The Laberinto de Horta (Horta Labyrinth) is a classical park, the oldest in Barcelona and also one of the less known.
The entrance fee is 2€, but it is free of charge on Wednesdays and Sundays. At the entrance you can see the house where the owners, the marquis of Llupià i Alfarrà and his family used to live in the 18th century, when it was still a farm and you would get there by carriage, two hours away from Barcelona. Now it is next to the Vall d'Hebron hospital, completely inside the city, next to the cycle track built for the Olympic games.
There is a small garden, which used to be the most delicate garden, with roses and all types of exotic trees coming from Asia or America and would wow the guests, and then there's the park, with its famous labyrinth.
It is where the movie "Perfume: The Story of a Murderer" was shot. There are many movies shooting there, as the city of Barcelona accepts it and the money helps maintain the gardens.
The house is now in ruins and they aren't sure what to do with it. Apart from the labyrinth, there are other parts of the park, like the theme parks that used to entertain the guests who would come to stay for several weeks.
There is a "romantic" canal, with swans and boats, a small room on top of it all to have tea in the summer, a part where they would grow fruit and vegetable, an artificial waterfall, etc. They look after it very well and it is very quiet, perfect for taking a break from the noisy city.
The harbor of Barcelona is one of the most important in the Mediterranean. As much in the transportation of goods as in the transportation of people, it's also the starting and supply point of many cruises and passenger liners. Situated next to the duty-free zone and with a direct access to the center of Barcelona, it is an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city without losing the privilege of having everything close by: The Maremagnum, business centers (like the Barcelona World Trade Center, just next to the harbor) or more remote places to relax.
I personally prefer going to the port for a walk, sit down to look at the sea and the boats, I think it is a spot to relax, take a break when walking around Barcelona.
During the trip I did with my friends not long ago, we were told to go and see the museum mostly for the views. Once up there, before even entering the museum the panoramic view is incredible, like a sea of buildings :)
We went in the afternoon and the fountains were turned off, at night they are turned on and are illuminated and the atmosphere is much more of a daydream than during the rest of the day (but it is anyway very beautiful). While you're climbing up, the museum progressively becomes bigger, more imposing, lovely :)
The Passeig de Gràcia is a wide avenue which runs through the center of Barcelona and some of its most important neighborhoods. The richest families in Barcelona settled here when it was first built and, to show off their wealth, they commissioned homes by architects like Gaudi, Domenech i Montaner and Puig. These three architects each have a house on the same block, which was a bone of contention as the owners fought to have the most beautiful and most modern house. The Casa Batllo is one of Gaudi's most famous buildings and is now owned by a private organisation. Entry costs 16 euros, and is well worth it for the tons of information you can get from the audio guide. A little further up, on the right, is La Pedrera, another wonderful Gaudi home that now belongs to the Caixa Catalunya Foundation and costs 8 euros to visit. In the summer, they have concerts on the roof, and tickets are just 7 euros with a glass of champagne (make sure to book in advance!). On Sundays, the luxury shops on Passeig de Gracia are closed, but you'll still see plenty of people!
A few minutes away from the Rambla of Barcelona, there is one of the trendiest neighborhood in the entire city: el Born. This medieval neighborhood is now the epicenter of good nightlife in the Catalan capital. Shops with style, restaurants with signature cuisine and tapas, elegant cafés and cultural life, everything to make you feel good. It's the place for those who think they have both a refined and relaxed taste, the casual chic center of Barcelona.
On the Born walk, apart from clothes and food shops, there are some small benches on which only sitting down is a nice experience, eating a good ice cream of those you find around while having a light conversation.
You can also get good pizza slices and there are gourmet shops. However, not everything in this neighborhood walk is superfluous and pretentious, in Moncada street there are good museums like the one dedicated to Picasso and art galleries. In the winding small streets there are small shops of emerging designers and small galleries of underground artists, a delight of a neighborhood!
At 500 meters high, it dominates the hill of Tibidabo Barcelona. It has an amusement park, but it is more for kids than for adults, there is a park to have a stroll, and for those who like hiking, from there you can choose many ways to Collserolla National Park. By bike you can go up the funicular Vallvidrera, and go up to the park. Pedestrians reach the Tibidabo funicular, which does not enter the transport T10 Barcelona, and is an old funicular taken at the end of the avenue of Tibidabo, a tramway up to the funicular station. It can also be reached by funicular Vallvidrera, which passes the 111 bus that gets to the square of Tibidabo. The church of Christ with open arms is similar to the Sugar Loaf in Brazil, but is made up of 2 churches, one above the other. The park is filled on the weekends, people with kids who come for the park, it is hard to park and best reached by public transport. There are a couple of restaurants, a viewpoint. I recommend it mostly at night, you can see the vibrant city, and also to get to ride a bike or walk through the park of Collserola, to be found in nature within half an hour from the heart of Barcelona.
Full of contrasts, seducing and vibrant, the dark and the sordid at the same time, El Raval is a dificult-to-describe place. The neighborhood, located out of the walls of Barcelona destroyed at the end of the 20th century, used to house the city's red light district in its southern part.
Nowadays, walking in El Raval means entering a world where students, artists, illegal immigrants and prostitutes live together.
This fascinating diversity is marked by the presence of the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art), the CCCB (exhibition center) and art galleries, cool shops of alternative clothing, bookshops like 'Central' and restaurants and bars with a great atmospheres. I must admit, I find this area of Barcelona especially appealing, even though the place - especially in the southern zone- is full of police and you have to be careful because of the pickpockets.
The idea of building a temple up in the mountain of the Tibidabo was born in the 19th century. The Holy Hear Temple was started in 1902 and finished in 1961. It is a huge building of neo-Gothic style and crowned by a bronze statue of the Holy Heart. A lift allows climbing to the higher part of the temple where you can enjoy some fantastic views of Barcelona. It this building the entrance of Baroque style stands out. The attractions park of the Tibidabo is just next to the temple.
This former bullring which has been converted into a shopping centre is undoubtedly a point of reference for contemporary architecture. From the restaurant and viewpoint there are exquisite views of the great highway, of Montjuich and of Eixample in Barcelona. On the ground floor there is another restaurant and there are various boutiques, in fact on the 3rd floor there are cinemas, a spa and a museum. But the views are what will impress.
The MACBA is the Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona, in El Raval, behind the University of Catalunya and the Contemporary Culture Center of Barcelona, the CCCB.
It is a very big, modern and pleasant museum, standing out for its large white facade. The museum is opened during the summer from Monday to Friday between 11 am and 8 pm and closes at midnight on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The entrance fee to the MACBA collection costs 3€, and the best part of it is that this ticket is valid for a duration of one month during which you can go in and out as many times as you want.
Perfect to spend an hour at the end of the day, relaxed, go back home without having to assimilate too much information. There are days the museum is free, you can check it on their website, like the day after the opening of an exhibition for example.
The museum was created in the sixties but the project of this big contemporary art museum dates back from 1985. What I like about it is that it is very well integrated into the city, not like the typical cold and sad museum.
The Maremagnum creation in the mid-nineties revived the seafront of Barcelona and allowed the Moll de la Fusta to remain united with the Muelle de España, via a footbridge.
This footbridge, called Rambla de Mar, has an undulating designed because it spins to let boats in and out of the marina.
For the people of Barcelona, it's a familiar image to see people stopped in front of the traffic lights while the footbridge spins to let the boats through.
I usually don't like hospitals, but it is without a doubt a privilege to walk through the buildings of Sant Pau hospital and a proof architecture can be beautiful and functional at the same time.
At the origin of this great hospital, located in Sant Pere Mes Alt street, is the donation of the banker Pau Gil to build a hospital that would cover all the medical necessities at the best level.
If you have a chance to see this spot, be sure to see the inside and the outside as it is a good representation of modern Catalan art. Enjoy a concert that interests you, I went to see Buika, and the building has a different perspective if you do like sightseeing. It's worth paying to see a play and create the atmosphere for their lighting, acoustics. It is small and cozy. If you can, get tickets for the pit area on the first floor, downtown, the best views. Very nice experience.
The people who live in Gracia don't say "I'm from Barcelona", they say very proudly "I'm from Gracia."
If there is something that has defined this lovely neighborhood is that at the end of the 19th century it was an independent village, this is why nowadays the community remains small and almost closed as if it could be self sustainable and independent.
Inhabited by artists and bohemians, the neighborhood, the center of which is Plaça de Sol, has recently seen many delicious restaurants of fusion and alternative food. The charm of Gracia lies in the 'modernity' that lives in its lifelong inhabitants, of very traditional customs. Old bookshops, old bars and typical grocery stores form the pleasant landscape where the 'moderns' with eccentric hairstyle and strange clothing walk.
One of Barcelona's great sports for a walk, good food and, or just sitting down and taking it all in.