As you can see by the title, we’re heading into controversial waters. Because who isn’t a Gaudí fan, and what are you doing in Barcelona if you’re not one? Well, believe us, they exist. You’ll normally find them hiding around corners, one eye on their glass of sangría, the other scanning the street for Gaudí-obsessed pursuers.
But where can they escape next? If you’re on the run and want to avoid He Who Shall Not Be Named, worry not. We’ve scoured the city for the perfect hideouts. Who knows, you may even end up enjoying it!
Take a cable car to Barcelona’s most famous hill, the perfect place to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the entire city. The hillside overlooking the port has some of the city’s finest art collections: the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC), the Fundació Joan Miró and CaixaForum. Other galleries, gardens and the imposing Montjuïc Castle form part of the scenery. Just below you, the lively tapas bars and eateries of Poble Sec await, while the up-and-coming neighborhood of Sant Antoni draws the young and hip.
Montjuïc was also selected as the site for several of the venues of the 1992 Summer Olympics. The 65,000-seat Estadi Olímpic saw the opening and closing ceremonies, and the surrounding Anella Olímpica (the “Olympic Ring”) was host to several sporting venues. Head over for an iconic view of Montjuïc Communications Tower or Torre Calatrava, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava.
Fundació Joan Miró
Even if you don’t like Gaudi, we’re sure there’s still room in your heart for another wacky Catalan creative. World famous surrealist Joan Miró came up with the idea for his Foundation in 1968, wanting to establish a place for young artists to engage in contemporary art. Today, the Fundacio Miró Museum displays almost 15,000 pieces of art. Take a guided tour, or wander around yourself, to discover its more than 8.000 drawings, 217 paintings, 178 sculptures as well as ceramics, textiles and graphic works.
Built in 1929 for the Barcelona International Exhibition, this ‘village’ is home to 117 buildings from all over Spain, and all kinds of Spanish architecture. Impressive reproductions of typical streets, squares, and activities give you the full flavor of a country in one place. The onsite Fran Daurel Museum has over 300 works by internationally renowned artists, including Picasso, Dalí, and Miró.
If La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter, with their tourist traffic and petty peddlers, prove a bit too much, head to the district of El Born instead. This delightful corner of Barcelona has all the beauty of the Barri Gotic, with old narrow streets and quaint cafe-covered squares, but it’s just quiet enough to make you forget about the hustle and bustle.
Despite the popular tourist attractions of Picasso Museum and Ciutadella Park (also home to Barcelona Zoo), the area has maintained a high degree of local life, and we guarantee that you’ll never just be surrounded by English-speaking voices.
Palau de la Música Catalana
Designed by Lluís Domènech i Montaner, the Palau de la Música Catalana is just as fanciful and rich in detail as anything by Gaudí. This UNESCO World Heritage site is a luxurious Catalan Art Nouveau masterpiece, and its decorative arts of sculpture, mosaic, stained glass and ironwork provide an uplifting setting for the concerts that are regularly held there.
The self-proclaimed best contemporary art museum in Spain, the wacky mix of MACBA’s permanent and temporary exhibitions is a stark contrast to the building’s minimalistic and cool design. Enjoy the AC during the summer (trust us, you’ll need it in Barcelona) while perusing its 5,000 works from the mid-20th century onwards, across three periods – the 40s – 60s, 60s – 70s, and contemporary.