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In Barcelona, the streets themselves are works of art, with the city’s combination of ancient and modern. The coastline, hills and paved roads all juxtapose for a city like few others. Here are the five best things to see and do in Barcelona:
1. Picasso Museum. Possibly the world’s most famous artist, Pablo Picasso divided most of his life between Barcelona and Paris. With that in mind, the Picasso Museum explores the master’s relationship with the Spanish city, housing more than 3,500 works, composing the most complete collection of his art of any museum in the world.
2. La Sagrada Família. There’s a running joke that when something is running past deadline, it will be done after La Sagrada Família. Under construction since 1882 and originally designed by famed architect Antoni Gaudí, the Basilica I Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família looks different from any basilica you’ll see in the world. Made of 22 different stones, the structure boasts eight towers, though it will have 18 once it’s completed. The iconic pillars and façade appear in all brand of souvenir, and a ride to the top will give you another view of the city and its famous cathedral.
3. The beach. Surprisingly, Barcelona didn’t focus much attention on its coastline, for tourism purposes, until a redesign for the 1992 Summer Olympics brought about change to the port and shipping waters. But since then, the Mediterranean seaside has given visitors and residents alike just another reason to love the city and its terrific weather.
4. Camp Nou. If you visit between August and May, you’ll likely have the opportunity to catch FC Barcelona, one of the world’s most famous and successful soccer (football, to locals) clubs. Camp Nou is the Catalan soccer mecca, holding nearly 100,000 fans for games. Though FCB lost La Liga in 2011 to hated rivals Real Madrid, the team has been on an unprecedented run through European and domestic soccer in the last five years.
5. Parc Güell. Architectural master Antoni Gaudí’s playful mind combines nature with mortar in this Modernist park. Multicolored mosaics abound in the park’s man-made structures, including the tiled dragon in the main entrance’s fountain. The Hall of Columns provides its own photo ops within its 86 Doric pillars, while the central terrace gives you spectacular views out on the city, the sea and the mountains behind.