[This post was made possible by Oh-Barcelona.com]
When you travel, you don’t just learn about the culture of the country you’re visiting, but also about the cultures of the other travelers who you meet on the road. For example, I speak a little German because of all the German friends I made while living in New Zealand, and I have a great collection of Swedish music that I was introduced to by the Swedish girls I lived and traveled with in Australia. The hostels and bus stops and dive bars of the world are strange and interesting mixes of cultures and languages, and they offer a great opportunity to learn about global culture – especially in the world’s greatest and most international cities.
Last week, I wrote about London’s Double Decker Bus Tours – Lpondon is one of my favorite cities in the world, and this week, we’re moving on to another favorite of mine — Barcelona!
Barcelona is a real traveler’s city. People come here from all over the world to experience a bit of Spanish culture, explore the city, and party at some of the fantastic international hot-spots. The main drag of Las Ramblas alone makes the city worth a visit. Here are some of the best things to do in Barcelona:
One of the first thing you’ll see in Barcelona is Las Ramblas – the main drag of the city. The wide, pedestrian-only path is flanked by vendors, artists, and street performers of all types. You’ll be both amazed and shocked by the variety of performers who range from dread-locked Djembe drummers to eccentric artists with props like toilets and trash. The vendors sell everything from cigarettes to canaries in tiny cages, and the hustle and bustle of city-goers and tourists from around the world is certainly a sight to be seen.
Antoni Gaudí’s fantastical architecture is a major tourist draw in Barcelona as well. Gaudi’s unique style is representative of the Modernista movement, and his architectural works are often so surreal, that they are unmistakable. The Sagrada Familia is probably his grandest work, but unfortunately, his life was cut short when he was hit by a tram in 1926 and he was never able to finish it. Still, it is one of the most visited and most photographed monuments in Spain. Perhaps even more impressive is the magical Parc Güell. You’ll be in awe of the looming pillars, sprawling serpentine benches, giant mosaic lizard, and gingerbread houses. It seems like something out of a childhood fantasy, and you’ll feel like a kid, mouth agape, as you stroll through the park snapping endless photos.
There is an endless array of bars and clubs in Barcelona to satisfy your needs for drinks and dancing. Even if you’re not a drinker, be sure to set a side some time to sip on something while people watching along Las Ramblas or in one of the cities plazas. Being such an international city, Barcelona has some of the best people watching in the world.
There are plenty of cheap hostels in Barcelona, as well as budget pensiones with cheap, private rooms. But with so much to see in this city, you might consider renting an apartment in Barcelona if you want to stay a bit longer, especially if you’re traveling with a small group or significant other. You can usually rent short term and can find some real gems in and around the city.