Visiting Barcelona: 5 Must-See Sights
1. La Sagrada Família
There are many buildings in this city that one should absolutely visit, but I would say La Sagrada Família cathedral tops the list due to its majesty. It was designed by an architect from Catalonia—Antoni Gaudí—who was known for his highly individualised style of architecture.
The cathedral has three grand facades, all with extremely refined carvings. And that's just the outside. When you enter the cathedral, the beauty is beyond words. The aisles, pillars, walls, stairways and windows are all very unique and detailed. During the day, the interior of the church is illuminated with colourful lights when the sunlight shines through the stained-glass windows.
The cathedral is still under construction and is expected to be finished in 2026. It is going to be the tallest church in the world once it's completely built, with a height of 172 metres. However, you can still plan a visit now. Most of the parts are already established and I can assure you that you would not regret it. Get your ticket online to skip all the queues!
2. La Pedrera (a.k.a Casa Milà)
Barcelona is home to many other attractions designed by Gaudí. I personally love La Pedrera, or Casa Milà, a lot. This building was once a private residence, commissioned by Pere Milà and his wife in 1906.
The interiors and the furniture are still kept intact to display to tourists, but to me, the roof and the chimneys are the most special. They are very creepy, yet creative. The chimneys are covered by fragments of marbles and broken tiles. One of them is covered by glass pieces from champagne bottles. Buy your ticket online to save €3 and skip long queues. If you are a student you get a better discount!
3. Park Güell
This is another famous landmark of Barcelona! Initially, it was intended to serve as a private residential park but ended up becoming the property of the government. The architect is no one other than our renowned Antoni Gaudí.
When he laid his hand upon this piece of land, it turned into a vibrant park replete with colonnaded footpaths, serpentine benches, viaducts, artificial bird nests, mosaics and tiles, and of course trees and flowers. Walk up the stairways to the hilltop to get a panoramic view. It is a perfect blend of the natural and the artificial, and it attracts millions of visitors each year. Book tickets online in advance because they are limited!
4. Casa Batlló
Next is Casa Batlló, another masterpiece by Gaudí. It has been renovated several times, and the locals call it Casa dels ossos, which means House of Bones, due to its skeleton-style design.
It is situated in Passeig de Gràcia, which is one of the major avenues in Barcelona, and can be easily spotted because of its outstanding exteriors. To me, the most intriguing parts are the ceiling that looks like water wave and, of course, the roof.
The roof is arched and it has a shape like the back of a fish or dragon. The whole building gives the feeling of being underwater. When you start from the bottom, the ceramic walls are a white colour, and as you slowly ascend, it begins to turn darker. When you reach the top, you see cobalt blue walls. Amazing, isn't it?
5. Montserrat Monastery
If you have extra time in Barcelona, you can take a train to Montserrat monastery, which is approximately one hour away by train. It is located roughly 48km west of Barcelona.
If you are more of a nature person, this is the perfect place for a short getaway after visiting Barcelona. It is a place for hiking and forgetting life's problems. There is an information centre there where you can get advice and choose your hiking trails.
I recommend the hike to Sant Jeroni, which is the highest point of Montserrat. From there, you can overlook almost the whole Catalonia region. I suggest you stay for one day. The views are superb and breathtaking. Inhale fresh air and exhale bad air!
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© 2018 Eng Kheng