I had an opportunity to visit Barcelona recently. It was an official visit for Mobile World Congress but I could find some time to explore and appreciate the city. In this post, I am putting some perspective about my experience.
|From Montjuic Palace|
The first time I heard about Barcelona was in 1992 when the city hosted Olympic Games. That provided a huge boost to the city in terms of visibility and promoting tourism in a large fashion. But like many other European cities, it had a very long history and it reflects in many forms in the city. It is a huge city saddled between the hills and Mediterranean sea.
|Fishing boats in Barcelona|
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia province in Spain and Catalan is widely spoken. Spanish is a national language. It did not make a difference to me as I could not speak or understand neither Spanish or Catalan!! I do understand some Spanish words but it is just a drop in the ocean. But I did not face any difficulties as people could understand and speak English at most places. But it is good to learn few words for greeting (Like “Hola” for “Hello”). People appreciate it!!
I used public transport throughout my trip expect for airport transfers as I landed late night and left early morning. The train and bus network is very efficient. Barcelona card for 2,3 and 5 days are quite economical and hassle free to use. Taxis are expensive. I never waited for more than 4 minutes for any connection.
|Walking in La Rambla|
There are lot of options available. Being a vegetarian, I did not face any issue at all. The local rice based dish “Paella” should be tried. Apart from local food, I also tried Mexican, Syrian, Italian, Mediterranean and Indian (There are many Indian restaurants). Specifically, Catalunya and La Rambla areas are filled with restaurants.
|Inside a restaurant in Barcelona|
I really cannot comment on it as my stay was taken care by Office. Considering one lakh visitors for MWC, the city has lot of stay options. As a tourist, do not think of visiting Barcelona during MWC. The hotel prices will be expensive by 3 to 5 times.
Compared to other Western European countries, I felt Spain was much cheaper whether it was for transport, food or entry to tourist places. Of course, stay was super expensive due to MWC but on other days it is also quite cheap.
Places to see
Barcelona is famous for the buildings architected by Antoni Gaudi, Spanish Catalan architect. Many of his buildings are now declared as UNESCO world heritage sites. Some of this works like Sagrada Familia, Casa Mila, Casa Battlo and Park Guell are interesting to see. A walk in La Rambla is quite nice. Barcelona is famous for beaches in summer.
Will put some details on some of these places in subsequent posts.