THINGS TO LOVE ABOUT BARCELONA
Khoi Nguyen was on his first solo travel trip ever to the Catalan city in March 2016. Barcelona had so much to offer that made him decide to come back for the second time...
Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia, and one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea. The vibrant cultures of Barcelona, from architecture, food to sports are obvious reasons to fall in love with this city. Although being said to be Spain's second city, many people, especially the locals don't see it that way. After all, the Catalonian capital is a great destinations to visit and here are the things I love the most about it:
The Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter is the oldest part of the city where buildings date back to the early Middle-Ages. I love exploring this area, looking up and observing the smallest things to understand the local atmosphere while being surrounded by the narrow, winding streets and enchanting squares of this ancient neighborhood.
Perfect place to get lost and soak up the majestic feel
The work of Antoni Gaudi
Barcelona is a city of beautiful architecture, home to some of the most unique designs in the world, many of them are the work of the famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi.
When you are in Barcelona, there's no reason not to visit the city's most iconic building, as well as one of the most beautiful and famous cathedrals in the world: La Sagrada Família.
La Sagrada Família
La Sagrada Familia may look like a historical attraction of the city but this world wide famous cathedral is still under construction today, after more than a century since the day it started being built.
Having been under construction since 1882, La Sagrada Familia is expected to be fully completed in 2026. Despite being unfinished, this building as a masterpiece of architecture attracts 2.8 million of visitors every year, making it one of the world's most visited monuments.
The masterpiece of Antoni Gaudi
As a person who studied architecture, I have always been dreaming of seeing this building. You know that feeling when all your life you keep dreaming about seeing a landmark and then one day you actually get to stand in front of it, walk inside it? That's the emotion I was having that I couldn't describe. The cathedral was absolutely stunning and kept me questioning myself for hours: "How did they do it!"
Moving on from La Sagrada Familia, I spent the afternoon visiting another work of Antoni Gaudi, which is Casa Mila.
Casa Milà, popularly known as La Pedrera or "The stone quarry", a reference to its unconventional rough-hewn appearance, is a modernist building in Barcelona, Catalonia. It was the last private residence designed by architect Antoni Gaudí and was built between 1906 and 1912.
Casa Mila is one of Antoni Gaudi’s most iconic work and also exhibits some of his models and architectural techniques inside.
The place also exhibits many of Gaudi's design concept and working spaces which were very interesting to see
The top floor provides another unique space with great view over the city of Barcelona
Barcelona Cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia) is a magnificent Gothic church located in front of Plaça de la Seu, in the charming Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. Although often overlooked in favor of the more famous Sagrada Familia, which dominates the city, the Cathedral of Saint Eulalia is still one of the largest and most impressive religious edifices in Spain.
No trip to Barcelona is complete without seeing the Nou Camp stadium. When I was a child, when I heard Barcelona, I know it means football. Home to one of the greatest football clubs in the world, Nou Camp isn't just for football fans. Europe's largest football stadium seems to be another main cathedrals of the city that I visited on this trip. Here, football is like a religion, and Nou Camp is the place of worship for not only the locals but also millions of other fans around the world. You can take the stadium tour and visit the museum in there but I was also lucky enough to see a Barcelona home game where Messi, Iniesta and other stars performed and brought a victory for Barcelona FC. It was a great experience!
Am I a football fan? Hell Yes! I love playing it too, but I can tell you Nou Camp is not the thing I love the most here in Barcelona. Instead, getting lost in the city brought me the most special feeling. Barcelona, with it's beautiful buildings and a great master plan of the city walkways is a perfect destination for me to get lost. I could spend the whole day walking without a map here and not getting bored or tired.
Only when I start walking with the purpose of getting lost, I feel the authentic vibes of the destination I am in, which interestingly makes me feel strongly related to the place. This is why I love cities with small alleys in an ancient neighborhood so much, like here in Barcelona, because of the relation between us.