This week we’ll be exploring some of our favorite things about Spain and Portugal, two of our favorite European destinations for a cooking vacation. Probably the most popular place to visit in Spain among our travelers is Barcelona. Even those culinary adventurers happy to spend a week in Andalusian Olive Country, or up in the Basque Country, will frequently stop to spend a few days in Barcelona. It is also the location of our most popular one-day cooking class in Spain.
There are so many things to see in Barcelona that it’s hard to choose just five to feature, but we’ve done our best! Here are our top 5 things to see in Barcelona.
It should be no wonder that our #1 is food related! The Boqueria Market is a large indoor market in the heart of the city center. Its origins date back some 800 years, and today it offers over 200 stalls and shops. You can find anything from fruits and vegetables to spices, cured and fresh meats, cheeses, fish, candy, and more. There are also restaurants inside the market itself where you can go elbow to elbow with the locals to enjoy a fabulous lunch or tapa.
Antoni Gaudí is perhaps the best known Spanish architect and one of the most celebrated practitioners of architectural Modernism. His distinctive style is hard to miss – they look sort of like buildings on LSD. From their odd curves and unexpected geometric shapes, to their influence by natural forms, to their use of ceramics, mosaics, and wrought ironwork, the artistry and ornamentation of his buildings is unmistakable. Take a walking tour of the city and visit some of his best-known works, and end at the stunning church of La Sagrada Familia, his magnus opus, which remains incomplete to this day.
Learn more about visiting Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia:
Palau de la Musica Catalana
Even if you don’t have the chance to hear a concert at the Palau de la Musica Catalana, it’s worth going to see the structure itself. Designed by another Catalan Modernist, Lluís Domènech i Montaner, both the exterior and the interior are equally impressive. Not to miss is the Concert Hall, a true masterpiece of both art and acoustics, whose magnificent stained glass windows and sumptuous decor make it a truly jaw-dropping sight to behold.
From the modern step back in time to the Medieval by visiting Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter. The narrow, labyrinthian streets are for the most part closed to vehicular traffic, creating a wonderful place to wander about on cobblestone streets, exploring the small shops and restaurants in the small squares, and visiting the Cathedral and its cloister.
This main thoroughfare in Barcelona is also one of the city’s most known sites. It runs from the Placa de Catalunya in the city center all the way to the port, and is lined with kiosks, cafes, and in fair weather so many people, both locals and tourists. It is a hub if liveliness until the wee hours of the morning, a place where one can (and does) see pretty much everything! A side note: it is actually a series of different “ramblas” or streets, and is thus also called “Las Ramblas (or Les Rambles in Catalan).
Have you been to Barcelona? What was your favorite site to visit? Was it food-related or all about the art? Of course, if you’d like to experience it yourself, we’d love to set you up for one of our popular one-day classes or a Catalan cooking vacation!
Read more about Barcelona in our blog:
- Barcelona’s Mercat del Ninot
- Eating Tapas in Barcelona
- Barcelona Neighborhoods: the Passeig de Gracia
By Peg Kern
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