One of the smaller Churches in the Gotico, Santa Maria Del Pi, was constructed between 1319-1320 and is an excellent example of Catalan Gothic architecture. The Church has been restored however since the 1936 fire when it was destroyed and today it has a slightly more modern facade. If you're looking for a relaxing place to sit and admire the architecture, then not only is Santa Maria Del Pi an excellent, free option, but it's situated in Plaza Del Pi, which is full of charming shops, street art, yummy restaurants and cool outdoor patios. So once you've had enough of the Church, step outside and start browsing.
The construction of this cathedral began in the late 13th century and was not completed until the middle of the 15th century. The interior design is distinctly Gothic, whereas the front and spire of the church were touched with a French influence at their completion in the 1800's. The cathedral is dedicated to a Christian martyr whose tomb is located in the crypt beneath the high altar. The choir stalls are intricately carved with religious images and when they sing, its a beautiful site to see, especially during services on the weekends. Located in the Gothic Quarter this is one of the most striking Cathedrals in the Old City and in Barcelona itself.
As the term work-life fusion gains traction (as opposed to work life balance) many people are combining their vacations with a few emails and virtual meetings ie the: 'Workation'. Barcelona's Happy Melly branch is a great way to connect with like-minded vacationers who are trying to achieve the right balance while visiting the city. Dedicated to helping people be happier at work its Barcelona hub is a wonderful resource if you're looking to find the best co-working spaces, cafes with free wifi or if you just want to discover best practices for living a happy life, especially while on the road.
Another region of the city built as a host site for the 1929 World Expo, this village represents the range of styles of Spanish architecture. Located atop Tibidabo, Poble Espanyol is a mini village full of shops, cobblestone roads and home to authentic one of a kind events including independent film exhibits amongst a host of other fun activities. Restaurants, shops and bars on-site are usually open for a drink or meal and the streets are lined by quaint cottages, charming houses and boutique stores. Not only is this an excellent, free place to frequent during the day but come night time and the village is packed with tourists and locals alike.
This archway served as the main entrance during the city's 1888 Universal Exhibition. Built from sculpted brick and surrounded by statues, including a sculpture representing the city welcoming international visitors to the Exhibition, Arc De Triomf sits atop Park Ciutadella and is a great place to stroll, have a coffee and of course snap pictures. The walkway between the structure and the park itself is often lined with skateboarders, painters and yoga groups and is a great area to relax and take in beautiful architecture. If you walk away from the park and towards Gran Via street, you'll come to Plaza Tetuan which is a large roundabout with places to sit down in the shade.
Few places offer city views like Montjuic. The name literally means 'Mountain of The Jews' and is a former military base in Barcelona. Today it boasts some of the most gorgeous views of the entire city of Barcelona and also holds open air movie festivals during the summer amongst a host of other activities and parties. Check out the Terrace nightclub, especially during summer as there's always cool and fun events featuring well-known dj's. Close to Poble Sec and Plaza Espanya, Montjuic is a great place to explore, especially during the evenings. You can get there via cable car, foot or public bus.
Dubbed "The Stone Quarry" for its remarkably sculpted stone facade, Hospital Sant Pau used to be called Hospital de La Santa Creu (Hospital of the Holy Cross & Saint Paul). Founded in 1401 the hospital is actually the results of the coming together of six small Medieval hospitals. Re-built in the early 1900's, the Hospital Sant Pau of today was designed by Gaudi and the building's edifice is considered to be the world's largest abstract sculpture and was declared a heritage sight by UNESCO in 1984. The hospital was fully functioning until June 2009 and it is currently undergoing restoration for use as a museum and cultural center. Since December 2009 there are tours of the hospital being given several times a day, all of which are free. This is a beautiful building, definitely worth checking out especially if you're into architecture.
What's a trip to Barcelona without taking a stroll down La Rambla. This vastly famous walkway is one of the most popular stretches in Europe as well as the world. Starting at the the Colon (Christopher Columbus Statue) by the beach, it goes until Plaza Catalunya dividing the Old City with the Gothic Quarter on one side and the Raval on the other. At the very top is the Eixample neighborhood, where the city expanded at the end of the 19th century. If you're looking for an entertaining and fun stroll, La Rambla won't disappoint. Featuring everything from street performers, to merchants selling books, art, portraits and even animals, this is a top Barcelona attraction. Just be sure to keep your purses closed and pockets zipped as it's also a haven for pickpockets.
Park Guell has been described as a 'trip'. Enter this gorgeous place and you'll feel like you've been whisked away into Alice in Wonderland's playground. Gaudi went all out when designing this avant-garde, gorgeous display. Situated just outside the city center, Park Guell is right off the green metro line with and from the top you can see the entire city and take in 360 degree panoramic views. As you walk around you'll see musicians, craftsmen and groups of people relaxing and enjoying the music while picnicking amongst Gaudi's creations. Gaudi's house is the only area in the Park that charges admission; it's only a few euros and many say it's not a 'must-see', however it does contain his tiny bed that he slept in for years.
If you're hungry or just feel like browsing rows upon rows and stalls upon stalls of fresh fruit, cured hams, authentic Spanish tapas and pretty much anything you might have a craving for, Barcelona's Boqueria market should top the check list. Directly off La Rambla, the market is a genuine Barcelona experience; you might even get to see little pigs wearing baseball caps if you go on the right days! If you're hungry go to the back of the Boqueria where there are several small and rustic but very delicious restaurants. Ra in particular is a great place to dine.