Barcelona is quirky, cosmopolitan and effortlessly cool. With its relaxed pace of life, breath-taking architecture, fantastic gastronomy, and unbeatable climate, it really is the city that has everything.
Some of the sights found within 5 to 20 minutes from the Summit hotel
A great way to discover what Barcelona has to offer and decide what holds your interest for a follow-up visit, is to take an open top city bus tour.
Or you can rent a scooter, or a bike, take the tram or the metro.
But there’s no doubt that walking around this beautiful city is the best way to do your exploring. What about a walking tour of the city? You can go on a Gaudi Tour; Markets and Foodies Tour; Night Markets Tour; Old Town and Gothic Quarter Tour – the list is endless. A new type of tour has taken off in Barcelona in the last few years. Tours are “free” – you just give your guide what you think is a fair tip at the end.
Undoubtedly the place to visit during your time in Barcelona.
The big travel tip to Summit delegates if you want to visit Antoni Gaudí’s extraordinary church – a UNESCO World Heritage site – is to book your ticket before you leave home. The alternative is a long queue. The Sagrada Familia is funded by the people, just as Gaudí wanted it to be. Proceeds from each ticket go towards the construction after more than 130 years. When completed, the highest tower will be more than half as high again as those that stand today. Here’s a link to book your ticket.
Casa Batlló is one of the two great buildings designed by Antoni Gaudí on Passeig de Gràcia, the other being La Pedrera.
From the outside the façade of Casa Batlló looks like it has been made from skulls and bones. The “Skulls” are in fact balconies and the “bones” are supporting pillars.
Gaudí used colours and shapes found in marine life as inspiration for his creativity in this building e.g. the colours chosen for the façade are those found in natural coral, the building rising to an uneven blue-tiled roof with a solitary tower.
This undulating beast is another madcap Gaudí masterpiece, built in 1905–10 as a combined apartment and office block. Formally called Casa Milà, after the businessman who commissioned it, it is better known as La Pedrera (the Quarry) because of its uneven grey stone facade, which ripples around the corner of Carrer de Provença.
Park Güell is one of the major works of Gaudí in Barcelona. Located in the upper part of Barcelona, you can enjoy a fantastic green walk surrounded by modernist works and with wonderful views of the city.
La Boquería is the best-known market in Barcelona and has become somewhat of a tourist attraction thanks to its location on the bustling La Rambla. Some of the food can be more expensive that other city markets but the space is La Boqueria is still an essential stop for every visitor.
Barcelona’s central place of worship presents a magnificent image. The richly decorated main facade, laced with gargoyles and the stone intricacies you would expect of northern European Gothic, sets it quite apart from other churches in Barcelona. The facade was actually added in 1870, although the rest of the building was built between 1298 and 1460. The other facades are sparse in decoration, and the octagonal, flat-roofed towers are a clear reminder that, even here, Catalan Gothic architectural principles prevailed.
The Quarters of Barcelona (Rough Guide)
There’s no finer place for lunch on a sunny day than Barceloneta, an eighteenth-century neighbourhood of tightly packed streets with the harbour on one side and a beach on the other. It was laid out in 1755 – a classic eighteenth-century grid of streets where previously there had been mudflats – and the long, narrow streets are still very much as they were planned, broken at intervals by small squares and lined with multi-windowed houses.
The Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, forms the very heart of the old town, spreading out from the east side of the Ramblas. It’s a remarkable concentration of medieval buildings principally dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, when Barcelona reached the height of its commercial prosperity before being absorbed into the burgeoning kingdom of Castile. It takes the best part of a day to see everything here, with the cathedral – La Seu – a particular highlight, and you certainly won’t want to miss the archeological remains at the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat or the eclectic collections of the Museu Frederic Marès
The vast nineteenth-century street grid north of Plaça de Catalunya is the city’s main shopping and business district. It was designed as part of a revolutionary urban plan – the Eixample in Catalan (pronounced aye-sham-pla, the “Extension” or “Widening”) – that divided districts into regular blocks, whose characteristic wide streets and shaved corners survive today.
The closest neighbourhood to the Eixample – was a village for much of its early existence before being annexed as a city suburb in the late nineteenth century. There’s still a genuine small-town atmosphere here, very distinct from the old-town neighbourhoods, while Gràcia’s vibrant cultural scene and nightlife counters the notion that Barcelona begins and ends on the Ramblas. It’s a great place to wander the narrow, gridded streets, or visit one of the excellent local bars or restaurants, and you’ll soon get the feel of the original neighbourhood.
South of Sant Pere, across c/de la Princesa, La Ribera sports Barcelona’s biggest single tourist attraction, the Museu Picasso. The sheer number of visitors in this neighbourhood rivals the busiest streets of the Barri Gòtic, and this has had a knock-on effect in terms of the bars, shops and restaurants found here. La Ribera is at its most hip, and most enjoyable, in the area around the Passeig del Born, the elongated square leading from Santa María church to the old Born market