No Place Like Barcelona


Marcelina Kukawska, Creative Director / Reporter

As a travel enthusiast and avid fan of learning about new cultures, traditions, and languages, I can say that Barcelona is one of the most remarkable cities that I have ever visited. This past summer, I spent two weeks in Spain, visiting the most well-known cities on the south and east coast of the country. Starting in Barcelona, flying to Madrid and Marbella, driving to Ronda, and finishing the journey in Sevilla, I can say that I became well acquainted with the region and the culture.

Barcelona was by far the most incredible city that I visited in Spain. Like New York City, it is fast-paced and lively, but isn’t as chaotic and overwhelming. The atmosphere is charming and the breathtaking architecture dates back to the Roman times and the Gothic era. The city’s two primarily spoken languages– Castellano (Spanish) and Catalan– saturate every corner of the streets, adding to the bustling and lovable experience of the city.

Sunset at Montjüic

The metro is a great way to navigate Barcelona. Below the surface of the city, the metro train transports masses of people from one side of Barcelona to the next in a matter of minutes. It is the cheapest and most convenient way to see the widest variety of key attractions in the city. However, exploring the area by foot is an extraordinary means to experiencing the authentic side of Barcelona. The architecture and the character of the city changes from one neighborhood to the next, which cannot be admired when traveling underground.

Montjuïc, which translates to “Jewish Mountain,” is the most famous hill in Barcelona. It has a high vantage point, making it the most attractive place in the city for sunsets. After climbing an abundance of steps to get to the highest point, tourists and city dwellers gather here to listen to live music, share a picnic, and watch the setting sun over Plaça d’Espanya. This northern side of the hill is embellished with breathtaking fountains that reflect the colors of the sunset and the lights of the city. Gaudí’s La Sagrada Familia is visible from this point as well.

La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished basílica, is a key landmark of the city. Beaming over Barcelona, it is visible from almost every side of the city and attracts the most tourists. Gaudí began constructing La Sagrada Familia in 1882, but never finished working on it. It is under construction to this day and it is incredible to see how much the style of the church has changed with the various interpretations of each century.

Other remarkable areas of the city include Parc de Ciutadella, located just beside Arc de Triomphe, the Gothic Quarter, and Bunkers del Carmen. 

Ciutadella is a gorgeous park with a fountain, a lake, sculptures, and spectacular greenery. It is ideal for picnics, jogging, and relaxing. The Gothic Quarter features architecture dating back to the Gothic Era and has amazing small bakeries and restaurants tucked away in the mazes of streets. 


Bunkers del Carmen
Northern Side of Bunkers – City View

Bunkers del Carmen is a less known attraction. It is literally a bunker that was used during the Spanish Civil War as anti-aircraft fortification. Nowadays, it is a location where locals go to watch the sunset and take panoramic photos of the whole city. There is no clear signage that leads to this point, so it’s a little hidden gem that only locals (and lucky tourists) know about. There’s also a few hundred steps leading up to this overlook, so not everyone has the dedication to make it to the very top.

Tasting the various foods and dishes in Barcelona is an activity within itself. Paella, Croquettes, and Patatas Bravas are a few of the most renowned dishes in the city. Patatas Bravas, my favorite Spanish “tapa” (appetizer,) are spicy fried potato cubes served with various sauces, like aioli. They are always served extremely hot and can be found on every table in the restaurants. 

Sharing meals in Spain is a cherished and significant part of the day and can last upwards of three hours. Breakfast is always something to look forward to as well– croissants and cappuccinos are objectively better in Spain than anywhere else. 

Barcelona’s lively character, charming culture, sights, and food is what makes it an ideal city to add to anyone’s travel bucket list.

Cortados & croissants
Cappuccinos, croissant, zumo de naranja