1. The Picasso Museum - The Picasso Museum is important if you'd like to understand the formative years of Pablo Ruiz Picasso. Within this museum you'll find 3,500 pieces of his work that make up this permanent collection. There are other artists whose work is also showcased as well. From time to time the museum organizes seminars and lectures showcasing the works of Picasso. Free on Sunday so get there very early as the lines tend to be long.
2. Jardi Botànic - (The Botanical Gardens) - If you're looking for a garden of tranquility amongst the hustle and bustle of mainstream Barcelona, this proves to be a most relaxing and visually stimulating sight for sore eyes. Filled with plants and trees from all over the world, which are classified accordingly, there will be no shortage of beauty to gaze upon. One other point that I found interesting is that you can get a fantastic view of the city from here. Built on very steep slopes, it takes a little effort to get here. Fortunately, it is well worth it. Even getting to the entrance is a challenge. To make matters a little easier, especially on the handicapped and infirm, there are electric scooters for hire should you feel you need one.
3. The Fountains of Montjuïc (The Magic Fountains) - The first fountain was engineered by Carles Bugas where the artistic element consisted of the changing shapes of water. The Magic Fountain was one of the last works constructed in the grounds of the Universal Exhibition of 1929. Smaller fountains completed the project and were installed at various points of Avinguda Maria Cristina. The main element was the monumental fountain situated on a platform erected at the end of the avenue, with the perspective of the Palau Nacional as a backdrop.
This colorful show of 'magic fountains' surges and dances to the music and makes a wonderful sight to see! The actual show only lasts about 10 minutes long but is spectacular nonetheless. The shows alternate between contemporary and classical music...bring your camera!
4. Sopelana's Nudist Race - Strip off your clothes and strap on your running shoes as you participate in the 5k nudist race at the La Salvaje or the Barinatxe Beach. If you're not too shy let it fly, get your exercise with this over 3 mile run. I assure you, this will be an experience you will talk about (or you'll be talked about) for many years to come! Sorry folks, no pictures here! The Last event was September 15th 2007. Stay tuned for the next announcement as to when the 10th annual race will take place.
5. Barcelona with kids! - If you are looking for some 'kid friendly' activities, and you are in Barcelona during the New Year, check out the festival known as Festa de la Infància i de la Joventut, held in the Fira exhibition hall, Plaça d'Espanya, between December 26 and January 4th. On January 5th, in the evening, there is the Cavalcade of the Kings, when the three wise men arrive at the port and parade on camels up the Ramblas. Two other festivals which are great for kids are Carnaval in February and Sant Medir in Gràcia at the beginning of March, in which literally tons of sweets are thrown onto the streets.
6. Port Vell Antique Fair - Rummage and delightfully make your way through antiques, porcelain, old lace, costume jewelery, coins, pens, cameras, records, military memorabilia and much more. Between Maremagnum and Columbus statue on the Seafront. Hours: Saturday 10am to 8pm.
7. Ramblas and Boqueria, Plaça Reial - Barcelona's most famous thoroughfare is also a tourist attraction in itself! They have street performers there all day, every day and for something like 10 cents, they will do their little party trick for you. Plaça Reial can be found just off the main street complete with Gaudi designed lamp posts.
Las Ramblas Street Performer
8. Montjuïc & the Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya - One of two mountains in Barcelona, Montjuic has a wealth of of sights if you're not afraid to climb a little. You'll see a nice view of the sea, wander around the old watchtower and see the Mayor's Belvedere which is a collage of broken glass and pottery designed by painter Joan J. Tharrats, and the fountain on the premisis was designed by Carles Buïgas. The Museu Nacional D'Art de Catalunya is free to those under 15, over 65 and on the first Sunday of the month.
9. Cathedral of Barcelona - For those who really cherish history and the origin of various structures, this is the place you want to be. Granted, I would probably not bring the kids along on this one. Actually there are few references to this building: it is believed to have occupied a part of the Gothic building but some of it's Romanesque elements remain.
10. Night Life in Barcelona
One thing to keep in mind when it comes to the night life in Barcelona...actually, most of Spain is: There usually is no cover charge to get in! The down side of that is the drinks tend to be a bit on the pricey side. Many do offer free drinks (small) and free Tapas. Tapas are like a small snack or a finger food. Now, let's get down to business: Freebies - Free passes to clubs are always available from the door staff at the bigger bars at around 1am, unfortunately they don't have many "girls passes", so do ask early or you will pay dearly! The first club that is on our night life list is, Maremagnum- This waterfront shopping center is Barcelona's biggest mall, full of half shops, half clubs. In the daytime, it makes for a nice stroll with friends or family. At night, it's the clubs, pubs and bars that take over. You'll find everything from Techno, to Irish pubs, to Salsa...and the party isn't over until it's over! Prices are somewhat high, No cover charge.
In Barcelona, you want to watch out for the local hang outs, bars packed with locals playing cards that look at you funny when you walk in the door. There are plenty of places to choose from, continuing into the Gothic and the Born districts with the Raval and Gracia. Be prepared for some special surprises that will keep you coming back for more! Bar owners in Barcelona tend to put a lot into their establishments in order to keep you as comfortable as possible. There are plenty of English speaking pubs/bars with their own particular atmosphere, that also offer quiz nights, language exchanges and live gigs. Although some bars require payment at the time of ordering, some will run a tab and settle the bill at the very end; so keep in mind what your table is ordering...bars tend to be notorious for "accidentally" charging for a few drinks that weren't ordered, especially if you're a foreigner.
Tipping is greatly appreciated but not expected. Remember those free passes I mentioned earlier? Well, they're also available from PR folks as the clubs close...but be warned, the "after party" may be easy and inexpensive to get to by taxi, but getting back home is another story and can be quite expensive and tricky. Either way, Happy clubbin'!