City Breaks: Barcelona
Well known for its artistic culture and architecture, Barcelona is the capital of the Spanish Catalonia region. They’ve got dogs with no noses. How do they smell? Terrible. Awful jokes aside, Barcelona has a Gothic quarter that is deep in medieval roots and La Rambla, a buzzing promenade with a wealth of cafés and modern culture. If a Barcelona holiday sounds like just what the doctor ordered, remember to apply for a European Health Insurance Card, hopefully you won’t need it but you’ll be glad you have it in the worst case scenario.
Every September Barcelona celebrates in a big way with what they refer to as the Festival of Festivals. It is an ultimate display or theatrical and artistic prowess. La Merce is a fiesta of 600 shows that parade through the streets, they consist of dance, music, street theatre, circus acts and a very breathtaking firework display. The beach history of the area is also celebrated with castellers (human towers) and a parade composed of Catalan figures with giant heads. Finally there is a theatrical festival of fire with numerous dragons, devils and 80,000 fireworks.
Take a step back through history with the numerous buildings in this history that dates back to medieval and Roman times. Meander your way through the narrow streets that guide you between the gigantic buildings and you’ll soon be reminded of how the Spanish lived more than 500 years ago. The Cathedral is free to enter but you must be dressed appropriately and you can take the elevator up to the rooftop for as little as $3, which is very reasonable when you consider the view at the top is worth so much more. Then you can take a rest in the centre of the quarter with the numerous restaurants for a couple of drinks and a bite to eat.
Many consider Park Guell to be the masterpiece of architect Antoni Gaudi ever since it was first built in 1900. It has been a public park since 1926 and a World Heritage Site since 1984 where is has been celebrated as a symbol of modern architecture. When you visit the park you can enjoy the peaceful tranquillity among the gardens, sculptures and mosaics that were also designed by Gaudi.
Stage to Lionel Messi and company, Camp Nou is the largest football stadium in all of Europe with a seating capacity of 100,000. You can book onto a tour of the stadium and learn more about the history of FC Barcelona, and if you can go to a match where you’ll find the atmosphere is like no other.