Whitney and Leo are spending a couple of days in Barcelona as part of their European trip (they are also visiting Venice and Madrid). They love walking around, and they wanted an overview of the city, so they could continue exploring it on their own while they are here. That’s why I suggested them to get a 4 hours walking tour that covered the best of the city center.
We started in the Gothic Quarter, where I introduced them to the origins of Barcelona. Strolling around the medieval alleys and squares we saw Roman ruins, gothic patios, the Royal Palace, the City Council and the Generalitat Government building, amongst other. This time of the year the city is crowded with groups, but I managed to skip them, navigating my guests through less busy alleys. We even got to the Roman Temple right on time, as a cruiseship group was leaving, and by the time we were leaving I saw a large group of students approaching. Phew!
The Cathedral is probably the most important building in the area. I explained them that tour guides are only allowed to go in as long as their clients pay the fee of the choir, but since it’s not much, they agreed to go in with me (other times I just explain it from outside and let them visit quickly on their own, that depends on how my guests are feeling). We entered the magnificent wooden choir, I showed them the artistic side chapels and the crypt of St. Eulàlia and they were surprised to see that in the cloister there are gees.
Exiting the Cathedral I mentioned there is a historical Jewish Quarter (“Call”) nearby: I often have Jewish clients who want to visit it. Today instead, although they were interested when I explained about the medieval Jewish community and the attacks they suffered in 1391, they preferred to spend more time in other sites and we skipped the Call.
We continued towards La Rambla, this vibrant boulevard in the middle of the Old Town, famous for its street performers and the pretty flower market. There we entered the Boqueria market, which Leo (who is a big foodie), said it was one of the highlights of the tour. I agree, there are outstanding displays, local products and exotic food, all in one place!
We continued our stroll towards the Eixample District, which is the Expansion area where the local Art Nouveau, known as Modernism, bloomed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I explained about Ildefons Cerdà’s city plan and when we reached the Block of Disagreement, we discussed the 3 best architects that time : Domènech i Muntaner, Puig i Cadafalch, and of course, Antoni Gaudí.
We took pictures of Casa Batlló and Casa Milà / Pedrera, and then decided to take a cab to the Sagrada Família Church, Gaudí’s Masterpiece, where he worked the last 43 years of his life until his death in 1926. Even if it’s still a work in progress, Inside is a MUST! I dare saying it’s possibly the most breathtaking place you’ve ever seen! Whitney took so many pictures that her camera run out of battery.
At the end of our tour, I showed them on a map everything we had covered and marked them a few recommendations of restaurants and a shop we passed on the way where Whitney wanted to go back, and then I helped them taking a taxi. It was another lovely day in Barcelona!
Learn more about my favorite Barcelona walking tour.