Barcelona is the cosmopolitan capital of Spain that’s bustling with excitement. It’s almost a three and half hour train ride into Barcelona Sants from Madrid’s Puerta Atocha train station. Take a Renfe train to get to any city in Spain in the fastest amount of time.
For me, even tough Barcelona offered more sight seeing, the city reminded me of North America whenever I wasn’t looking at a tourist attraction. Madrid seemed more European from corner to corner and offered more culture. I am alone in this thought though because when I asked other friends who’ve been to both cities, their choices were reversed.
This was thoroughly disappointing for me. Being the millennial that I am and having grown up watching The Cheetah Girls, their version of Barcelona in their movie was way more exciting. But yes, I did have their song “Strut” in my head the whole time I was there and low key managed to strut through the streets whenever I could.
Much of Barcelona’s architecture was detailed in their carved balconies and rounded buildings.
Where I Stayed
Hotel Catalunya, Santa Anna Street 24—Inexpensive, not too fancy, but comfortable accommodation. The location is perfect because it’s right in the popular La Rambla district and walking distance from many historical sights. There were so many shops, restaurants, and cafes near by that made for an exciting nightlife.
Where I Roamed
La Rambla is a popular street busy with life with lots of stores from H&M to Missioni, and market stalls where you can buy handmade or local goods.
Five minutes away from La Rambla was the Barcelona Cathedral. I again saw the Neo-Gothic architecture which was present throughout Madrid. Inside the Cathedral the sharply carved domes and arches were mesmerizing.
Placa Cataluyna was at the center of town and was a small circular center with statues of Spain’s historical figures and a large fountain.
I went further down the adjacent street until I ran into Barcelona’s Arc de Triompe. It was a weird mix of Europe mets California because of its walkway with beautiful palm trees aligning both sides of the street.
If you’re vising Barcelona, The Picasso Museum is must-see. The museum offers insights into the artists life and displays his greatest works.
The National Museum is far in distance from the La Rambla. Located on a hill, it’s about a ten minute cab ride, which I suggest you don’t do during rush hour traffic. The Museum is a sight in itself and the view from the top offers an unreal panoramic view of Barcelona. I wanted to sit at the spot for hours and just contemplate life. I suggest you go early morning if you actually want to do this, right before the museum opens— not many people will be around during the early morning hours.
The Sagrada Familia should be the first thing on your list of sights to visits in Barcelona. However, because I was only in the city for 24 hours, my hotel wasn’t close to the cathedral, and it was under construction, I opted out.