Hugging the eastern coast of Spain, Barcelona’s organized grid of streets gives way to a number of delightful tourist attractions in the open. The Catalonian capital has a reputation as a bustling urban center, filled with renowned architecture, gourmet restaurants, lively clubs, and a thriving nightlife. Yet visitors won’t have to look far to enjoy the sights that the city has to offer while taking in the city’s fresh sea air.
Park Guell is a well-known and well-visited Barcelona landmark in the portfolio of renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, whose buildings line Barcelona’s streets and draw hordes of tourists to the city. A World Heritage Site, the park was completed in 1914 after 14 years of construction. Gaudi designed the complex during his Naturalist phase, when he was most inspired by shapes found in nature. A steep walk uphill gives way to the massive park, and the views of Barcelona’s perfectly gridded streets are hard to beat. Between the panoramas awaiting you and Gaudi’s unique architecture, it’s difficult to say what lingers most after your Barcelona trip.
Standing proudly at 60 m (197 ft), the Columbus Monument marks the lower end of La Rambla, a bustling pedestrian zone in the city’s core. Built in honor of the explorer, who is widely given credit for discovering the New World, the monument commemorates the visit Columbus paid to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella upon returning from his historic journey. Atop the monument, the figure of Columbus points south, towards Algeria, although many mistakenly believe he is gesturing in the direction of his discovery. Crane your neck upwards to catch the adventurer in the sun, and then enjoy the sights awaiting you on La Rambla.
Rambla del Mar
Running through Barcelona’s core, Rambla del Mar holds the pulse of the city on its leafy streets. From Placa de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument, follow the crowds from one street performer to the next. There are few better ways to get a feel for the city and soak up Catalan culture than with a stroll down the city’s popular avenue.
Easily one of the most popular beaches in Barcelona for tourists and locals alike, Barceloneta Beach attracts a loyal fan base with its soft sand, warm water, and fresh fish dishes. Visit the beach to while away a relaxing day under the gentle sun, the Mediterranean lapping at your sun-dappled toes. Not just for sunbathers, the beach offers facilities for games like volleyball and table tennis to test your athletic prowess, if swimming out to sea isn’t enough. You may not expect to find modern art on the shore, but it’s here nonetheless: monuments and sculptures adorn the golden sands. Plan your Barcelona vacation to spend a few days here.
Passeig del Born
A colorful pedestrian avenue with a not-so-subtle hint of medieval flair, Passeig del Born fills with people day and night to admire the street’s vibrant bars and charming architecture. Flanked by the Born Market on one end and the church of Santa Maria del Mar on the other, the avenue has an air of the Barcelona of days gone by. Once host to tournaments, jousting matches, and Holy Week processions, today the avenue is lined with vendors and lively cafes.
Under the Barcelona Sun
As a city famed for the unique architecture that forms the urban core, it’s no wonder there’s no shortage of things to do outdoors. From marveling at Gaudi’s work to swimming in the Mediterranean, Barcelona was built to be explored outside. So use an itinerary planner and when it comes to taking a load off and enjoying a glass of cava, you’ll catch locals spilling out of the bars and into the city streets.