by Jodie Young, the girl behind The Little Backpacker
Within hours of arriving, Barcelona will leave you falling madly and deeply in love with everything it has to offer. Known as the most passionate and romantic city in Spain and on par with Europe's favourites of Paris and Venice, this city is a place you must visit. From the eye-catching architecture to the mouth-watering food, Barcelona offers something for every visitor—no matter their pleasure.
For Architecture Lovers
Barcelona will overwhelm you with its incredible architecture. From the gothic churches of the 13th century to the work of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona couldn't have more to offer. The Cathedral and Basilica de Santa Maria del Mar were both constructed during the Spanish-Gothic period and boast intricate, yet dark designs. Chandeliers hang from the ceiling and impressive stain glass windows provide the ethereal light. In contrast, you have the light and airy work of Gaudí with his incredible attention to the smallest detail. La Sagrada Familía remains unfinished to this day, but is still open to visitors—and trust me, you should go.
Park Güell shows another side to Gaudí and displays his attempt at landscaper gardening—let's just say he was pretty good at it. Even if architecture isn't your thing, you won't be able to help noticing how beautiful and detailed even the simplest apartment block is in Barcelona.
For Sport Enthusiasts
If you're a sport lover, I'm sure the first thing you will think of in Barcelona is Camp Nou—one of the most visited sites of the city, and for good reason. But that isn't all this city has to offer! Each May the Formula One cars speed into town for a weekend race around the famous Circuit de Catalunya in Montmelló. Furthermore, there is the well-used and perfectly maintained Olympic Park located in Montjuic. Olympic Park offers visitors free access to the stadium and the entire park itself, which is perfect for runners. Additionally, there are two Olympic swimming pools with public access during the summer months. And if you're not a sports fan? Then pulling up at a bar during a Barcelona football game will guarantee an awesome atmosphere.
From tapas to paella, the Spanish really know how to do their food. Meal time is a leisurely social occasion dedicated to sharing with friends and family, and this feeling is not lost among the restaurants of Barcelona. For the best experiences, seek places that don't offer an English menu and that are tucked away from the main tourist streets. That being said, be sure to sit for a coffee and snack in Plaza de Reíal, Ocaña. It has a more relaxed feel than other places, though service can be slow at times.
Head to Carrer del Blai and find a spot to try a Pincho, or Pintxo—a small snack that consists of bread and a topping held together with a toothpick. For paella, you will be spoilt for choice, but my suggestion s Elché on the edge of Montjuic Park. No food lover's trip to Barcelona would be complete without a wander around Mercat de la Boqueria. You'll find countless temptations of food and drink on offer, and you'll need more than one trip to sample enough.
For the Best Views
When you arrive in Barcelona you'll notice that the city is surrounded by hills, or the sea, and I would highly recommend heading up to one or more these hills to test the view.Whether it's Park Güell in the northwest or Montjuic in the southwest, both offer amazing views stretching far across the city. Perched high on the hills you can pick out La Sagrada Familia, La Rambla, Torre Agbar and more.
Each hill will give you a different angle through a different lens, but no matter how many times you go up you won't get bored of the view. Still not convinced by the hills? Try a ride up the deck of the cable car at the Port to discover fantastic views of the city and the bay.
For a Magical Evening
I cannot talk about summer in Barcelona without mentioning La Font Mágica—a huge fountain which puts on a dazzling performance (with music) from Thursday to Sunday, 9.30-11pm. The water lights up with the brightest of colours, and dances high above onlookers during each show. Either head to the base of the fountain or watch above from the stairs of the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. You'll be mesmerized for the entirety of the show and want to keep coming back for more.
So those are just some of my highlights from my recent city break in Barcelona. I could go on for hours with everything we crammed into this trip and everything I fell in love with about it. But I won't spoil it all for you, go for yourself and explore one of the best cities Europe has to offer. Because Barcelona is my number one choice for the Best Summer Destination 2015.
Jodie Young is a twenty-something British girl with itchy feet. She is always on the lookout for an adventure, whether in a far away land or her own backyard. Jodie created The Little Backpacker to share her experiences and prove that you can still travel on a small budget.