We visited the beautiful city of Barcelona on the coast of Spain several years ago, and we plan to go back soon to again enjoy all it has to offer. We found Barcelona and its sunny Mediterranean beaches alive with friendly people, upscale shopping, fantastic architecture and great cafés.
How To Get There: Our visit was for two days while on a cruise to several Mediterranean ports. We sailed into the city’s picturesque and convenient harbor terminal, and after customs inspection, within an hour, we were at our downtown hotel. For visitors who fly to the city, Barcelona-El Prat International Airport (BCN), the Aerobus connects the airport with the city’s popular downtown areas in 35 minutes for about $9 each way.
The City: An important European business center, five million people live in Barcelona and suburbs. There are many choices for visitors to explore, including parks, history, art, culture, architecture, entertainment, dining and many other attractions.
Must See: There may be beautiful Gaudi architecture on many buildings in the city but the one main event is his still-unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral. One of the modern world’s greatest buildings, I can admit I still prefer the classical look of Notre-Dame or Westminster Abbey. The Spanish Village or Poble Espanyol, is an open-air museum of 117 buildings, streets and squares, originally built in 1929 for an international exhibition. It’s become a popular tourist spot and is worth a visit. The Picasso Museum was opened in 1963 under the personal direction of the great Spanish artist, who lived in the city for many years. Night or day, when you stroll the city’s main thoroughfare, La Rambla, you’ll see great shops and cafés. It’s fun to be entertained along the sidewalks by colorful living statues and other street performers and musical groups.
Where we stayed The Holiday Inn Express Barcelona City 22 is clean, new and modern, only a 15 minute walk from the beach. It’s in the cool, new 22nd district of the city, part of a massive redevelopment of former industrial waterfront land. The hotel is only 30 minutes from the airport and very close to a subway stop that takes you right to the Sagrada Familia. The hotel is near the Rambla del Poblenou neighborhood, a great shopping area that is more popular with locals than tourists. Like the larger La Rambla, it’s a broad, pedestrian-only street with shops and restaurants on either side.
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