used by Amerigo Vespuccio from around 1439, but I can't recall if this is it or not.

The galleon replica.  As I write this in 2012, the shipyard area is closed for renovation but will be open sometime later this year, so go see it once it's open again.  Next to that is the very large column commemorating the spot where Columbus landed in Barcelona.

The beach area of Old Town is pretty awesome as well.  For a few euros you can rent a beach chair and relax right on the Med.  In the first photo is looking southwest toward the new W hotel which was under construction at the time.

This is looking back at the beach from a cable car which runs from the beach area up to the Montjuic area, where the Castell de Montjuic (castle) is.  It's now a military museum.

There's an old roman wall-

The gothic Basilica of Santa Maria Del Mar:

Barcelona Cathedral, where in the crypt is the sarcophagus of St. Eulalia, a 4th century martyr.


The cathedral has their own flock of geese in the cloister. There are apparently always 13 resident geese, one for each year of the life of St. Eulalia.

We thought the electronic prayer candles were an interesting modern twist.

Impressive tombs.

You can also take a pleasant afternoon cruise on a catamaran.  While a nice day trip, best not to get too fixated on going on any particular day - the tickets booth was never quite open when it said it would be, so we weren't sure until the last day if we were going to be able to get out.

There's a really nice aquarium- you can't miss it with its golden roof. 

Even the old port bulding looks awesome at sunset:

By the maritime museum is this marker commemorating an accident involving the USS Guam (LPH-9) in Barcelona, in which 49 sailors died.

Walking around Barceloneta, the port, makes for a nice afternoon as well.  The third-best beach in the world is here (according to Discovery) and also has a lot of great restaurants and nightclubs.

Finally, just a big open area where you can just hang out and relax.  This photo to me exemplifies the relaxed, pleasant lifestyle of Barcelona.

Moving north from the port area, the main route is a pedestrian mall called the Ramblas, which is a great place for a bite to eat, to shop, or just take a nice stroll.  Exploring the streets off of there leads to old windy roads and some fantastic plazas where you can also get a bite to eat, shop, or just relax.


One stop on the Ramblas is La Boqueria, an open-air shopping center where you can get amazing fresh foods, ideal for taking back to the hotel for a nice dinner after a long day of walking.

A famous cafe is just off the north end of the Ramblas, the 4Cats, founded in 1897, was a popular place for Modernist artists, such as Picasso. 

Moving further north into Barcelona is the Eixample area, or the "extension" area, which started being built in the late 1800's.  The famous architect Antonio Gaudi designed quite a few buildings in this area, including some of his most famous.  His designs take a lot of organic forms, as you'll see:

One of these is the UNESCO World Heritage site Casa Mila:


Another unique building is Casa Battlo, which has a skeleton-like appearance:

One of Gaudi's grandest and most unique is the UNESCO World Heritage site Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family, better known as La Sagrada Familia.  Started in 1882, it is expected to be completed around 2026.  They've made a lot of progress since work started up in earnest in the mid-50's. 



I believe these columns and the ceiling have since been painted.


Gaudi took inspiration from the nautilus shell: 

This is what it's supposed to look like when it's completed.

Here's a view of the Sagrada Familia from the Montjuic area:

Although I have no pictures from there, the Museo Picasso has a lot of interesting works of Picasso and is definitely worth a stop.

While we were in Barcelona, the 2009 UEFA Champions League final game was being played in Rome between , known as Barça, and Manchester United.  I don't know much about soccer but I do know how zealous Europeans can be about their football, so we were expecting a memorable time whether Barça won or lost.


So that's a quick tour through Barcelona.  There's plenty more to see than what I've shown here.  We had a fantastic trip and can't wait to get back again soon!