Barcelona is a city that should be written with capital letters, a place where every single day deserves to be enjoyed. Barcelona is my favorite city to spend my days off, when I do not have to work.
For me, an ideal Saturday in Barcelona is to enjoy the city and visit my favorite places, those where I feel at home and make me feel fulfilled. These places do not always appear in the tourist guides, but they are equally worth it and that is why I want to share them with you.
The best way to start the morning is with a good coffee and a full breakfast on the terrace of my house, with the heat of the first rays of sun and overlooking the streets of Gràcia. I enjoy this even in winter.
Then, in my sports clothes, I start my routine running session in a privileged place: the Park Güell and its surroundings. I’m crazy? No! Early in the morning these gardens are free of tourists and this is the perfect place to practice some sport in the nature, near home and overlooking the whole city.
Views from El Carmel
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Barcelona is a city of perfect days. Among all the cities I’ve visited, I consider it to be among the most liveable and lovable metropolises on Earth. Blessed with warm weather more than six months a year, flanked by the ocean and mountains, great nightlife and culture, dozens of parks, loads of good museums, bike lanes, citywide free wi-fi, and a broad variety of people from all over the world, each day in Barcelona is better than the last.
Which makes it hard to pick a ‘Perfect Day in Barcelona,’ but for the purpose of this article, I will try. In this edition of A Perfect Day in Barcelona I will try to illustrate not only Barcelona’s variety—food, culture, nature and wide open spaces—but its infrastructure as well.
Barcelona’s city planners prioritize pedestrians over cars. You can see this with its sidewalks that are as wide—if not wider—than the roads for vehicles, and there are lanes and parking stands for bikes everywhere. A city not so big, you can get everywhere on foot, bike, rollerblade, skateboard, or scooter, if you are so inclined. But should your feet fail you, there is Barcelona’s public transport system with buses, trams, and metros which are well-run and are relatively cheap.
Barcelona is a city that is centred on life. Tired? Here’s a bench to sit on. Thirsty? There are water fountains everywhere. Bored? Just go to any plaça and you will find buskers and performers so talented you wonder why they aren’t on television or on stage. Libraries and parks are open to the public so that people can exercise their body as well as their minds. Dogs are welcome in many establishments, and those that don’t, provide cute little leash hooks outside their doors so that man’s best friend doesn’t wander away. Read the rest of this article…
My perfect day in Barcelona would be sunny, of course. Not too hot, but most definitely warm, and with a light breeze freshening the air.
It’s a Saturday, and I wake up early to take the opportunity to wander around the Gothic Quarter when most of the residents are still sleeping off their hangovers. Even walking up La Rambla at that time is pleasant, as before the stalls open and the restaurants are still closed you can really appreciate what it was like to take a stroll among the wealthy families of yesteryear. Early morning is also the best time to take photos of the streets around the cathedral; the faux Gothic arch, Plaça de Sant Felip Neri, and Plaça Reial are all peaceful and quiet.
Plaça de Sant Felip Neri (credit: talesofbarcelona.com)
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View from the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
Montjuïc is my favourite place to get away from the hustle and bustle of Barcelona. There are enough secluded spots there to read a book, gape at the stunning views or simply soak up some sun. The beauty of this little mountain is that it’s so close to the city centre that getting here doesn’t seem like an epic mission. Peace and tranquillity are on your doorstep! On my perfect day, I don’t intend to spend much money. I just want to escape the crowds, stroll in the sunshine and admire my surroundings. After all, it’s not every day you get to climb a mountain in the middle of a city!
First off, I make my way to Plaça d’Espanya and take a brief moment to admire the enormity of the old bull ring, which makes for an impressive sight. I stroll down Avinguda de la Reina Maria Cristina towards the “Magic Fountain”, enjoying the spectacle of the miniature fountains dotted the whole way along the street. At the end, I climb the stairs to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, a magnificent building from which you can see the whole of Barcelona spread out before you. No matter how many times I see it, this view is breathtaking – one of the best in Barcelona. Read the rest of this article…