Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeastern Spain. It is also the second largest city in the country, right after Madrid. It is located on the Mediterranean coast, approximately 100 miles south of the Pyrenees (mountain range that also represents the border with France).
The Sagrada Familia cathedral, the Gothic Quarter, Casa Mila, and the Saint Eulalia cathedral are only a few of the many outstanding sights that one must visit while in Barcelona. Before you go to Spain, you must learn a little bit about some of the most important tourist attractions in this historical city, and also about the culture and traditions that have made it famous throughout the world.
- The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia flaunts a stunning gothic architecture. It is dedicated to the city’s co-patron saint, St. Eulalia, and it also has a separate gothic monastery. Legend has it that Eulalia died as a martyr at only 13 years of age.
- The Basilica and Expiatory Church of the Holy Family (the Sagrada Familia) is a still incomplete Roman Catholic church with 18 towers, representing the 12 apostles of Christ, the 4 evangelists, Virgin Mary, and Jesus Christ. The tallest tower of all is obviously a symbol of the Son of God. The cathedral is 170 meters (approx. 560 feet) tall, which is one meter less than the height of the Montjuic hill in Barcelona, because Gaudi (its architect) believed that no work of man should be taller than that of God.
- The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gotic) is the oldest neighborhood in Barcelona, with medieval-style buildings and cathedrals. This used to be a fortified Roman settlement, and the remains of those times can still be seen in the City History Museum in Ciutat.
- La Rambla is a famous street in Barcelona, and also one of the most beautiful and romantic avenues in the entire Europe. It stretches from the Placa de Catalunya in the center to the Christopher Columbus Monument in Port Vell. Numerous newspaper stands, flower shops, mimes and other artists populate the street every day, but the main attraction points in the area are La Boqueria (a huge public market), the Miro Mosaic, the Opera, and the Centre d’Art Santa Monica, a museum of contemporary art.
- Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, which means The Quary, has a unique architecture, also designed by Gaudi. It was built between 1905 and 1910, but it was considered officially completed only in 1912. It flaunts a remarkable stone façade inspired by the waves of the ocean and the peaks of the mountains. The architecture was bold and quite controversial at its time, but now it’s a true splendor that must be visited by all tourists.
- Camp Nou is another notable tourist attraction in Barcelona. It is the largest football stadium in Europe, capable of seating a staggering 98, 787 people. The stadium is also the home of FC Barcelona, and hosts some of the most exciting games in the whole world.
- The National Palace of Montjuic is a truly imposing building, erected in 1929 on the famous Montjuic hill of Barcelona. The palace affords breathtaking views of the city, and it also houses the Catalan National Art Museum.