From Antoni Gaudi's fantastical cathedral to the endless list of clubs and bars, Barcelona has so much to offer avid visitors. Check out Ranjit Shergill's favourite aspects of the Spanish city.
Catalonia’s capital used to be plastered with graffiti like ‘Catalonia is not Spain!’, clearly helping to stir the animosity and tension that Spain’s former dictator Francisco Franco created.
Fast forward to the present day, Barcelona is one the wealthiest and investment-friendly cities in Spain. Ranjit Shergill explores the city along three of his favourite focal points; experiencing the varying cathedrals, its enticing nightlife and Camp Nou's goose bump effect.
1. Cathedrals Like Nowhere Else
Barcelona's cathedrals have unusual and artistic features. One in particular stands out: Antoni Gaudi's Basilica of the Sagrada Familia is a fine example, holding an endorsement by UNESCO despite a segment of it being an unfinished building site. Rather than it being a religious cathedral, instead it's simply the size of one. The unusual architecture, synonymous with Gaudi's other works throughout the city, is a twist on gothic architecture, modified and improved on over time to offer a new structure and decoration which, due to its originality, makes this temple unique the world over. Even through the Spanish civil war and the many protests from locals over the Basilica of the Sagrada Familia's status against the Barcelona cathedral, it has stood the test of time, changing its status from dividing a city to uniting it. Take a tour of the famed Cathedral with Viator.
2. Clubbing Off-the-Grid
It's not just football clubs that grab the headlines in this neck of the woods. It would definitely be all too trivial to provide a long list of on-the-beaten-track nightclubs. Instead, why not head off the grid with a highly-recommended locals' choice is the hipster bar hop run by the Tapas & Beers crew. You'll still get the full nightlife experience but with a unique spin as you sample tapas dishes while in the stylish surroundings of Barcelona's barrios. The final stop is one of the bigger clubs at which stage you'll find it hard to call it a night. At 25 Euros per person, it's well-worth it for all the fun you'll have.
3. Camp Nou's Palpable Atmosphere
Camp Nou is home to a rich and successful sporting history where the partisan atmosphere in the bullring-style arena is palpable. You might hear whistling home fans from the rafters but it's not a sign of approval; instead it's of frustration and an insistence that their side should always dominate the game. As a spectator, feel free to join in to voice your own discontent if you aren't getting your money's worth. If you can't get to a game, don't fret, immerse yourself in the club's museum where it feels like there's more silverware in the form of cups than cabinets to hold them or treat yourself to a full tour with Viator.
Planning to make a weekend of it? We recommend staying in the conveniently located and super stylish Catalonia Ramblas if you're rolling in it but if you're scrounging for cash and your bank balance says no, the quirky and party-centric hostel, Generator, is where you need to be booking.