I travelled to Barcelona with my friend Mike during the hottest part of the summer. Barcelona has an average temperature of 16 degrees Celsius, so it is never really cold, but it was scorching whilst we were there.
When we arrived, we walked along the pier close to our hotel to feel out the city. There was a little market by the shore and quite a few people. One thing that was pretty cool was that the water was fairly clear and one could see the fish swimming around.
We walked along the shore and passed a few of the beaches (Platja Plasseig Maritim, Nova Icaria, etc.) There were quite a few people basking in the sun enjoying the weather. Since it was so hot, Mike and I found it a little difficult to stand out in the sun, so we retreated to the shade and found a place to eat.
The next day we took a bus tour of the city. Just as we arrived at the bus stop, we were hit by a torrential downpour. We waited out the worst of the storm inside the bus and started the tour amidst a steady rain. The rain soon stopped and we went to the open top and enjoyed the sights. The city has some very distinctive sections and the architecture by Gaudi is truly distinctive and original. The Olympic stadium is very impressive (even if it is a little away from the rest of the Barcelona sites) as is the Estadi del FC Barcelona (where the Barcelona Football club plays its matches.)
The bus tour gave us a good feel for the sights of the city, which we then proceeded to visit one by one. First on our list was Parc Güeil. This park was designed by Gaudi and is massive. The park is set aside a small mountain (large hill?) so to explore the area involves quite a few steep stairs. One of the peaks afforded us a stunning view of the city so I took a panoramic of Barcelona. One thing I recommend is that you take some water with you to the park, as there isn’t really any sort of refreshment services within.
No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to the Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s unfinished masterpiece. The church is still under construction, but you can pay to wander inside and see what has been completed (the money goes to funding the building projects.) This church is amazing. It has a good mix of modern and classic architecture, and it carries Gaudi’s unique design throughout. When it is completed it will be enormous.
Overall the trip was really good. One problem we found was that a lot of the businesses were closed for summer break, limiting the places to eat. For some strange reason I also found getting stamps almost impossible (tobacco shops carry them but only a few at a time and most were sold out.) The weather was stunning, if not a little too hot, and the people were fairly friendly. If you are looking for good seafood, the piers by the beaches are rampant with them and you can find a good deal amongst them as they all vie for you business. I wan’t able to enjoy the seafood as much as would have liked as Mike didn’t eat seafood and most places only have meals for tow or more. Most of the beaches around Barcelona re very crowded, and if you have young children be warned, there is quite a few topless bathers (if that sort of thing bothers you.)