Barcelona, Spain – It’s Summertime!

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Magic Fountain of Montjuïc

Hola! The next few travel entries would be on Spain. We visited 3 cities in Spain (one was a sudden last minute change because of what happened in France…) All 3 cities are beautiful and we travelled out of the cities to visit some of the older towns (more on that later on).

We reached Barcelona on a Friday evening, and the first thing we did after checking into our hostel was to head down to Magic Fountain of Montjuïc, located below the Palau Nacional on the Montjuïc hill and near the Plaça d’Espanya.


Palau Nacional

The place was really grand, there are lots of people waiting for the Magic Fountain performance to start, so it’s a good idea to go there early to grab a good spot! And since it’s a really crowded area, it pays to take extra care of your belongings!


Magic Fountain Performance

The fountain, designed by Carles Buigas, was constructed for the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. It was badly damaged during the Spanish Civil War but restored in 1955 with Buigas overseeing the repairs. There are four shows in total, each lasting about 30 minutes (the show timings are different depending on the season).

(More information on the fountain and other Barcelona attractions below!)


Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
Pl Carles Buïgas, 1, Barcelona, Spain

Operating hours
From 30th April to 30th September:
Thursday to Sunday, 9pm – 11:30pm
Musical displays: 9pm, 9:30pm, 10pm, 10:30pm and 11pm
From 1st October to 30th April:
Fridays and Saturdays, 7pm – 9pm
Christmas and Easter:
Thursday to Sunday, 7pm – 9pm
Musical displays: 7pm, 7:30pm, 8pm and 8:30pm
ClosedThe magic fountain does not operate on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday throughout the year.
Placa Espanya (Green Line, L3) and (Red Line, L1)
Entrance fee


Casa Amatller

Barcelona is very well-known for Gothic structures and buildings. Two particularly famous ones are the Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló. These two buildings are side by side, so it’s a real bonus for tourists – you get to see two popular buildings by just travelling to one place!

Casa Amatller was originally designed as a residence for chocolatier Antoni Amatller and was constructed between 1898 and 1900. The facade was redone by Puigi Cadafalch, giving it its look now.

Casa Amatller
Passeig de Gràcia, 41

Paseo de Gracia (exit Calle Aragó-Rambla Catalunya)
7, 16, 17, 22, 24 and 28
It’s apparently temporarily closed for renovation, do check the website if it’s reopen to the public!


Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló is certainly one very unique building. Designed by a very well-known architect, Antoni Gaudí, this building was remodelled between 1904 and 1906. The balconies look like skulls while the pillars look like bones. The walls are decorated with broken ceramic tiles – resembling the scales of a dragon, doesn’t it?

We didn’t visit both the Casa Amatller and Casa Batlló, as we felt the entrance fees were a little too steep.

Casa Batlló
Passeig de Gràcia, 43

Opening hours
Daily Monday to Sunday 9.00 am to 9.00 pm. (Last entrance 8.20 pm)
Will close early on some days – 9.00 am to 2.00 pm
Check the website for confirmed opening hours.
Paseo de Gracia (exit Calle Aragó-Rambla Catalunya)
7, 16, 17, 22, 24 and 28
Adult: 18.15 €; Students and youths: 14.55 €; (prices include an audio guide)
Save 20% with Barcelona card


Barcelona Cathedral (La Seu)

Yet another must-see in Barcelona is definitely the Barcelona Cathedral. We were really disappointed that parts of the cathedral was under restoration (that was in July 2011), hopefully the restoration’s done by now!

Barcelona Cathedral is a well-known example of Catalan Gothic architecture dating from the 14th century. On this very spot was originally a Roman temple, then a mosque and then a church. Majority of the cathedral was constructed between 1298 and 1448.


Interior of Barcelona Cathedral

Barcelona Cathedral
Plaça de la Seu s/n, Barri Gotic

Opening hours
From Monday to Saturday: 1 PM to 5 PM
Public holidays and Sundays: 2 PM to 5 PM
Jaume I or Liceu
Entrance fee
Free (if I didn’t remember wrongly)


Bridge at Gothic Quarter

The Gothic Quarter (Barri Gothic) is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. It is a great place to just wander around and “get lost”, exploring all the nooks and crannies. Many people couldn’t stop taking photos of this place!


And we also spotted an insanely cute, fluffy and so hug-gable dog that looks like a toy. How I wish to get one!


Plaça Reial

Plaça Reial (which means “Royal Square”), is a popular tourist destination and also a popular meeting point for locals. There’re many cafés and restaurants around this area (we didn’t dine here because we know it’d be pretty expensive, but it’s a perfect place to just sit down, grab a coffee, and read a book / people watch.


Lamp post by Gaudí

When at Plaça Reial, one will definitely notice this unique lamp post, and if you’ve been to Casa Batlló, you’d realize this lamp-post is just so…. Gaudí. This street lamp (and many others around Plaça Reial), was designed by Anotni Gaudí, in the shape of trees. But to be honest, I really couldn’t tell it was a tree… too abstract for me!

Plaça Reia

Metro: L3 Liceu


La Rambla

La Rambla is a super long stretch of road, approximately 1.2 kilometres long, with Port Vell (near the cruise port terminal) at the Southern most end and Placa Catalunya at the northern most end. It is yet another popular spot for both tourists and locals, with many cafés, restaurants and souvenir shops. I love how they have trees planted on both sides to create shade, making it bearable to walk along the road under the scorching sun.


Drinking from the La Rambla Drinking Fountain

In La Rambla, there is a drinking fountain that rumour has it that drinking from it will ensure your return back to Barcelona – similar to the rumour of throwing coins into the Trevi Fountain in Rome. Well, no harm trying right? :p

La Rambla

Southern most end of La Rambla, near to Christopher Columbus memorial
Midway along the Barcelona Las Ramblas, just outside the Liceu Theatre
Northern most tip of the Barcelona Ramblas. Catalunya is also the point at which you can catch the Aerobus ( Express bus service to the airport) and the Barcelona Tours Bus (A Hop on Hop Off Tourist Bus) which will take you around 3 circuits of popular tourist attractions.


Fossar de les Moreres

Located just right behind a church, the Fossar de les Moreres is a memorial plaza where the defenders of Barcelona were buried under – the plaza was built over a cemtery. It is now a public space, but at the same time, it is also a symbolic memorial plaza. A torch of eternal flame (the red arch) stood erected on the plaza.

(Address of this plaza below)


Santa Maria del Mar

Next to the Fossar de les Moreres is a beautiful and important 14th-century church – Santa Maria del Mar. It is considered the most complete example of Catalan Gothic architecture anywhere. It was discovered that – during excavations under the church in the 1960s – this site was originally occupied by a Roman necropolis (cemetery) that was in use from the 4th to 6th centuries.

The church was founded to commemorate the recent Catalan conquest of Sardinia as Santa Maria del Mar symbolizes the medieval naval supremacy of the House of Barcelona. The construction of the church took 55 years, beginning from 1324.


Interior of Santa Maria del Mar

Santa Maria del Mar
Pl. Santa Maria, 1, Barcelona, Spain

Opening hours
Monday to Saturday: 9am to 1.30pm & 4.30pm to 8pm
Sunday & public holidays: 10.30am to 1.30pm & 4.30pm to 8pm.
Jaume I
17, 19, 40 and 45.


The weather was really warm, so we stopped by for an incredibly delicious gelato – I actually loved ordering a rich and light flavoured ice cream and eat them alternately – the thick and richness of the chocolate gelato made the lemon gelato extra refreshing and vice-versa!


Gelato flavours

I love this gelato shop – it’s unpretentious – no display of the gelato, all the flavours are listed on the wall for you to choose from.


Barcelona Beach!

How can a visit to Barcelona in the summer be complete without a visit to the beach? Even though I don’t like to sun-tan, it was just amazing and fun to people watch. The sky was so blue and the sea so blue (sorry, I’m not making much sense, am I?)


Blue skies, sand, hot babes and hunks!

The beach was very huge (stretches all the way to the end of the photo!) and really packed. I really wanted to go into the water but we didn’t come with the intention of sun-bathing so we didn’t have any change of clothes.


Barcelona Beach

(Exit the train and follow the locals to the beach, that’s what we did!)


Sagrada Família (West face)

After a rest at the beach, we headed to another popular tourist destination – La Sagrada Familia.

La Sagrada Familia is an unfinished Catholic basilica designed by the famous architect Antoni Gaudí. Gaudí took over as lead architect in 1884 and he devoted himself entirely to the Sagrada Familia for over 40 years. Unfortunately, Gaudí died in an accident in 1926 and was unable to finish the construction of the basilica…


Sagrada Família (East face)

Work on the project continued after Gaudí’s death under the direction of Domènech Sugranyes but was interrupted by the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1935.

Construction resumed in the late 1950s and the basilica, till today, is still under construction. It was estimated that the basilica would be completed between 2017 to 2026, but my gut feeling tells me the basilica would be completed only in 2026, on the 100th anniversary of Gaudí’s death.


Night view – Sagrada Família (West face)

The basilica is grand and beautiful – there are two faces of the basilica, and I personally prefer the East face because it has a more ancient feel and it has a more Gaudí feel. What do you think?

Despite being construction-in-progress, one can still purchase a ticket to enter the basilica. The ticket’s not cheap, so X and I decided not to visit the inside of the basilica, but stay outside to admire the beauty of the basilica. We may not have a chance to be there again… But who knows? I would love to be there in the future to see the basilica in full glory.


Sagrada Família (East face)

La Sagrada Familia
Plaça de la Sagrada Família, Mallorca, 401, 08013 Barcelona

Opening hours
October to March: 9.00 to 18.00 h
April to September: 9.00 to 20.00 h
25 and 26 December,1 and 6 January: 9.00 to 14.00 h
 Metro: Sagrada Familia station
Adult: 17€
Under 18, students, retired:  11€
Charges are for basilica only, to visit the towers, there’ll be a separate charge.
Top up another 4-5€ to get an audioguide / guide.


Park Güell

The next day, we headed to the most crowded park that we’ve ever been in Europe – Park Güell. It is yet another popular tourist destination and this whole place is designed by – yes you’ve guessed it – Antoni Gaudí. This unique park was built between 1900 to 1914 and is now part of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site.


Gaudí’s multicolored mosaic dragon fountain

A popular souvenir that one will see in Barcelona is definitely this dragon (in key chains, mugs, coasters, etc). This fountain is designed by Gaudí and is supposed to look like a dragon… The design’s unique, granted, but a dragon? It doesn’t look very much like one to me… (Where are the wings?!) Maybe I watched too much of How to Train Your Dragon


Unique bridge

Okay, this is a lousy collage of two photos… but just want to show this very unique bridge in the park. Many buildings designs I’ve seen feature clean and sleek lines or a very nice and smooth curves… but not Gaudí’s designs – he seemed to want to stay away from straight lines as much as possible.


Colonnaded pathway 

Another great example I guess would be this colonnaded pathway – the columns are not erected perpendicular to the ground, the material used for the column’s surface is rough and jagged. It is a very unique design that we didn’t really see it in other countries.


Cross at the top of the park

The park was pretty huge, and right at the top of the park (the park’s located on a hill), is a little hill with a cross erected on top. It’s actually pretty scary to climb up (there’s lots of people crowding the very limited area) but it offers a fantastic view of the surroundings.


View from atop the hill – breathtaking! 

Park Güell
Carrer d’Olot, Barcelona, 08024

Opening hours
Daily 10am – 9pm
Lesseps Station
Exit, follow the directions – it takes about 20 minutes to walk there (including climbing a 200-metre steep hill) 
Entrance fee


Casa Mila

Looking at this building… with lots of curves and not many straight lines… I believe you’ve probably deduced that this is yet another building designed by Gaudí. Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera, was built between 1905 and 1910 and another World Heritage site declared by UNESCO. I felt that this building paled in comparison with Casa Batlló, but that’s just me. You could grab a ticket to have a look of the roof, but again, we didn’t go in because it’s too expensive!

Casa Mila
C. Provença, 261-265

Opening hours
Winter: Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 6.30 pm (last entrance at 6 pm)
Summer: Monday to Sunday from 9 am to 8 pm (last entrance at 7.30 pm)
Closed 25th and 26th December, 1st and 6th January
MetroDiagonal station
7, 16, 17, 22, 24 and 28
Entrance fee
14€ adults; 10€ students & seniors


Arc de Triomf

Almost every country would have at least one Triumph Arch, and Spain is no exception. We saw an Arc de Triomf while we were walking around and we learned that it was built for the Exposición Universal de Barcelona (1888).

The arch is built in reddish brickwork in the Neo-Mudéjar style. The front frieze contains the stone sculpture Barcelona rep les nacions (Catalan for “Barcelona welcomes the nations”) by Josep Reynés. The opposite frieze contains a stone carving entitled Recompense, a work from Josep Llimona’s the earliest period.


Old uncles playing a game like marble

While walking towards another park, we stopped for a while and look at a bunch of elderly enjoying a game of what looks like “marbles”except the balls they used look much heavier. There are two teams, and the aim was to make sure your ball lands as close to the small red ball (did you see it?) as possible.


Lake in Parc de la Ciutadella

After watching two “marble”games played by the elderly, we went on our way and headed to Parc de la Ciutadella. It was a popular destination for couples, families and tourists. The park was about 280,000 meter square big and a part of the park is Barcelona’s zoo. The parliament is also located in the park, together with some museums, fountains etc. Perfect spot for a lazy after, I would say.

Parc de la Ciutadella

Stop at Arc de Triomf station – walk past the arch before heading to the park.
Note: Not the nearest station, but I think you get to see more ;)


Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria

And now I’m finally moving on to the food area! We visited a large public market (also a popular tourists’ destination). Also known as La Boqueria, this market offers a wide variety of goods. A very small market stood at this spot in 1217 and it gradually evolved over the years to be one of the most busy markets in Barcelona.  .




A huge assortment of sweets and preserved fruits

La Boqueria

Liceu station
Line 14, 59 and 91


Complimentary bread

And last but not least, I want to recommend this tapas place that we really liked while we were there. It’s not very cheap but in terms of service and food quality, it’s pretty not bad! We visited there twice during our stay in Barcelona – they offer a wide variety of tapas, and almost all are delicious!


Norwegian salmon marinated in soy and dill

The salmon was raw, and it’s so soft and simply melts in the mouth. The soy was not over-powering and complemented the salmon very well. It was really good.


Home-made cod croquettes

These were a bit disappointing as they didn’t salt and pepper it enough in my opinion.


Sweet and sour chicken with plum sour sauce

This reminds me of karrage chicken…  They were perfectly fried – the outside’s really crispy and the meat inside is very soft and juicy.


Grilled chicken skewer with soy sauce and sesame seeds

Do I need to say more?


Grilled pork with quince jam

This was my favourite of all. The surface of the pork was seared over very high heat – the outside’s crispy and the inside’s still tender and soft. The jam provides a very interesting contrast to the taste – salty from the meat and sweet from the jam.


Spanish potato omlette

It’s a very plain potato omelette that didn’t entice our taste buds…

DSC_8430 barcelona end

Ended our day with mango sorbet!

Lonja de Tapas

Click on the link above to see the four branches they have!

Phew! Finally done with one city of Spain (still have 2 more to go!) I actually blogged about this for about 3 weeks – blogged a bit, then procrastinated, then continued blogging about my other baked goods, then procrastinated a little more… but I’m finally done! It seems that I’m really going to take a year to blog about my Europe trip… Well, at least for me it’s a walk down the memory lane again! :p

Stay tuned for more to come (but you’ll be seeing the recipes first I promise!)


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