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The Classic First Timer Top 5 Things to in Barcelona

We debated long and hard over what should be number one on this list and it was not easy but we had to start somewhere so we started with the famous!

1. La Sagrada Familia (the sacred family) is a massive Roman Catholic basilica under construction in the centre of Barcelona. Construction began in 1882 and its formal title is. Originally designed by Antonio Gaudí­ (1852 - 1926), who worked on the project for over 40 years, devoting the last 15 years of his life entirely to the endeavour, the project is scheduled to be completed in 2026. Gaudí died in 1926. The work was ten continued by another architect called Doménech Sugranyes until progress was halted by the Spanish civil war in 1935. Since 1940, a series of architect have been working on a mixture of the original design from Gaudí himself an adapted design of individual interpretation. This is a must see piece of architectural splendour. Over 2 million tourists visit it every year! you cant go wrong, watch out for the long queues in the summer!!!

2. Casa Batlló, This is next on our list of classic things to do in Barcelona.The building was designed by Gaudí­ for Josep Batlló i Casanovas, a wealthy aristocrat, as an upmarket home. It is located in the swanky Passeig De Gracia nestled in with Gucci, Bally, D&G and many of the to die for shops. Awarded as one of the three best buildings of the year 1906 by the Barcelona city Council, this building is another offering by the famous Gaudi famed for never using straight lines in his architecture because he wished to mimic the beauty and perfection of nature. (The straight line is a man made invention).

3. Las Ramblas No first time visit to Barcelona is complete without a trip to Las Ramblas. Often referred to as the heart of the city, technically, it refers to the area around five interconnecting, divided roads (each with Ramblas in its name) running from the Barcelona Harbour to Catalunya Square this is why it is called Las Ramblas in the plural. It was originally a stream bed which over time was paved over. The name La Rambla means, in Spanish and Catalan, an intermittent water flow, and is derived from the Arabic 'Ramla' which means 'sandy riverbed'. Now, you will find a plethora of small coffee shops, bars, restaurants and amusing street entertainers as you stroll down this most enchanting street. Please, please watch out for the pick pockets, you might think that it may not happen to you but that is what everyone thinks until it happens to them.

4. Parc Guell, Once again we see the influence of Gaudí! This park was originally the brainchild of an aristocrat called Eusebi Güell who wanted to create an estate for upper class living taking advantage of the clean air and the abundance of light. The project was inspired by the English Garden City Movement hence the English word 'Park'. Unfortunately the housing site was commercially unsuccessful and the estate was turn into a tourist park. This is a must see complete with famous mosaic lions and the house where Gaudi himself lived for a while. You will need to give yourself about a half a day to really check out the park in its entirety

5. The Camp Nou, Now I know you may not all be football fans, but a tour around the Camp Nou ( New Field) is a must if only to see the largest stadium in Europe and the 3rd largest in the world. Not to talk about home of arguably the best team in the world. In the early 90s it boasted a capacity of 120,000 but when standing was outlawed this dropped to below 99,000, however with recent renovations it is now up to 106,000. If you need any more reasons to take a trip to the Camp Nou how about that it has played host to concerts by, Michael Jackson, U2, Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra and Julio Iglesias. The stadium also houses the most visited museum in Catalonia, El Museu del Barça, which receives about 1,200,000 visits per year.



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