10 things to do in Barcelona: Tibidabo

By / 20th May, 2014 / Sightseeing / No Comments

Mighty Tibidabo closes the circuit of the top 10 Barcelona attractions. This area rises above the whole city on the height of 512 m. It takes its name from the bible legend which tells that this place was the place where Jesus Christ was tempted by the devil with the words “I will give you” which on Latin is “tibi dabo”.

This place is a real mixture of entertainment and catholic spirit. Here you will find the Temple de Sagrat Cor with the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the top, the big entertaining park for the whole family.

Constructed in 1901, the amusement park has various types of rides (roller coaster, big wheel, dodgems, go-carts) and other amusements, computer games, several restaurants and so on. If you have the children, so spend there at list a half or the whole day to satisfy your child’s wishes.

To get here you can use several means of transport – metro, bus, car… but I advise you to take from the downhill the “Tramvia Blau” so to be involved into such a nostalgic trip to the Tibidabo funicular with the whole Barcelona view spread out behind you.

WebsiteTibidabo
Prices : Adult 25.20€ / Children under 120cm and senior 9€
Phone : +34932117942

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10 things to do in Barcelona: Park Güell

By / 12th May, 2014 / Art, Sightseeing / 1 Comment

Park Güell is certainly the place to visit. Do not miss it! Never! It is a garden complex, a mix I would say of Gaudi’s and Guell’s architecture. I don’t want to tell you the history of this park. This time no references, just feel and admire!

Entering the park you appear in the fairytale. Personally I had an allusion as if I was in the big Charley Chocolate Factory (that one in the Tim Burton film with Johnny Depp), surrounded by ginger biscuit houses, princess’s towers, the flame erupting dragons, twisting catacombs, mysterious chapel, marble caves.

Small tip: There are actually several entrances, the one with two “ginger houses” and the other, which opens the path to the park through giant built-in stone arcs. From the marble terrace opens the grate view on the whole Barcelona, it’s small buildings, beaches and promenades.

Website: parkguell
So, no more words. Just relax and enjoy!

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10 things to do in Barcelona: Gothic Quarter

By / 12th May, 2014 / Sightseeing / No Comments

What about Gothic quarter? Just Wow! Big Big Wow! I have a feeling of mixed admiration and fear. That was so exiting but challenging. Gothic quarter is a big place with long and very narrow streets. There are a lot of things to do and to see. But, never! Hear me? Never leave your map apart! (just kidding).

However, there is a great deal of truth in what I am saying. Gothic quarter is the most ancient part of the city. There are a lot of buildings and churches from medieval times and even from Roman times. This area retains a labyrinthine plan, so even with a map it is sometimes hard to figure out where you are and where to go, but do not gain your chance to join to the great spirit of ancient Barcelona. Here are some “most important spots to visit”.

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1.The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia is the Gothic cathedral and seat of the Archbishop of Barcelona. The construction of this church dates 13 century until the last stone was put only in 19 sentry. This cathedral is known as the most majestic medieval cathedral in Europe and was named after Santa Eulalia, a young girl who was murdered by the Romans at the age of 13, because she refused to give up her religion.

When I was there we didn’t have the guide, so what was the most impressive from the first sight was it’s facade made in Gothic style and with small, tiny figures of Saints.

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2.Basílica de la Mare de Déu de la Mercè This is one of the most popular churches in the town because, among other things, it is the home of the Virgen de la Mercè (patron saint of Barcelona). The architect built this cathedral from the remains of the ruined church. The dome with the Virgen de la Mercè holding a child made me think, how a human can make such a masterpiece.

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3.Santa Maria del PiThis church is not densely visited as others but anyway, we were there. Actually I can’t remember how we got there, because we walked the streets fallowing the map and occasionally knocked over it. So, as others it is a good example of Gothic architecture with the same medieval elements. We were a bit tired but still impressed!

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4.Plaça de Sant Jaume is an administrative heart of the old city including The building of the City hall and The Presidential palace. Both building were made in 14 century. They are in front of each other what created balanced and aesthetically right perception. Actually it is not a big place, but there were some benches to have a rest after “church-rush”, to overestimate just seen places and talk, enjoy the time.

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5.Plaça Reial, built in 19 century, is a meeting point for different festivals and bohemian musicians. There is a lot of shade and fountains so just find a good shady place to have some rest, to have some cold drink and to restore you powers listening to good live music.

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As it turned out the old quarter is not against modern art. So we found such a non-standard, funny construction.

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Don’t forget to take with you something to eat or just go somewhere for it. We got hungry but contended ourselves only with a big juicy mango.

6.Plaça del Rei is as you can guess a place with a palace of the King. Also here you will find The Museum of History of Barcelona. What is the most fascinating is that this museum was brought there in different parts and rebuilt over again.

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7.Remains of the temple of Augustus  - some centuries ago here was Augusts cathedral, but now you can hardly find even these four columns built-in some building.

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Ooh! A tough task yep? But still it is worse going there!

10 things to do in Barcelona: Barceloneta or Little Barcelona

By / 12th May, 2014 / Sightseeing / No Comments

If you followed my posts, you must be accustomed with the most famous, the most visited places, ramblas and  museums in the centre of Barcelona. Now let’s move to fantastic Barceloneta and the sea. Long sandy beaches,green hills, high skyscrapers, business centers, open-air bars and restaurants, VIP discos….huh….bring me back, PLEASE!

Frankly speaking, I didn’t know a lot about Barceloneta. I just was there, saw it, felt it. That’s why I have decided to fill my knowledge gap. And here is what I’ve found:

Barceloneta (or Little Barcelona as Catalans call it) was not always the same. This area was built by the order of King Felipe V, who commanded to build a new fortress(nowadays La Ciutadella park stays here) near the city center aiming to punish the citizens who fought against him in the Spanish Succession War. As a result a lot of residential buildings were destroyed and many Catalans lost their homes. Therefor they had to move to another, newly built place, without any kind of infrastructure. This area was planned by French military, that is why the streets are straight and with a square shape, the houses are lower than the others. Until 1992 when Olympics gentrification burst out, this area was treated as the poor one.

Impressive, yep?
P.S. Don’t be afraid, nowadays there is no sign of that times.
So, let’s move to some places of interest:

Port Vell is a waterfront harbour of Barcelona. As it was mentioned, until Olympics this area represented a residential and industrial part of the city with rail rodes and factories.

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The Rambla del Mar is a wooden bridge connecting the Portal de la Pau(with the Columbus monument) with the Moll d’Espanya, which opens for tourists The Maremagnum shopping complex, the IMAX cinema and the aquarium. The walkway is near the navigable dock and can be raised to allow the boats through. So you will have to wait a little bit….or just run the fast you can and jump the far you can!

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Maremagnum is a big shopping mall with mass-market brands, different restaurants and bars. We were there in some Spanish restaurant, tried “Paella” and were admiring the sea view, flying gulls and albatrosses. One of them might have decided to taste our Paella.

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IMAX Port Vell shows films to suit all tastes and interests on a large screen. Viewers can choose from three formats: the IMAX, the Omnimax  and 3D.
Website: http://www.imaxportvell.com/ingles/imax.html

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L’Aquarium the second biggest aquarium in Europe. Watch thousands of fish, penguins and sharks in this interactive sea-life museum.
Website: http://www.aquariumbcn.com/fr/descubre-laquarium/aquariums-mediterraneens/

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Parc de la Ciutadella was built in the mid 19th. Since that time this park has been the biggest green place in the city. It is not famous only for its unsurpassed beauty but for its big zoo with 7,000 different kinds of animals.

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While walking along the quay you may come across, as we did, some droll monuments as this crab:

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The beach stretches from the Port Vell and far away, passing Vila Olimpica and further. We were there several times and either it was autumn or summer, the view and the sea was wonderful. In October there was hardly a person but still the sea was warm( yes, we took a swim), but locals were a bit puzzled.
Go further and further and you will find a lot of hotels, restaurants, fast food and of course disco clubs.

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10 things to do in Barcelona: El Raval

By / 6th May, 2014 / Culture, Sightseeing / No Comments

El Raval is the most contradictory city district of Barcelona. While looking for places to see in Barcelona you might have run across some ill-disposed testimonials telling about its criminal status. I would say this area was not understood correctly by those, who having read numerous guide-books, decided to avoid it. That’s why, as you may guess, this article aim to discredit this myth.

A bit of history:
El Raval some years ago was infamous for its nightlife and cabarets, bars and pubs, as well as prostitution and crime. To change the status of “problematic region” the government of the city had held several reforms for resettlement and optimization. However due to its boarding position with the port in the 70th, heroin industry started to flourish. So the lowest part of the area with threatening speed started turning into “the red-light district” with drugs and prostitution.

However El Raval has changed significantly in recent years and due to its central location has become a minor attraction of Barcelona. The politics of resettlement continues to function. The areas with extended criminal level are replaced with promenades, parks, hotels, cafés, bars and pubs. Moreover, this district nowadays is famous for the mixture of medieval constructions and modern buildings.

Here are some Top EL Raval places to attract your attention:

MACBA
Museum is situated in the heart of El Raval district. For tourists this is a grate example of contemporary architecture and cutting-edge events and exhibitions. For Catalans it is the place to walk in the MACBA Square and for some to have a skateboard ride. This building was built in 1992 year for Olympic Games by American architect Richard Meier.

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CCCB
Cultural Centre is a center which organizes different exhibitions, festivals, debates, encourages involving modern technologies.
Website: http://www.cccb.org/en/
Opening hours : Tuesday to Saturday: 11am – 8pm; Sundays & holidays: 11am – 7pm;
Prices : 4,50 €

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Rambla del Raval
Besides the well known Rambla of Barcelona there are a few more smaller Ramblas. One of them is the Rambla del Raval, which is  the big one. Bordered by palm trees and cafes it is comfortable sitting here for a few hours and to watch the busy life of Catalans.
This street is full of impressions and different colours: with plenty of street art, quaint bars and spicy cafeterias, retro shops, different nationalities.
A famous cat sculpture made by the Colombian artist Fernando Botero stays there.  Nice place to take photos.

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Sant Pau del Camp 
is Barcelona’s oldest church. As the guide told there is no exact evidence of the date of its construction, but approximately it is the 9th century. Once, when Barcelona was not so big, it was located in the countryside, so its rural location gave the church its name.
Essential Info
Address: Sant Pau 99, El Raval, Barcelona
Telephone: 934410001
Admission: Free

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Museu Marítim de Barcelona
Museu Maritim is one of the most specialised museums and covers the period 1750 to 1850. It includes all forms of maritime artifacts from Barcelona and the surrounding districts.
Phone: 93 342 99 20
Website: www.mmb.cat
Opening hours: Daily 10am-8pm
Price: €5 reductions; free under-7s. Temporary exhibitions vary

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La Boqueria
is a large public market, one of the city’s beaten tourist tracks, with an entrance from La Rambla. Here you will find everything you want. Fruits, vegetables, local specialties, seafood, sweets, meat,nuts….just EVERYTHING!

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The Virreina Palace
is the building which nowadays represents a headquarters of  the city council’s Culture Institute. Sometimes exhibitions and cultural arrangements are hosted there.
Phone: 93 316 10 00
Website: www.bcn.cat/virreinacentredelaimatge
Opening hours: Tue-Sun, holidays 12am-8pm

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Gran Teatre del Liceu
Barcelona’s theatre opera house, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, opened in 1847 on the Barcelona’s famous Rambla.  One of the key landmarks of Barcelona, it has been a major centre for culture and the performing arts for over 150 years.
Language: Spanish and English.
Times: Guided tour: 10am, Monday to Friday. Duration: 1h. 10 min. Guided tour: 10am, Saturday and Sunday. Duration: 1h.
Website: http://www.liceubarcelona.cat/

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