La Barceloneta Beach#13 in Best Things To Do in Barcelona
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In between all the cultural and artistic attractions Barcelona has up its sleeves, it's easy to forget that the city is situated right along the brilliantly blue waters of the Mediterranean. The city's largest stretch of sand is broken up into two beaches; La Barceloneta and Platja de la Nova Icària. Both are separated by the Port Olímpic harbor, easily recognized by the two seafront skyscrapers and giant golden fish sculpture, El Peix. La Barceloneta is the more visited of the two, known for its lively atmosphere on both the sand (vendors walk around selling everything from mojitos to on-the-spot massages) and the beachfront promenade (there are cafes and bars situated on the beach throughout). The beach features loads of amenities on-site including bathrooms, showers, changing rooms, umbrellas, lounge chairs, sports courts such as volleyball and beach tennis and more.
Travelers say La Barceloneta Beach is the perfect place to pass the time on a hot day in Barcelona. Travelers loved the clear blue waters and were pleased that the beach was so clean despite the many people who frequent the shores. Travelers warned though that it can get pretty busy, and if you want a lounge chair or umbrella, make sure to show up early in the morning. Also if you start to feel peckish around here, be prepared to pay. Beachgoers said that the beachfront cafes and restaurants, while scenic, are pretty pricey. Visitors also reinforced that there are unofficial vendors offering services on the beach, but report they aren't aggressive.
La Barceloneta Beach is free to visit all hours of the day or night, but it's never a good idea to go swimming without a lifeguard present. The closest metro stop to the beach is Barceloneta. For more information, consult the Barcelona tourism board's website.
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#1 Park Güell
Antoni Gaudí's Park Güell is as whimsical as parks can get. The park was originally supposed to be a housing community for the rich, commissioned by Eusebi Güell. Güell hired Gaudí but the project eventually folded due to the land's incompatible building conditions. Gaudí continued on, modeling the park after gardens he had seen in England (Güell means English in Catalan) and building around the natural elements of the land instead of tearing them down.
Today's park covers 42 acres of space and features everyday park props with a twist that is quintessentially Gaudí. Instead of numerous benches spread throughout, here visitors will be greeted with one long, wavy stone bench adorned with vibrant mosaics and equipped with views of the ocean. And instead of drab administrative buildings, the welcome centers here (which house park souvenirs and learning materials on Gaudí and the park) look like buildings you'd see in a Dr. Seuss book. You'll also find plenty of picturesque pathways that weave along verdant vegetation, down cascading tiled staircases and through jagged stone columns and tunnels. While you're here, don't miss the chance to see the Sala Hipóstila. Located right at the entrance, the Sala Hipóstila was originally intended to be a marketplace. Today it serves as nothing more than to dazzle visitors with its stately stone columns and beautiful mosaic works, which you'll find dotted all over the ceiling. Other popular attractions here include the Casa Museu Gaudí (Gaudí House Museum), Gaudí's former home turned museum, and Turó de les Tres Creus, a lookout point with pretty impressive views of the city situated in the southwestern point of the park.
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