Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, this vibrant city is a major tourist hotspot. It is one of the most visited cities in Spain with 20 million tourists each year. That is a lot of visitors in addition to the 1.7 million residents living within the administrative limits of the city. It comes to no surprise why so many people flock to this destination. The city has so much to offer. It doesn’t matter if you are a party-goer, culture lover, adventurer, or architecture aficionado; there is an overwhelming variety of places to visit and things to do. Additionally, the weather is pleasant all year long which is a huge incentive for those who do not enjoy cold climates. I visited Barcelona with my husband and my 4 years old daughter at the end of May. It is my understanding that spring and autumn are ideal because the summer months bring more crowds along with increased heat and humidity.
Place to Stay
We spent one week in Barcelona, however in my opinion less time is needed but with a young child it gave us the opportunity to visit the city without having to rush. We had some downtime and were able to fit everything we wanted to see within that time frame. After extensive online research, I decided to book our stay at Murmuri Residence Mercader because they offered small apartments with all the comfort of home. Our apartment was located a few steps away from La Rambla which is the most famous street in Barcelona. Although we were close to the hustle and bustle of the city, the apartment was still tucked away in a safe and quiet area. The place included a little kitchenette and most importantly a washer/dryer. This appliance is particularly important when you are traveling for an extended period of time. In addition, we also had a gorgeous balcony where we spent the majority of our time after we retired for the day.
Four Landmarks in Barcelona
Before getting into landmarks, I want to point out that we explored Barcelona exclusively on foot. We did not take taxis or use public transportation. Barcelona is very pedestrian and you can walk to all the landmarks I am going to mention if you stay in a lodging close to La Rambla. Obviously, my daughter couldn’t’ walk for hours therefore our reliable stroller was a lifesaver.
As I mentioned previously, La Ramble is the most famous street in Barcelona. It is a large pedestrian street that runs through the heart of the city. There are many restaurants, shops, street performers, human statues and street vendors along the full length of La Ramble. This pedestrian street was particularly helpful because we used it to orient ourselves on the map. Instead of a digital map on a smartphone, we used a paper map on this trip. The former would have been a wiser choice though.
Barceloneta, is the most popular beach in Barcelona. We walk from our hotel all the way down La Rambla and Passeig Maritim to get to the beach. We went to the beach twice and it took us a little over an hour one way. Barceloneta is definitely a place to visit if you want to escape from the city’s pollution and smell of smoke (In case, you forgot, many people smoke in Barcelona. If you are not use to it, it could come as a huge surprise). In May, the beach was not crowded probably because the water temperature was still too cold for swimming. The area was getting ready for the peak tourist season with many beach bars and restaurants popping up along the boardwalk. Umbrellas and chairs were already set up and available to be rented for the day.
La Sagrada Familia
I visited La Sagrada Familia for the first time over 7 years ago and was frankly disappointed. I didn’t really understand what Gaudi had in mind or what the fuss was all about. It looked like a huge brownish building in ruins. We decided to visit it again and oh boy! It has changed so much. I had no idea what to expect and haven’t seen recent pictures of the basilica. All the rough edges gave place to well carved stone figures. Everywhere you look there is something new to see, every little detail tells a story. It is really remarkable, Gaudi’s vision does not disappoint for sure. It is an absolute must-see when visiting Barcelona. Tickets can be purchased online. We purchased ours 2 days before our visit however, it is recommended to buy your tickets ahead of time. Here are some pictures from our visit but if you have the opportunity to see it in person please do not hesitate. The project is expected to be completed in 2026 so plan your trip accordingly.
Park Guell is a public park composed of gardens, a playground, and Gaudí’s unique tile designs. Entrance to the tile area is not free. We purchased our tickets online and you only have 30 minutes inside the restricted area. I didn’t notice anybody keeping track of how long people stayed. Something important to note if you plan on walking, Park Guell is located on Carmet Hill. Pushing a stroller on that hill isn’t an easy feat. Also, the area isn’t’ stroller friendly, we folded ours and my husband carried it most of our time there. The most famous part of the park is the terrace area. Somehow, after seeing many pictures online, I expected the entire terrace to be covered in tiles. Be aware that only the boarders are covered in tiles, the rest of the terrace is basically a huge dusty area. Depending on the angle you take your pictures, you can give the illusion that the terrace is entirely covered in colorful tiles.
If you are still here, thank you very much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and now have a better understanding of what Barcelona has to offer. I summarized our trip to four main landmarks to keep this post short and sweet. A quick Internet search can show you additional landmarks (i.e Ciutadella Park and Gothic Quarter are two others we visited). One thing that particularly surprised me is how many bachelor/bachelorette parties are celebrated in Barcelona. We saw at least 3 or 4 bachelor/bachelorette parties each day on La Rambla.