The many cathedrals of Barcelona

Like many cities in the Catalonia region, Barcelona is steeped in history and stunning architecture. In addition to the copious Roman remains, the city is home to handfuls of churches and cathedrals, some of which have become tourist destinations in their own right.

The best way to see these towering works of art is to consider a Barcelona holiday rental or hotel so that you can be in the heart of the action and stay for a least a few days.

Sagrada Familia

Considered one of the most famous churches in the world, the Sagrada Familia sits proudly on the Barcelona skyline. This architecturally stunning building was first designed and construction began back in 1882, but it has yet to be finished. In 2010, the church was declared a minor basilica by Pope Benedict XVI.

The best time to visit is early in the morning before the crowds of tourists descend upon the property.

Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar

This incredible church was built between 1329 and 1383, and the building is a stunning feat of Gothic construction. Like the Sagrada Familia, it is one of the most visited spots in the city.

Cathedral of Barcelona

This Gothic-style cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona, and its distinguished Gothic style is a sight that shouldn’t be missed. The cathedral that you see today was built over the old cathedral in the 13th century. Every year around Christmas time the square outside of the building is host to a spectacular Christmas street market, full of food and music.

Catedral de Barcelona

Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazon

When you first arrive in Barcelona for your holiday in Spain, this impressive building is one of the first sights you will see. Built on a mountain high above the city, its lofty location offers stunning views of Barcelona below. Right in front of the church is one of the oldest amusement parks in Europe, Tibidabo Amusement Park.

Although Barcelona is a large city, it has great public transport allowing you to visit each location with ease. Villas in Barcelona create an ideal base from which to go out and explore the many sites and architectural feats on offer.


Park Güell to Sagrada Família: The scenic route

Antoni Gaudí’s Park Güell and Sagrada Família are two of the top attractions that cannot be missed on a holiday in Barcelona. Separated by just 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres), many visitors choose to walk between the two sights, and the fastest and most direct option is along Carrer de Sardenya, taking the curved Ctra. del Carmel at the Park Güell end, where you can exit the park near the Mirador Virolai observation deck.

However, while this may be the fastest route, it’s not the most scenic. For those who really want to make the most of their Barcelona vacation, take a slightly longer route that takes you past some of the city’s most fascinating sites and interesting spots. The scenic route takes you through the beautiful Gràcia neighbourhood for a glimpse into local life.

Here’s your guide to walking the scenic route between Park Güell to Sagrada Família:

Instead of leaving Park Güell via Ctra. del Carmel, take the other exit, which brings you out onto Carrer d’Olot, and then onto Carrer de Larrard. Heading south, your first stop should be the Gaudí interactive museum, where you can learn more about the architect’s life and works.

Keep walking until you hit Travessera de Dalt, and cross over almost directly to get onto Carrer del Torrent de les Flors. This will bring you into the heart of Vila de Gràcia, home to a large number of Barcelona villas.

If you’re feeling peckish, there are some tapas places in the area. If not, turn to stroll through the pretty Plaça de Rovira i Trias park and gardens. Turn south at the end of the park, and then head along Carrer de les Tres Senyores, past the Hideout Bar which is a good place to stop for a break and a cerveza.

By turning south at the dance school, you’ll find yourself staring at the stunning Parish Church of St. Joan and the grand Virreina Palace. This baroque-style building was built in the 18th century for Manuel d’Amat i de Junyent, a celebrated Spanish military officer.

Turn at Carrer de l’Or, and then onto Carrer del Torrent d’En Vidalet. Stop for a drink at the Elephanta bar — it may seem basic, but they have more than 40 gins on offer, and more than 40 teas, too! Turn onto Carrer del Terol for shopping and a peek at the old evangelical church.

Enjoy a stroll through Plaça de la Revolució square, and then join Plaça Vila de Gràcia park by walking along Carrer de Ramón y Cajal and Carrer de Mariana Pineda. By walking through the busy shopping district here, you’ll find peace and relaxation at the Salvador Espriu Gardens.

Once you’re at the end of the gardens, you’re on the home stretch! It’s a straight route along Avinguda Diagonal and Carrer de Provença to the Plaça de la Sagrada Família. The walk should take roughly an hour; you can put your feet up at your Barcelona villa at the end of the day! 

 


Inside a master’s mind: A peek into the world of Gaudi

Antoni Gaudí’s architectural masterpiece is the one of the main attractions for visitors to see on their Barcelona holiday. Known the world over, the Sagrada Familia Cathedral has inspired designers, engineers and architects from around the globe.

 

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Gaudí was born in Reus to the south of the city. When he was the son of a coppersmith he began to learn about arts and crafts in his father’s workshop. He left Reus for Barcelona and entered the School of Architecture in Barcelona at a young age, it is here his dream developed into becoming one of the finest architects Catalonia has ever known. His unique modernist art inspired new generations and created a movement the city and its residents had never seen before.

As his reputation grew he was commissioned to design some of Barcelona’s best known projects which he designed and honed into his own interminable style. The famous structures of Casa Milà or La Pedrera as it is also known, and Casa Batlló are two of his well-known buildings in the centre of the city.

 

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He took over the design of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral in 1883, once he realised what a great undertaking it was, he left his other work to concentrate solely on this structural masterpiece. He never did see the end result, but even today the blend of Gaudi’s architectural genius and the more contemporary features which were completed after his death mesh together past and present flawlessly.

Everyone who visits the city is drawn to this Cathedral, it dominates the skyline and offers a real awe-inspiring look into the genius and creativity of one man. It is possible to book tickets to visit the beautiful interior of the cathedral, you can also walk the towers for the most phenomenal panoramic views of the city below. However, the building is just as impressive from the exterior. Whatever you do, don’t leave your vacation rental in Barcelona without seeing it just the once – you won’t regret it.

 


Barcelona’s can’t-miss annual events!

Spending your holiday in Barcelona in this year? Don’t miss out on these exciting events that appeal to every taste.

 

Although this year’s Congress has already passed, next year’s Congress plans to be bigger and better than ever. More than 93,000 attendees descended upon the event that was held at both Plaça Espanya and Montjuic. Exhibits and speakers from companies like Accenture, Lenovo, and IBM informed guests of the latest in the world of mobile communication as well as what is in store for the future. You must see these 7 wonders of the world.

 

The race begins and ends just below the picturesque Montjuic Park, a hillside park that overlooks the city and the Mediterranean Sea. The course takes runners past Barcelona’s most famous sights including Camp Nou (FC Barcelona’s football stadium), Gaudi’s masterpiece La Sagrada Familia, and the boardwalk of the Mediterranean beaches.

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La Playa Barceloneta

On the heels of the Festival of Sant Joan is Barcelona’s Gay Pride festival that spans multiple days and features a parade, a high-heel race, parties, and concerts.

 

Located approximately 30 minutes outside of the city of Barcelona, the Circuit de Catalunya is abuzz during this annual event that attracts Formula 1 fans from all over the world.

 

Since 1994, Sonar has brought together music and technology, performed by international musicians, DJs, and other artists for an audiovisual experience like no other.

 

The Strokes, Tori Amos, and Damien Rice are just a few musical acts who will be appearing at this multi-day music festival in Barcelona.

 

The shortest night of the year is one of the most colorful and exciting in Barcelona. The ‘Nit del Foc’ (Catalan for ‘Night of Fire’)  kicks off the summer season in the Catalan capital. Residents and tourists head to the beaches where all-night fireworks light up the sky over the Mediterranean and musicians play along the boardwalk.

 

During this multi-day, mid-summer festival, the streets of the Barcelona neighborhood known as Gràcia fill with pedestrians who admire live music and the street decorations contest put on by local businesses. All decorations are made from recyclable materials, and the results are truly incredible!

Festa Major Gracia
Festa Major Gracia

Barcelona’s last festival of the summer kicks off a new season with more than 500 events and activities including parades, street concerts and performers, and the Fire Festival complete with fireworks and a ‘Fire Run.’

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