A Beautiful City
Delegates to the 17th EURETINA Congress in Barcelona can enjoy some great attractions in one of the world's most beautiful cities.
TAKE A WALK
You won’t be in Barcelona long before you find yourself on La Rambla, the 1.2km pedestrian avenue that stretches from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell near the cruise port terminal. Join a never-ending stream of tourists, students and locals enjoying the human statues, bird stalls, flower shops and magazine kiosks. Stop for coffee at the historic Cafè de l’Òpera: www.cafeoperabcn.com
Alternatively, stretch your legs on the Barceloneta promenade. Relax with a beer at the seaside, but if you’re hungry veer inland for something to eat at an authentic Barceloneta institution, La Cova Fumada. No booking – either squeeze in at the bar or, if you want a table, give your name to the proprietor and wait to be called. Located at Carrer del Baluart 56, Barceloneta.
VISIT A MUSEUM
Pablo Picasso, who was born in Malaga, spent about 10 years of his adolescence and youth in Barcelona. In 1963, the artist oversaw the foundation of Barcelona’s Picasso Museum, a repository of his early works. Established in ancient buildings in the Gothic quarter, the capacity of the galleries is limited. Booking online is advised: www.museupicasso.bcn.cat/en
The influential 20th Century artist Joan Miró was born in Barcelona. He also helped form a museum in the city to house his works. In 1975, the Fundació Joan Miró opened high on Montjuïc Hill in a light-filled building designed by the artist’s friend, Josep Lluís Sert.
Pictures, drawings, ceramics and graphics are exhibited, as well as a large tapestry, all made and donated by the artist. For details visit: www.fmirobcn.org
ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE
The incredible craftsmanship and refinement of Palau Güell will transport you to another era.
From the basement stables to the fancifully decorated chimneys, this masterpiece by architect Antoni Gaudí for the family of industrialist Eusebi Güell is one of the outstanding icons of Barcelona’s architecture. It is located just off La Rambla, at Carrer Nou de la Rambla. Tickets online at: www.palauguell.cat or at the office 20 metres from the entrance.
Gaudí wasn’t the only important architect in the Catalan Modernisme movement. The Palau de la Música Catalana is a testament to the artistry of Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
Like Palau Güell, this opulent concert hall has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tours are conducted every 30 minutes daily from 10.00 to 15.30. For detail visit: www.palaumusica.cat/ca
3 To See
The Sagrada Família is Barcelona’s famous temple-in-progress. Begun in 1882, Antoni Gaudí’s extraordinary project is now more than 70% completed. The building was consecrated in 2010, though Mass is not yet regularly celebrated here. Since Gaudí’s accidental death in 1926, work has been carried on by consecutive teams of architects who have dedicated themselves to deducing how Gaudí’s design would have developed. Most of his plans were destroyed in the Spanish Civil War. Completion is expected in around 2026. Admission fees and private benefactors provide the funding. The Sagrada Família is Barcelona’s number one tourist attraction, so expect long queues. Plan ahead by buying a skip-the-line ticket online. For details visit: www.sagradafamilia.org
A bustling temple to food, La Boqueria Market is more than just a market, it’s a cornucopia of produce, a hive of restaurants, and a social centre with scheduled events. It even hosts a cooking school. Take a four-hour course (in English) and learn how to prepare Gazpacho, Spanish Tortilla, Seafood Paella, Crema Catalana and Pa amb Tomàquet. You will be guided every step of the way, from choosing products in the market to the preparation. Then enjoy the meal. Book on the Boqueria website at: www.boqueria.info. Or let someone else do the cooking, and find a seat at one of the market’s 14 bars and restaurants. Entrance at Rambla 91, Monday to Saturday, 08.00-20.30.
The Sardana, Catalunya’s traditional dance, has been an emblem of Catalunya’s national pride and defiance since the 19th Century. Banned by Franco, the dance survived. Most Saturdays at 18.30 and Sundays at noon, a Sardana band assembles on the steps of Barcelona’s 15th Century cathedral. When the music begins, people in the square form circles by linking hands and then dance the slow and stately Sardana. Picasso called it ‘the communion of souls’. If you’re tempted to try (it looks easier than it is), just leave your coat and bags in the centre of one of the circles and join in.