Discover Barcelona located on the shores of the Mediterranean. Stroll down the Ramblas, take a cable car over the city, visit the Gaudi sites anc take a cruise along the shore.
The city runs straight down to the sea and beach - beyond the harbour and Barceloneta - there is a fine sandy beach that runs for miles up the coast.
The city of Barcelona lies right on the edge of the Mediterranean and can boast of seven beaches all reasonably accessible from the city sun drenched during the summer months.
The beaches almost run into each other along a 5 km stretch of coastline.
The main beaches are Barceloneta, because it lies just below the area of the same name and Sant SebastiÓ which lies just south of Barceloneta.
The remaining beaches are further north divided from Barceloneta by the Olympic Marina. As winter storms wash away many tonnes of sand, the city regularly restores the beaches.
Evening in the City
As evening falls over the city and the heat of the day is lessening, Barceloners stroll down by the water front or along the ramparts.
Barceloneta is a neighbourhood of Barcelona close to the old port.
The area is roughly triangular in shape, bordered on the east by the Mediterranean and the beach, the old Port - Port Vell and the El Born neighbourhood. Rather uniquely Barcelona is connected by aerial car to the hill of Montjuic.
The terminus for the cable car is close to the beach. The cable tramway provides excellent views of the city as it glides above the harbours and port.
There are many restaurants along the sea facing side of Barceloneta and along the beaches board walk.
The Harbour Area
Port Vell the old port area of Barcelona was rejuvenated during the construction work for the 1992 Olympics.
The old warehouses, railway depots, silos and factories were demolished making way for open spaces, marina and visitor attractions such as the Aquarium. A wooden board walk with a swing bridge connects the La Rambla to Port Vell.
The aerial tramway glides silently over the waterway.
The tramway was built for the 1929 Barcelona World Fair.
There is a good walkway from Carrer de Circumvallacio, across the swing bridge - alongside the harbour side right around to the back of Port Vell where it borders Barceloneta and then across to the Barceloneta Beach.
The Marina Area
The Royal Barcelona Yacht club has its club house and berths in the marina just north of the swing bridge.
The clubs restaurant which overlooks the marina is open to the public.
Carrer de Circumvallacio
Off the Carrer de Circumvallacio is a tall pillar, over 60 m high on which a statute of Christopher Columbus sits.
After his first voyage to the Americas, Columbus reported to Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand V in Barcelona.
The figure of Columbus points out to sea rather than to the new world or his home town of Genoa as some contend.
Due to it being sited on the Rambla the Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria is probably the most well known market in the city.
The market attracts not only tourists but the residents of Barcelona.
The market is both a dry and wet market, selling fresh vegetables, food supplies, fish and meat.
Originally constructed in 1853, the market is located just off La Rambla in a series of interconnected sheds.
La Rambla is one of the main touristic streets in Barcelona - it runs for about 1.2 km. It stretches from Plaša de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument.
The street is actually a series of shorter interconnecting streets - all with various Rambla names. Rambla de Canaletes, the Rambla dels Estudis, the Rambla de Sant Josep, the Rambla dels Caputxins, and the Rambla de Santa M˛nica
Strolling down the Rambla can be a fun thing, with its many street performers, small shops and of course coffee stops and restaurants.
During the main tourist season the Rambla can be fairly packed particularly in the evening time.
Plaša de Catalunya
The centre of the city is considered to be the area around Plaša de Catalunya.
Many of Barcelona's main shopping streets lead onto the square. So a day of serious shopping can be had by traversing the square - though mind the pigeons as there seems to be hundreds of them strolling about the pavements at any time.
The fountain is a dominant feature of the square and is particularly popular in the summer when its spray wafting over the square can be cooling.
Explore the hill over looking the city. Visit the National Palace, the Olympic Park , take a cable car or the funicular railway,
Montju´c is a hill rising about 200m and lying south-west of the Barcelona overlooking the harbour and port area. The hillside directly facing the sea is almost a sheer cliff.
An aerial tramway connects the hill to the beach at Barceloneta. A fortress built in the 17th century commands the highest reaches of the hill.
The hill was developed prior to the 1929 International Trade Fair, when a number of the current buildings were constructed.
Interestingly an Olympic Park was built with the intention of competing with Olympics 1936 in an anti-fascist Olympics. With the advent of the Spanish Civil War this plan was cancelled.
The Poble Espanyol or Spanish Town is a museum of different Spanish architectural styles.
There are approx.. 120 unique buildings within the museum enclosure, together with squares, parks, churches, factories and artisan shops.
Like a lot of the buildings on Montju´c the museum was built for the 1929 International Fair.
As the museum was popular during the Trade Fair it was decided to keep it open.
Museu d'Art de Catalunya
Museu d'Art de Catalunya is the National Museum of Visual Catalan Art.
It has a wide ranging display of Catalan art and design from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The architecture of the museum is based on Italian-style and also dates to 1929, though it was during the 1992 Olympic year that the museum of Catalan art opened.
The Olympic park was built for the 1936 Oylmpics, which never happened due to the Spanish Civil War.
The park was developed and extended for the 1992 Olympics though the original fašade was retained. There is an Olympic Museum nearby.
In preparation for the Olympics in 1992, the old industrial area along the sea front was demolished. It was replaced by the Olympic Village and Athlete Accommodation area.
As part of the rejuvenation a2 km walkway was built along the sea front, and sand was brought in to build the beaches.Over 2000 apartments were built in the athlete's village.
Along the waterfront close to the marina are two of the tallest skyscrapers in Spain. Now set in offices and hotels.
The Port Olympic Marina was built as part of the pre 1992 reconstruction. Along the waterside there are restaurants on two levels - some with views of the marina, others with views long the coast.
There are also night clubs and bars in the general area.
Follow the Gaudi trail - from Gruel Park, passed the Sagrada Familia, and down through the Eixample area.
Eusebio GŘell an industrialist in the early 1900s, had visions of developing the park and constructing high quality accommodation and facilities. He commission Gaudi to design the park and houses.
Due to a short fall in funding only two of the houses and the recreational areas were built. Despite what is often thought, the areas covered in broken coloured tiles are the work of an architect Josep Maria Julol, rather than Gaudi.
The main points to see in the park are the entrance gate - with it's two fairy like gate houses, the double stairway and the iconic dragon with water trickling from it's mouth, GŘell House and Casa Museu Gaudi where Gaudi lived for some time and the hill of crosses, ( though it can be very busy ). The park is open to the public with free entrance.
The Born is an area of narrow streets, intimate restaurants and a host of craft and artisan shops. It lies to the north of the Barri Gothic area.
The street names still are called after the crafts which such as silversmiths, goldsmiths, locksmiths which were practised in the streets. The Born market is on the eastern edge of the area.
The Plaša Reial lies just off the Ramblas in the Barri G˛tic area. The square is enclosed on four sides, with a narrow passage way entrance on the corners furtherest from the Ramblas. Around the plaza there are numerous restaurants and some night clubs. Palms trees growing within the plaza tend to set a Mediterranean mood.
The area north of Eixample, is a series of small streets and squares. Though the area exudes calmness during the day, in the summer evenings it attracts to it's cafes, bars and night clubs. Don't miss the squares such as Placa del Sol and Placa Revolucio de Septembre de 1858. One of Gaudi's early homes Casa Vincens is in the area close to the Fontana Metro.
The Plaza Monumental de Barcelona is a bull fighting area on the edge of the Eixample area. Though by decree of the Catalan parliament all bull fighting was to stop in the region by mid 2012. Though the area will continue to be used for concerts.
Staying a few days in the city - enjoy one of the short cruises along the coast or in the harbour.
Sea Front Cruise
A good way to enjoy the city is to take one of a number of cruises. The sea front cruises leaves the harbour and takes a left turn going up along the coast. On the return leg it takes in the commercial harbour where cruise ships and cargo vessels can be docked.
A good way to view the inner harbour is to join one of the tour boats and sail out beyond the inner walls. Tickets for the tour boats can be had at the pier at the bottom of the Ramblas.
Within the working harbour, Cruise ships, oil tankards, cargo vessels maybe docked helping o create a bus frantic atmosphere. A number of tour boats daily do a trip around this part of the harbour.