I don’t think there can be a city with more beautiful buildings than Barcelona. By that I’m referring both to the designs used in the creation of buildings and the number of extraordinary buildings in this city. Although there are many striking late 20th century buildings to be seen, it’s those designed and built in the late 1800s and early 1900s that I find to be beautiful.
My hotel is on a street called “Las Ramblas.” Today this is the tourist center of Barcelona, filled with all the fast-food places and retail stores the “global economy” can produce. Normally I’d avoid a street like this when looking for a hotel but having been here once before I knew that this street would be interesting and fun. It is! It was a major business street of the late 19th century and it’s lined with distinctive buildings including three large theatres (still operating, one as the opera house), a number of hotels, and the large market hall. I can’t show you all that I’ve seen so I thought I’d share with you some of the buildings that caught my eye.
Here’s the building that’s perhaps most famous: the Chinese Umbrella building. Read its history here.
Barcelona’s most famous citizen is Antoni Gaudi, an architect who left this city with a number of extraordinary buildings as well as one of the greatest churches in the world, the Sagrada Familia. I’ll tell you about that tomorrow, but here are shapshots of two of his apartment buildings I passed by yesterday.
There’s a different sort of street parallel to Las Ramblas just one block east. It’s called Passeig de Gràcia. Here are the famous European, hyper-expensive shops such as Channel and Louis Vuitton. But along this street as well are many beautiful buildings and as well as a block noted for the extravagant architecture of three famous buildings in that block.
The most famous is another building designed by Gaudi:
Next door is this building of extravagant design (read about it here).
And at the end of the block, this one.
Today I return to France. I’ll be in the small coastal town called Collioure for a few days.
My hotel on Las Ramblas in Barcelona is Hotel Lloret. I found it on Booking.com and have enjoyed a very comfortable, well-located hotel at a very good rate. If you’re coming this way I recommend it.
A note added in August 2017, after the horrible terrorist attack on Las Ramblas: First, to the people of Spain, my condolences and support. To travelers thinking of going to Barcelona or to Spain or anywhere else: don’t let the terrorists keep you away. That’s what they want, that’s how they win. Your chances of being hurt by terrorism as minniscule.