Three Must Do's in Barcelona
Visit Sagrada Familia
The unfinished beauty, is a Church situated in Barcelona, Spain. Designed by the amazingly talented Antoni Gaudi who envisioned a master piece that is set to be finished by 2026, and is completely funded by the tourists that visit and donations. The formation of Sagrada Familia started in 1882, with Antoni taking over the production in 1883, and to this day 70% has been completed. Gaudi's vision continued after his death in 1926, sadly only seeing a small amount of the Church completed. The details of the structure is rather fascinating with the Church having three facades, all a representation of monumental moments in Christ's life: his birth, his passion, death and Resurrection & his present and future glory. I would definitely recommend checking out the video of how it plans to look by 2026, which also illustrates the work that still has to be done, especially with the detail they put into both the exterior and interior of the Church. It is said that when Gaudi was questioned about how he felt about not finishing the Church before the end of his life, he didn't seem fazed, replying that 'his client wasn't in a hurry'. They say good things take time, and I think it's very true in this instance.
Breathtaking is how I would describe entering Sagrada Familia. The open church and the beams of light that surround you, which enter through the stained glass windows is stunning and a vision you should experience once in your life. When I walked in, I was expecting it to look much like other churches, I wasn't expecting it to be as open and colourful as it is, but it a testimate to Gaudi's vision and definitely worth visiting, if not now then in 2026 when it is complete.
Take a train to Montserrat
We took the Rack Railway to Montserrat, there are a few ways to get there, including a cable car, however I would recommend this 15 minute ride for a nice way to enjoy your surroundings to the top of the mountain , which is also where the monastery is. The view from the top is magnificent, and overlooks Catalonia, a region in Spain which includes Barcelona.
The main attraction in Montserrat is 'Black Madonna' (the Virgin Mary). There was quite a wait to enter the Church where the small statue of Mary was located. It is said that the darkness of the statue is not due to anything in particular, but just that she has darkened over time. I do have to say that, although it isn't full of light like Sagrada, the Gothic Church is quite beautiful, there is just something about the dark tones that make it unique. As you walk through the Church and upon seeing 'The Black Madonna' you will come across the Ave Maria Path, where candles have been lit in homage of the Virgin Mary and have prayed. I would recommend setting aside half a day if not a full day to see and enjoy Montserrat.
Marvel in the beauty of Park Güell
Park Güell is another one of Guadi's masterpieces, and is an iconic park in Barcelona, open to the public. As you're touring this beautiful park you will see rock pillars, and coloured tiles, with amazing patterns on the balcony overlooking the city. There is also mosaic seats on the outer of the terrace allowing you to sit down and enjoy the view or update your display picture, it's completely up to you! Within the park is also a house which Guadi once resided in for a period of his life, it has now been transformed into a museum, hosting videos and interesting pieces of furniture.
We got to Park Güell, via the hop on hop off bus (which I would recommend as your way of transport because it takes you all around the city). However our stop was a bit of a distance away, which meant we had to walk uphill, which isn't so bad when you've indulged in food and drinking, and need to fit some cardio in. We did visit in Summer, so it was quite warm walking up the hill, but we were saved by this little ice cream shop along the way.
I would also ensure you book in advance because we had the issue of making our way there only for the park to be full capacity. They allow 400 tickets every half hour. When you purchase the tickets you have to choose both a date and a time, so make sure it fits in with your schedule. Due to the next available time being a couple of hours later, interfering with our tour of Montserrat, we decided to reschedule for the next day, in the morning which I would recommend as it is quiet, with not many tourists around.
Have you been to any of these three places? Which was your favourite?
J E S S I C A x