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They are home to one of the most famous footballing sides on the planet, but there’s much more to the city of Barcelona than Messi, Neymar and Suarez.  It is a culinary hotspot that boosts some of the finest restaurants in the world, and buildings that take inspiration from Gothic times as well as more modern influences.  The influences of famous artist Gaudi can be seen throughout Barcelona, and with bustling streets, a vibrant port area and miles and miles of sandy beaches, there’s plenty of reasons to visit the capital of Catalonia.  If you’re planning a trip to Barcelona in the coming months, here are 7 places you simply must see.

The 7 wonders of Barcelona

1. Sagrada Familia

The Sagrada Familia is perhaps the most impressive building in the city of Barcelona even though it is still incomplete.  The basilica was designed by Gaudi and work continues to be done to it to this very day, with the final building far from complete.  The work for the basilica is funded by the money donated by visitors and people around the world.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a work of art both inside and out.

2. Magic Fountain of Montjuic

The Magical Fountain of Montjuic are a series of impressive fountains that lead up to the Palau Nacional , which is the National Palace of Barcelona.  While this building is impressive to look at during the day, to experience the real magic of the fountains you need to visit them at night.  The fountains turn into an explosion of colour at night, with music also playing throughout the summer months.  The fountains attract thousands of visitors every day, and there can be a real party feeling at the weekend at the Magical Fountains.  They really have to be seen to be believed.

3. Mount Tibidabo

Tibidabo is a mountain that offers amazing panoramic views of the city of Barcelona.  While the views alone are worth the trek up the mountains, if you catch the cable car and go all the way to the top of the mountain, you can visit an amusement park and beautiful church, which both sit atop the mountain.

4. Barcelona Zoo

You could easily spend 3-4 hours in Barcelona Zoo and it is a popular stop off point on the cities bus tours.  The zoo is home to over 300 species of animals and located in the Parc de la Ciutadella, an area that is worth spending some time walking around.  The zoo also has a popular dolphin show which is free to enter and well worth getting along to.  The dolphin shows can be very busy during the summer months, so do try to get in the queue early so that you can get a great seat.

5. Las Ramblas 

Perhaps the most popular street on Barcelona, Las Ramblas stretches for over 1km from the Placa de Catalunya in the city centre, right down to the Port area.  Las Ramblas is flanked by many popular street stalls selling everything from arts and crafts pieces, to food, clothing and souvenirs.  There are a number of side streets along Las Ramblas that simply must be explored as they are home to many popular tapas bars and hidden gems for food fans.  Las Ramblas is also home to some of the most popular hotels in Barcelona, with its ideal location and bustling street vibe giving visitors that little taste of Barcelona as soon as they arrive in their hotel.  Having stayed in this area before, I can strongly recommend staying here to capture the true essence of this magical city.

6. Barcelona Port

The Port de Barcelona is another popular area of the city and joins on to the beach, making it a must see for tourists, and a regular hangout for locals.  The port area is home to an impressive Aquarium and has many great bars, cafes and restaurants facing the harbour.  Cruise ships regularly take off from Barcelona Port on route to other Mediterranean areas.

7. Gaudi and Picasso Museums

When you think or Barcelona, you think of great architecture and famous art, and two of the most famous artists associated with the city are Gaudi and Picasso.  Both of them have museums in the city and both have left their mark on this wonderful city to this very day.  Their influences can be seen throughout the city, and a trip to both museums should be on your list of things to do, so you can really appreciate the talent of these two famous Spanish artists.

With so much to see and do in the city of Barcelona, it really needs to be on the list of places to see for all keen travellers, regardless of your age and whether you are travelling alone, in a group or as a couple.  The city really offers something for everyone and it may even take multiple visits before you can really experience everything it has to offer.

Main image from www.eca2014.com