Barcelona has a physiognomy heavily marked by contrasts: from the winding streets of the Old Town to the geometrical precision of the Eixample, two thousand years of history are visible on the map of Barcelona. So a leisurely stroll along the Passeig de Gràcia, the Rambla and the Old Port or Barceloneta beach will give you a magnificent idea of all the ages of the city, from Roman remains to Olympic Barcelona and everything in between. You have the splendours of Catalan Gothic. And you have the Modernist exuberance of Antoni Gaudí’s Pedrera and the so-called Manzana de la Discordia (Block of Discord), named thus in reference to how the three adjacent buildings by the leading architects of Catalan Modernism vie with each other in beauty: the Casa Ametller by Puig i Cadafalch, the Casa Lleó Morera by Domènech i Muntaner (also the author of the stunning Palau de la Música Catalana) and the Casa Batlló by Gaudí (who also started the flagship Sagrada Familia, still unfinished today). On the Rambla, you can also admire the bustling Boqueria market, the majestic 18th-century Palau de la Virreina and the Gran Teatre del Liceu (the opera house). Above all, however, on the Rambla you can enjoy a pleasant stroll and the open cosmopolitan air of locals and visitors from all over the world, as well as the fine weather typical of the Mediterranean. The Rambla ends at the Columbus Monument, another classic symbol of the city. As well as the monuments mentioned above, the Gothic Quarter, to the east of the Rambla, is full of squares, bars and cafes, and is one of the main centres of Barcelona’s night life, along with El Born, El Raval, and the Gràcia neighbourhood, amongst others. The Picasso Museum, Barcelona’s most visited, with a major collection of the brilliant Andalusian artist, is also located in the Gothic Quarter, as are City Hall and the Generalitat building, the seat of Catalonia’s home government, which face each other in the Plaça de Sant Jaume.
Travel time by car: 30 minutes.
You can go: by car, bus, train.