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Holiday in beautiful, stunning Barcelona

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By Shamlal Puri | Jun 5th 2016 | 4 min read

Far from being just any other ordinary European metropolis, Barcelona City has a lot to offer to tourists and is listed among the continent’s most popular destinations.

This medieval city on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula facing the Mediterranean Sea is the bustling modern cosmopolitan capital of autonomous community of Catalonia region in eastern Spain.

It has a rich cultural history infused with a vibrant street life, bustling restaurant scene offering fine dining experiences, famed tapas bars and a shopper’s paradise.

Football fans know the city as home of the popular FC Barcelona, Barcelona Basquet and RCD Espanyol. But Barcelona goes beyond its famed football clubs and the stadium.

Its greatest jewel is the Catalan architecture, modern and contemporary architecture for which the city is reputed throughout the world. You cannot simply miss it as you take a walking tour around the neighbourhoods.

Barcelona has over 15 public parks and gardens where you can stroll. The popular parks are Parc de Ciutadella and Parc de Montjuic which have fountains, lakes, sculptures and children’s play areas.

The 1992 Barcelona Olympics injected a new life into these parks and made them attractive to international competitors and visitors attending sporting fixtures.

Horta-Guinardo is a popular district characterised with mountains, hills, valleys and green spaces.  It is especially popular with nature lovers and those in search of peace and quiet.

Museu Picasso in the Gothic Quarter Museum is dedicated to the Spanish genius of the artist who captured the world’s attention. More than 4,200 works of his art form part of a permanent collection here

The modern Park Guell on El Carmel Hill in the Gracia District overlooking Barcelona City is a truly beautiful place. It features the most artistic works of architect Antoni Gaudi. Barcelona is famous for its shopping malls where you will find leading international brands.

The city’s most beautiful boulevard is La Rambla which is busy throughout the week with shoppers reaching out for the traditional and modern shops.

Vibrant Atmosphere

If you have not strolled down the street and enjoyed Barcelona’s heartbeat then you cannot say you have visited this city.

The city’s business and shopping hub comprises two sections — extending from the Passeig de Gracia to the Placa de Fracesco and the second from L’illa Diagonal to the Pedralbes Centra to El Corte Ingles.

Barcelona’s retail thoroughfares offer an exciting mix of shops selling top quality international brands and affordable fashion wear for young people. Some of the most unusual shops can be found in the landmark Modernista Barcelona where they sell locally-made brands which stand out on their own in quality and prices.

The city’s 39 food markets offer a vibrant atmosphere giving you an opportunity to mingle with locals and lively stallholders pushing their green produce.

There are four markets selling non-food items. One of the best-known is the Boqueria Market with its 900 fruit and vegetable stalls.

It is a major landmark and it won the world’s best food market award at the Congress of the World Union of Wholesale Markets in 2006.

Barcelona City is synonymous with the Mediterranean. The city has five kilometres of wide golden sand beaches which attract crowds who come to enjoy water sports and seafood throughout the year.

Among the well-known are the Sant Sebastia Beach, Barcelonata Beach and Mar Bella Beach popular with young people.

There are 100 beaches stretching for over 95 kilometres along the Barcelona Province coastline offering a wide variety of sea tours, sports and activities.

Thrill seekers can walk among the sharks, stroke dolphins or take a truly head-spinning ride on a roller coaster enjoying the magnificent city views as their ride heads to the top.

Barcelona’s landmarks can best be explored by taking a ride on an open-top tourist bus which will take you around the top attractions. The night tour on the open-top bus is a memorable experience.

Taking a 750-metre ride in the cable car from Avinguida Miramar to Castell de Montjuic at the top of the hill adds to the fun and thrill of the holiday with the added ingredient of stunning aerial views from a height of 85 metres.

The Montjuic Funicular Railway will also take you to the Montjuic Mountain. The 115-year old tram service Tramvia Blau is another enjoyable means of taking a tour of the city connecting Placa Kennedy to the Placa del Doctor Andreu. You will enjoy splendid views of the city.

Many visitors prefer guided walking tours, which reveal the best of its city and culture.

You can also enjoy the charm of the narrow, cobbled streets, past wrought-iron street lamps, buildings and terraces.

The fabulous La Sagrada Familia Church ranks among Barcelona’s most popular sights.

The church gets some three million visitors annually. The splendid interior is worth a visit.

It is still undergoing voluntarily-funded construction work as only a few of the 18 spires have been completed.

A note of caution — beware of pickpockets on La Rambla and in the Metro stations. And do not carry valuables to the beach.

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