When I go away on holiday there’s nothing I like to do more than take in the cultural attractions of the destination I’m in. Doing so, I believe, gives me the opportunity to get a real feel for the place I am visiting and I think there’s nowhere that is quite as amazing for culture vultures to explore as Barcelona.
Given the fact Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain (not to mention the capital of the Catalonia district) and dates back to Roman times, it’s probably not too surprising that it offers plenty for art and history enthusiasts to see.
Such a wide choice of attractions can, however, make it difficult to decide which ones you ought to see first, so it’s a good idea to do some planning before you arrive in the city. I think this is particularly important if you’re considering taking a long weekend in Barcelona and doing so should mean you make the most of the time you have available and ensure you don’t miss out on anything. With that in mind, here’s a guide to the city’s top landmarks that you definitely ought to take in.
Monestir de Pedralbes
Barcelona contains a fantastic blend of avant-garde and modern architecture, but if you’re more interested in taking a further step back into the city’s past I advise you visit the Monestir de Pedralbes complex.
This beautiful structure is considered to be one of the best examples of Catalan Gothic design anywhere in Spain and for several centuries it has been carefully preserved by a community of nuns from the Order of Saint Clare.
Here, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a number of buildings – which include a monastery, refectory and chapterhouse – many of which have been decorated with exquisite pieces of art, including textiles and ceramics. I also recommend you check out the nuns’ day cells, with one of these containing a stunning mural painting created by Spanish artist Ferrer Bassa.
Even though construction of the Sagrada Familia is yet to be complete (despite work on the church starting more than 120 years ago), it’s an attraction all culture vultures taking a holiday in Barcelona ought to see.
In fact, you’ll be in good company if you do come here, as some 2.5 million tourists visit the attraction each year. There are many parts of the building that you can observe, though I think the Passion façade is particularly fascinating. This west-facing part of the church features four towers and a large porch and tells the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Step inside and you will have the chance to take in the Sagrada Familia’s museum which exhibits, among other things, drawings and photographs documenting the ongoing construction of the building. You can also see replica models that were originally produced by Antoni Gaudi, the architect behind the church’s design.
Francisco Godia Foundation
Last, but certainly not least, I advise all art lovers to visit the Francisco Godia Foundation. This amazing establishment exhibits works dating from the 12th-century right through to the modern day, although it specialises in medieval art, Modernist drawings and 20th-century pieces.
Joan Miro and Miquel Barcelo are just a few of the artists included in the gallery’s permanent collection, though I also suggest you check out the temporary exhibitions on display. These change on a regular basis, but previous shows have covered fascinating topics such as furniture production in imperialist China and Cambodian sculptures, so you’ll definitely find something that appeals to you.