The Greenspark had a whole day to explore the Barcelona sites, and since they are good walkers, we decided to go for a full day tour, which means 8 hours. Walking is a great way to stay in close contact with the city life, and despite covering less ground, you do get a more in depth view of the areas you visit.
So we started our day in the Gothic Quarter, strolling around the medieval alleys and squares we’ll see Roman ruins, gothic patios, the Royal Palace, the City Council and the Generalitat Government building, amongst other.
We of course went inside the cathedral (they didn’t mind paying the little entrance fee that would allow me to go inside and explain it in detail for them – other clients just want to get a quick look and then I explain from outside and they go in by themselves while I stay waiting for them by the door). It is actually a remarkable gothic basilica. I took them inside the wooden choir, showed them the artistic side chapels, the crypt of St. Eulàlia and the cloister with the gees.
Today instead they weren’t too interested in the Call, the medieval Jewish Section: Not many elements where left after the quarter was attacked in 1391, so unless you have a Jewish background, it’s an area that you can easily skip. I did however give them a basic introduction to that part of the old city, on our way to la Rambla.
We entered this vibrant boulevard in the middle of the Old Town, right where the flower market is, and then I took them to the famous Boqueria Food Market, which is considered one the best food markets in the whole world. I love its outstanding displays, and the great mix of local products and exotic food.
Then we walked up the upper part of La Rambla and reached the Eixample District: the Expansion area where the local Art Nouveau, known as Modernism, bloomed in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I told them about Ildefons Cerdà’s city plan and took them to the main street, Passeig de Gràcia, where I introduced them to the 3 best architects of the time in the Block of Disagreement: Domènech i Muntaner, Puig i Cadafalch, and of course, Antoni Gaudí.
We saw the outside Casa Batlló and then headed for lunch. I took them to one of my favorite tapas restaurants. Eating tapas is a fun way to enjoy the local food: they are small dishes to share, so you can try many different specialties and discover the local cuisine in a casual yummy way!
After lunch, we proceeded to Casa Milà / Pedrera, another apartment building by Gaudi. I like visiting the inside of this one rather than Casa Batlló because the views from the rooftop are much better – but if my clients prefer to enter Casa Batlló, I’m fine with that too! The Greenspark, though, took my advice and they really enjoyed visiting its fantastic rooftop, the attic with the exhibit on Gaudi’s technique and the lovely apartment decorated with antiques from the early 1900’s.
Next was time for Sagrada Família Church. We took a taxi, and in a short ride we got to this Gaudí’s Masterpiece, where he worked the last 43 years of his life until his death in 1926. Still a work in process, it’s scheduled to be completed by 1926-30 aprox. Yet the inside is the most breathtaking place you’ve ever seen! Of course, we skipped the superlong line thanks to my official license, and we had a wonderful time discovering its marvelous interior and the stories about its history and architecture.
The last hour of the tour we went to Park Guell (another taxi was taken to get there). This is also another unfinished project by Gaudí, this time commissioned by his friend and patron Eusebi Güell. A failed housing development has become the most fairy-tailish park in Barcelona. The light in the afternoon is perfect, because it brings out the best colors of the ceramic tiles that Gaudi used to cover the pavilions of the main entrance and the famous wavy bench.
When our time was over, the Greenspark and I reviewed everything we had covered over a map, and I gave them some more ideas for things to do and where to eat during the rest of their stay. They said they had totally enjoyed their day with me, and promised to write a raving review on Tripadvisor. Yey! I love making people so happy!
Check out my website if you’d like to experience a full day tour of Barcelona with me.