So, you only have one day for Barcelona and you want to maximize your experience of Catalan Spain. Here are the most important things to do:
Walk Las Ramblas
This street is the mile-long spine of the city. Leading from the waterfront at the Mirador de Colon through the historic district to Placa de Catalunya, La Rambla is the place where all of Barcelona comes to stroll, to see and be seen.
Beside the port Mirador de Colon is the 1888 bronze statue of Christopher Columbus standing on a column 200ft (60m) high. There is an elevator inside that you can ride to a viewing platform.
The boulevard Las Ramblas is divided into five sections by name: Canaletes, Estudis, Sant Josep, Caputxins, and Santa Monica. Along the way you’ll see every sort of busker and eccentric. If you like food, tour Barcelona’s most famous market, Boqueria, which dates all the way back to the 13th century and is still bustling today.
Placa de Catalunya is a circular plaza surrounded by shops, cafes and hotels and adorned with fountains and statues. Sit and have a coffee and get the cultural flavor of Barcelona in the colorful passing parade of shoppers and walkers. There are plenty more things to do on Las Ramblas.
Meaning Royal Square, this large square is just off Las Ramblas and home to many bars and restaurants housed in the lovely colonnaded 19th century buildings. Sit in one of the outdoor cafes and enjoy a coffee, but watch out for pickpockets – especially in the evenings.
Tour the Gothic Quarter‘s narrow streets lined with shops, cafes and bars. To get the real flavour of Barcelona life you need to wander through here. Don’t miss the splendid Gothic Cathedral, La Seu.
Gaudi and Sagrada Familia
The other very famous church in town is La Sagrada Familia designed by Antoni Gaudi. Begun in 1883, the church was finally consecrated in 2010 following much controversy over whether building should be completed after the death of the architect Gaudi. When you see his unique vision you will understand why there was such heated feeling. Dotted around Barcelona are other Gaudi creations and, if you have time, visit Parc Guell, Gaudi’s hillside park which is filled with mosaics and his unique organic structures.
This is the central hill overlooking Barcelona upon which are the Palau Nacional (National Palace), the Magic Fountain which performs different jets and sprays with color and music, the Joan Miro Foundacion, some buildings from the 1929 International Exhibition and others from the 1992 Olympics. There are also lovely gardens and it’s one of Barcelona’s best green zones. The self-serve café in the castle at the top of the hill is good for a break. You can walk up Montjuic, or take the Port-Montjuic cablecar from Barceloneta or the funicular railway from Parallel.