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» Trip Guide To Barcelona

Barcelona (known simply as Barca by the natives) is one of Spain's and Europe's most exciting and culturally intoxicating cities.Its numerous attractions appeal to locals and tourists alike. The restaurants, bars, shops and glorious architecture are all big draws, as is the city's proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. There's no shortage of things to do in Barcelona:

Take a stroll. The warm, mild climate is perfect for a long walk. Observe the sights, sounds and smells of the city in a way that you can't from the driver's seat. Barcelona is truly a city that should be explored on foot.

See buildings by Gaudi. However, if you're in the mood for some sightseeing, a trip to Barcelona is not complete without taking in some of the magical and intriguing works of Antonio Gaudi. Most famous is the Sagrada Familia, an astonishingly ornate unfinished cathedral (Gaudi was a very devout Catholic). There are also fine examples of houses that he was commissioned to design throughout Barca. One of the most striking is Casa Mila, with an outside like undulating surface like the sea or sand on a beach. Inside the marine theme is continued with patios in greens and blues. However, it is the roof which is the most stunning with its strange human-like chimney stacks - figures like large effigies staring out onto the cityscape.

If Gaudi's architecture strikes a chord with you, make a point of visiting the Park Guell. The recreational haven was designed by the architect in the early 1900s and has been delighting children and adults ever since. Sculptures of lizards and other creatures are decorated in colorful mosaic tiles, and curving benches and open- sided tunnels are ideal for conversation or just a pleasant rest. Take a book and sit in the private corners of the park if you wish.

Walk along La Rambla, a long path connected the old city to the sea's edge. In days past the street was a viaduct, but today is houses shops, bars and theatrical venues. About half-way down the Ramble you'll come across an indoor food market where you can buy anything from cheese to sausage to fresh vegetables to dried fruits.

Indulge your artistic side. Stop in at the Musee Picasso, a cozy museum devoted solely to the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. Here you'll find many fine pieces of ceramic artwork, childhood sketches, mature works and information on the artist's life. The museum is full of fascinating and beautiful images, but it's small enough to explore over the course of an afternoon. 6. If sports are more your speed, don't leave town without stopping by the Noucamp, home to Barcelona's beloved Football Club. This famous stadium has been the venue for some of the most exciting soccer matches in European history. With any luck you'll drop by at game time, but if not there's always the option to take a guided tour and browse through the adjacent soccer museum.


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