Are you looking for the hottest sights in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Bern, Budapest, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Cologne, Copenhagen, Lisbon, London, Lucerne, Madrid, Munich, Odessa, Paris, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna, and Zurich? With MyCityHighlight – Sightseeing like a local – you'll find the top sights in the most beautiful European cities from the point of view of our city managers – locals of the respective cities. You also have the opportunity to contact our city managers directly if you have any questions. Enjoy your trip with MyCityHighlight, your guide to the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Bern, Budapest, Dublin, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hamburg, Cologne, Copenhagen, Lisbon, London, Lucerne, Madrid, Munich, Odessa, Paris, Prague, Rome, Stockholm, Vienna, and Zurich.
Ciutat Vella is the oldest district of the City of Barcelona. Divided into four neighborhoods, it invites us to travel through more than 2,000 years of history, from the old Roman city, the medieval period until nowadays.
‘Gothic Quarter’, the oldest part; ‘Sant Pere, Santa Caterina and La Ribera’ (Born area), medieval extension of the city; to the west of La Rambla, ‘Raval’, a neighborhood born after the creation of rural tracks and factories outside the wall; to the south ‘La Barceloneta’, a seaside neighborhood built in the 18th century after the demolition of part of the Ribera neighborhood after the uprising of the ‘Ciutadella’, military fortress built to oppress citizens after the revolt of 1714.
In this district you will find many of the most significant highlights of the history of the City. Some of them are the Cathedral of Barcelona, Santa Maria del Mar, Picasso Museum, Palau de la Música, La Rambla and Mercat del Born.
Let’s get lost through the streets of Ciutat Vella and find nooks full of life and history!
Barceloneta’s Beach is the most famous and crowded beach in Barcelona, which was remodeled for the Olympic Games in 1992. This beach is also one of the longest beaches with a total of 1100 meters.
This beach is named it given by the neighborhood nearby called Barceloneta, an old fishing district where you can find all kinds of bars, many of which are specialized in fish and seafood.
Along this beach you will also find ‘chiringuitos’ (bars on the beach), restaurants, bars, services as well as volleyball areas, shovels and play areas.
- Maritime Museum
- Museum of History of Catalonia
- La Rambla
- Colombus Statue
- Born quarter (Ciutat Vella)
- Barceloneta quarter (Ciutat Vella)
Santa Maria del Mar is the only church with a pure gothic style. This artwork was built during 55 years (1329 – 1384) by fishermen, humble people and bastaixos, also known as ‘Macips de la Ribera’ (Ribera’ Slaves’). The last ones were in charge of carrying the stones needed for the construction of the basilica between the Montjuïc quarry and the Santa Maria del Mar, located at the Ribera neighborhood (also known as Born area).
What stands out most of its interior are the tall columns and stained glass windows which help to increase the feeling of spaciousness in a space not surpassed by any medieval construction in the world.
- The rose window at the front side is a reconstruction of the original one which was destroyed due to the earthquake that took place in Barcelona in 1428.
- Santa Maria was the temple of the ship-owners and merchants of the time. That is the reason why if you look at the floor you will see private tombs as well as tombs of medieval guilds and brotherhoods.
- The main door of the Church paid tribute to the fishermen and bastaixos, the principal workforce of the basilica.
- There is a shield of the Barcelona Futbol Club Barcelona in one of the stained glasses of the church. On August 3 and 4, 1936 Santa Maria del Mar as well as many other churches of the city burnt out after the anarchists' and communists assault. At the end of the 60s the stained glass windows were reconstructed thanks to the monetary contributions done by the FGC, so the shield was added in its honor. Will you be able to find it?
- Opening hours:
Mon.: Sat.: 9am- 1pm, 5pm – 8.30pm
Sun.: 10am – 2pm, 5pm - 8pm
- Mass Schedule:
Every day at 7pm.
The Barcelona Gothic Cathedral also known as the Santa Cruz and Santa Eulalia Cathedral was built between the 12th and 15th centuries.
Before the gothic Cathedral exists there was a paleo-Christian basilica (SV-VII) dedicated to Santa Cruz whose remains are in the basement of the current Plaça de Sant Lu and the Carrer dels Comtes, as well as some sculptural remains that are conserved in the Museum of History of Barcelona. Later it was reformed and became a Romanesque Cathedral, on which the current Gothic Cathedral was built.
- The cathedral is guarded by 250 gargoyles. Most of them are mythological animals and other fantastic beings. The legend said that these animals drove away evil. Among these there are three which stand out from the others: the bull, the unicorn and the elephant.
- The 21 bells of the Cathedral have a woman name. The Honorata, the bell of the rebellion, was molten in 1714 by Felipe X king during the Spanish Succession War for chiming to announce the popular revolt.
- In the cloister of the Cathedral there are exactly 13 geese. This number is not accidental since it is the same number of punishments that Saint Eulalia suffered for refusing to renounce the Christian faith.
- Among the different sculptures of the Cathedral stand out three of unknown origin: A sculpted snail in one of the towers of the bell tower, a crossbow sculpted in the back part of the Cathedral in the chapel of Sant Benet and the sculpture of a shoe in the wall of one side of the Cathedral. There are several theories and stories that explain the meaning of these symbols, would you be able to discover them?
- Free visiting hours:
Working days: 8am -12.45am, 5.45pm – 7.30pm. / Cloister: 8.30am-1.30pm, 5.45am-7pm.
Saturdays and festive vigils: 8am-12.45pm, 5.15pm – 8pm (only for the mas). / Cloister 8.30am-12.30am, 5.15-7pm.
Sundays and Holidays (Free entry only for Mass, prayer and confessions): 8am, 5.15pm-8pm. / Cloister: 8.30am-1pm, 3.15pm-7pm.
- Mass hours at Santa Lucía Chapel (Santa Lucia Street):
Working days and Saturdays: 12.45am-5.45pm
The Montjuïc Catle is located on the top of Montjuïc which means ‘jewish mountain’ after the discovery of a Jewish necropolis in 1949.
With a 360º views of the city this mountain became a perfect location to build a military enclave used as a strategic key defense point during several historical periods.
The walls of the castle are still witness of the oppression. During the Civil war (1936-1939) approximately 1500 people were put in jail and 250 were killed. Most of them were soldiers and civilians accused of treason and espionage against the Republic.
The most transcendental fact for the Catalan history was the execution the President LLuís Companys.
Nowadays the Castle owns to the Barcelona City Council and it hosts cultural activities time to time such as the “Cinema a la Fresca” (Cinema outdoors).
To get to Montjuïc there are several options:
- Bus 150: Near the Metro station Plaça Espanya (L1, L2)
- Funicular: You can take in the Paral.lel Metro station. The Funicular will connect you with the cable car which will get you directly at near the Castle.
- On food: You can get out in Plaça Espanya Station and start a small excursion of 40 min. until getting to the top, where the Castle is located
From 1st October to 31st March:
Mon. – Sun.: 10am – 6pm. Bank Holidays included.
From 1st April to 30th September:
Mon. – Sun.: 10am – 8pm. Bank Holidays included.
Park Güell is one of the most recognized works of the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí in which nature, urbanism and architecture are combined. This work was done during the period of the Catalan modernism, at the beginning of the 19th century. Park Güell was considered an artistic monument in 1969 and declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1984.
Park Güell was a project that Eusebi Güell (Gaudí's main patron) assigned to Gaudí with the aim of building an urbanization for high-middle class families. In that moment the area chosen belonged to Gracia neighborhood and was popularly known as ‘Montaña Pelada’ (Bald Mountain). The aim of Güell was to recreate the British residential parks. This is the reason why Park is written in English.
It was planned to sell 60 plots but in 1914 only two houses were built: the house where Gaudí ended up living and the house commissioned by a friend of Güell. Due to the difficulties of selling this kind of properties and the lack of good transport connections the work was paralyzed. Güell yielded on several occasions the park for the celebration of public events. More and more Park Güell was becoming a tourist attraction place.
After the death of Güell the park was sold to the city hall and used as a municipal park. The house of the Güell family became a public school and Gaudi's house was opened years later when he died as a Gaudí House Museum.
The park opens every day at 8.30am. The closing time depends on the season (check website). It is recommended to book in advance via online otherwise you may not go in if it is too busy.
7 EUR / Person
How to go:
Metro: If you take L3 and get out at Lesseps you will be 15min away going on food. The entrance you need to get in is located on ‘Passatge de Sant Josep de la Muntanya’.
- L24: You can take L24 bus in Plaça Catalunya (line 24-Paral·lel/El Carmel) and get out at Carmel-Park Güell stop, which is one of the main entrances of the Park, near the top of the hill. (https://www.tmb.cat/es/barcelona/autobuses/-/lineabus/24)
- L92: You can take line 92 in any of the bus station between Pg. Marítim and Av. Tibidabo stops. This line also have stops near Sagrada Familia and Hospital de Sant Pau. The station near the park is called ‘Carretera del Carmel-Park Güell’ in front of one of the Park's main entrance. (https://www.tmb.cat/es/barcelona/autobuses/-/lineabus/92)
Casa Milà is another of the magnificent examples in which Gaudí shows his great and unique and architectural creativity within the Catalan Modernism.
Casa Milà, also known as 'La Pedrera' after being criticized for its similarity to a quarry, was built between 1906 and 1912 and inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List on 1984.
Opened every day of the year you can visit it even at night. Inside you will find the recreation of the home of a bourgeois family of the early twentieth century, a museum area and a terrace with slopes and chimneys that twist in the same way that the smoke would do inside them. Some of these chimneys are covered with pieces of Cava bottles.
La Pedrera also hosts cultural activities as well as exhibitions, talks and concerts. During summer you can enjoy the ‘Nits d’estiu’ experience which includes a night visit and a Jazz live concert at the rooftop.
Mon. - Sun. : 9am - 8.30pm, 9pm - 11pm
Sagrada Familia is known as the most emblematic monument of Gaudi and the city of Barcelona. Unique work and incomparable to any other style in the world. Also named ‘Templo Expiatorio’ (Atoning Temple) since it is a project subsidized by donations.
Gaudí's goal was to build a temple full of Christian symbolism through an architecture full of new forms and structures inspired by nature with a big presence of light.
Some of the curiosities and peculiarities of this great work:
- The work began to be built in 1882 but the original project was done by Francesc de Paula Villar who stopped the work due to some troubles with the town hall.
- The verticality of the work with high-rise towers is aimed to be closer to God.
- Each of the facades of the Sagrada Familia explains one of the three moments of the Jesus’ life: Birth, Passion, Death and Resurrection and his Glory present and future.
- The interior of Sagrada Familia is inspired in a forest that is why the high-rise columns have irregular shapes and end with colored stained glasses whereby the sunlight comes in. The color gradations are designed to invite introspection.
- When the project is completed the work will have a total of 18 towers of different heights: The 12 lowest towers represent the apostles, and the 6 highest at the center in a pyramid-shaped structure represents a hierarchy. The highest of them will reach 172.5 meters high and will symbolize Jesus Christ. The rest represent four evangelists and the Virgin Mary.
- Gaudí was aware that he would not be able to see the project finished so he left plans and sketches for the future architects. Unfortunately during the Civil War many of these plans were burnt. Although the work is not going to be exactly what Gaudí planned its spirit will be present, just as he predicted:
‘There is no regret that I cannot finish the temple. I will grow old, but others will come after me. What must always be preserved is the spirit of the work, but his life has to depend on the generations that transmit it and with which he lives and incarnates himself.’ A. Gaudí
- Gaudi died hit by a tram between Bailén and Gran Vía streets on July 10, 1926 with 74 years. He was buried in the chapel of the crypt of the temple, where still today remains the tomb of Gaudí.
Nov.-Feb.: 9am – 6 pm
March: 9am – 7pm
Apr. – Sept.: 9am – 8pm
Oct.: 9am – 7pm
Dec. 25, 26, Jan. 1 and 6: 9 am - 2 pm
Casa Batlló is one of the most outstanding works of Antoni Gaudí.
Casa Batlló is another example of creativity without limits of the maximum Catalan Modernism architect. The most prominent and legendary element is the dragon's spine without head or tail that shapes the exterior of the attic of the façade.
If you do not have enough with the outside, you can take a guided tour where you will be able to enjoy each of the magical corners of this unique building.
From June to October you can enjoy the ‘Magic Nights’ from its unique rooftop.
Everyday from 9am - 9pm
La Rambla is the most crowded and famous area in Barcelona but not everyone knows the history that is hidden behind it.
The name of Rambla comes from the Arabic word 'ramla', that means sandy. Its origins dates back to the year 20 BC. when the Roman Empire decided to create a permanent colony near Montjuïc, named Barcino. This new city was located between two dry rivers, one known in the Middle Ages as ‘Riera de Junqueres’ or ‘Torrent de l'Olla’ (the current Via Laietana) and in the south-west the dry river that today is known as the Rambla (torrent or dry river where the water goes when it rains).
The growth of the city and the political stability caused that groups of population decide to move outside the walls and that religious institutions appear near La Rambla. This gave rise to the construction of a third wall to protect the city where La Rambla was included. In that moment the Rambla leaves its dry river role and becomes a promenade, the busiest in the city. Still with a rustic aspect in the Rambla started to coexist orchards, market stalls of farmers, traffickers, fortune tellers, game tables, etc.
Many of the most well-known buildings and areas of the Rambla were built on the rubble of old convents that were burned during anti-ecclesiastical revolts. Today these buildings, promoted by the liberal bourgeoisie, such as El Mercat del Born, El Liceu and La Plaza Real, still endure in time.
When you walk through the Rambla you walk through years of Barcelona's history. This walk ends with the highest monument in the world of the American continent discoverer, Cristobal Colom.