Barcelona is a great travel destination for many reasons. The coast is lined with beautiful beaches, marinas, restaurants and services for sun worshipers and water enthusiasts alike. The Port of Barcelona is a departure hub for many cruise ships sailing the Mediterranean and beyond. There is ferry service to Ibiza, Mallorca and other Spanish ports as well as great rail and air links to the rest of Europe. Combined with the Catalan culture, great shopping, UNESCO World Heritage sites, museums, galleries and even siesta, you might find yourself wanting to extend your stay.
The beaches between La Barceloneta and the Olympic Port are the busiest so I would suggest heading there early in the day to grab your desired location. There are cabanas, umbrellas and lounge chairs for rent all over the beach as well as locals offering cervezas and massage services. You can walk along the promenade from one end of the beach to the other, at the base of the promenade along the beach there are areas for you to work-out and shower, grab a bite to eat, or rent any number of items from bicycles and Segways to sailboats and jet skis.
You have reached the modern Olympic Port when you discover El Pez (The Fish) by Frank O. Gehry. The sculpture is one of Gehry’s first public projects and was the anchor for the Olympic Village during the 1992 summer games. The fish is an inspiration for Gehry and has used this theme in many buildings including the DZ Bank at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Gehry’s fish are also featured in his jewelry line for Tiffany & Co. It is amazing to visit El Pez at sunset, the reflection of the setting sun on the metal latticed structure provides amazing photo opportunities.
The Olympic Port includes some retail shopping and restaurants with amazing patios overlooking the beach towards La Barcelonetta. Here you can also find the Gran Casino De Barcelona and the Hotel Arts Barcelona.
Look for Roy Lichtenstein’s Barcelona Face sculpture off Passeig Colom where La Barcelonetta and Port Veil meet. Shop vendors and artists selling there wares in an open air market in Plaça de Pau Vila. Continue down Passeig de Joan de Borbó filled with small hotels and restaurants serving fresh seafood to reach the beach. The W Barcelona resembling a ships sail anchors the start of this section of beach that extends down to the Olympic Port and the Gehry fish.
Here you can get the best view of the beach and the city by taking a ride on Teleférico del Puerto, a cable-car crossing the harbour from Barceloneta (Torre de Sant Sebastià) to Montjuïc. At Montjuïc seize the opportunity to have an amazing view of Barcelona, this bird’s eye view gives you the opportunity to pick out other attractions you have seen including the Sagrada Familia, the Tibidabo Amusement Park and Templo Expiatorio del Sagrado Corazón de Jesús del Tibidabo.
The Montjuïc area is filled with amazing parks including the Jardines Mossèn Costa i Llobera, the Barcelona Succulent Garden which is located just minutes from the cable car. The planting and variety of plants is incredible and a must for any succulent lover.
From the cable car head down Avingunda de Miramar to access additional cable cars taking you further up Montjuïc or to reach the Olympic Ring or Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Along the way stop at Fundació Joan Miró – Joan Miró Foundation, here you can see a comprehensive collection of his work and learn more about the Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona.
Montjuïc was a big part of the 1992 Olympic Games and housed many Olympic events at the Olympic Ring. You can find the Olympic Stadium – Estadi Olímpic de Montjuïc and Piscines Bernat Picornell – the pools which give visitors the opportunity to swim some Olympic sized laps during their visit. The Olympic Ring can be found where Avingunda de Miramar turns into Avingunda de l’Estadi.
The Passeig de Santa Madrona off of Avingunda de Miramar will lead you to Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya – The National Museum of Catalan Art. The museum collection is just one draw to this location. The front of the holds a number of large staircases leading from the museum down to Avingunda de la Reina Maria Cristina and here is where you will find the star attraction.
From April 30 to September 30 at 9:30 PM on Thursday through Sunday the magic fountain of Montjuïc comes to life. Tourists and locals flock to Placa Espanya and line the streets and area around the fountain for the nightly show. Choreographed to music the fountains change colour, mist, spray and shoot water amazing the crowds. Only bring the essentials, and keep valuables out of sight, the area is prime for pickpockets.
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