New Things to See and Do in Barcelona

PIn recent years, Barcelona has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. While 5 million people call the city home, more than 32 million travelers visit it every year. (Actually, it’s one of the worst cities in the world for over-tourism, so visit it in the off-season!)

Despite the crowds, I love visiting Barcelona. Every time I visit her, I fall in love with her all over again.

The city is the capital of the Catalonia region in Spain, an area that has been action for independence for many years. In fact, the people of Barcelona consider themselves Catalans, not Spaniards.

1. Take a Free Walking Tour

I love the free walking tours. I think they are the best way to get to know a new city, and I always try to take one when I go to a new place. You will see the main sights, meet other travelers and chat with an experienced local guide who can provide you with expert tips and suggestions. Just give your guide a tip at the end! My recommended walking tour companies in Barcelona are:

2. Get Lost in the Barri Gotic

The old Gothic quarter of Barcelona (Barri Gotic) is my favorite part of the city. It is here that the oldest parts of the city are located, including the remains of the Roman wall and several medieval buildings. Now it is a neighborhood full of bars, nightclubs and restaurants. Although it is a bit touristy for me, it is also the most beautiful area of the city with narrow winding streets and historic buildings that will make you feel like in the past. I spent a few hours getting lost in this neighborhood. You won’t contrition it!

3. Visit the Museum of the History of Barcelona

I have visited many museums in the city over the years, but Barcelona has one of the best there is. Opened in 1943, the museum houses more than 4,000 square meters of Roman ruins (below the museum), through which you can walk. There is also a free (and quite detailed) audio guide, as well as meticulous explanations of the exhibits. Even if you are not a history buff, you will notice a lot about this museum. There is a much better feeling of the city and its past (and the ruins are really awesome!).

4. See the Grand Royal Palace

The Palau Reial Major was built in the fourteenth century and was the home of the Counts of Barcelona. Located near the History Museum, it after housed the Kings of Aragon (the rulers who ruled the region) from 1035 to the 15th century (although most of the palace dates back to the 14th century). It is also said that Christopher Columbus returned here after his “voyage of discovery” to North America. The palace consists of three different buildings, all built in different eras (two of which are considered Gothic masterpieces). Inside, the exhibits show a detailed history of the city and the region.

5. Admire Barcelona Cathedral

The construction of this Gothic cathedral began in the thirteenth century and lasted for more than 150 years. Officially known as the Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Santa Eulalia, it was consecrated in 1339 and has two huge towers over 53 meters (174 feet) high, colorful stained glass windows and incredible wood carvings in the spacious and richly decorated main chamber. The works on the cathedral were not completed until the 19th century, when a local businessman financed most of the remaining costs of the current facade, which follows the original sketches of the 13th century.

If you want (and should) get in, be sure to visit the upper terraces, as they have awesome views of the city.

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