Whether you are an experienced artist, or just fascinated by art, architecture and culture, Barcelona, Spain is a fascinating city. From the unusual buildings by the famed architect Gaudi, to immersive experiences that allow you to get in touch with your own artistic side, it’s impossible to visit Barcelona without being (even just fleetingly) inspired.
If you simply want to experience amazing art, there are some attractions in Barcelona that you simply cannot miss. Artist Pablo Picasso hails from this Spanish city, which honors its native son with museums and landmarks. Grab a snack at El Quatre Gats, a café often visited by the avant-garde genius himself and saunter down Calle Reina Cristina to see the sites that inspired his work. Be sure to visit Museo Picasso, which displays more than 3,500 works from the artist’s early years.
Picasso is not Barcelona’s only artistic genius, though. Architect Antonio Gaudi designed the Sagrada Familia, a cathedral that has simultaneously delighted and infuriated the world. The cathedral has been described as having the appearance of a Gothic cathedral covered with dripped candle wax, but what appears to be random drippings are actually ornate carvings that tell the story of the early years of Christ. More than five million people visit Sagrada Familia each year, making it one of Barcelona’s top attractions and a must-see.
For more exposure to art in Barcelona, visit the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), which features work from the latter half of the 20th century or the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC). At the MNAC, you can see modern work and the largest collection of art from the Catalan region in the world.
While Barcelona certainly has its fair share of museums and artistic sites, it’s also a top destination for photographers. Even amateur photographers can capture stunning images of the city. Climb the Torre de Collserola for a bird’s eye view of the city, or stroll through La Boqueria along La Rambla (itself a destination sure to inspire, packed with human statues, fortune tellers, entertainers and stalls selling everything from flowers to food) to sample Spanish delicacies and get amazing pictures of colorful fruits, vegetables, herbs and olives. For more photographic opportunities, wander through Barcelona’s many gardens and parks, often works of art in and of themselves. Visit the Teatre Grec or the Jardins Laribal for photos of gorgeous plants and flowers.
No trip to Spain is complete without experiencing flamenco, and Barcelona is the place to catch a performance of this traditional Spanish dance – or learn a few steps yourself. El Tablao de Carmen is the place to see the stars of flamenco, while Los Tarantos draws a huge tourist crowd to performances. Several dance companies and excursion leaders offer flamenco workshops, from short lessons to multi-day workshops for experienced dancers. So don’t forget to pack your dancing shoes!
In addition to flamenco lessons, you can take other artistic workshops during your trip to Barcelona. Sign up for a mosaic workshop, and spend a few hours learning this traditional craft and leave with a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Or try a sketch workshop, a photography walk or even a cooking class to learn the precise art of Spanish cooking.
Where to Stay
Much like it’s not hard to find an artistic experience in Barcelona; it’s not hard to find Barcelona hotels on Venere that reflect the city’s artistic aesthetic. Book a room at the seaside Hotel Arts Barcelona and enjoy one of the city’s best collections of Spanish contemporary art; the hotel itself is a work of art as well, with 44 stories of blue glass and steel and a pool area in the shadow of Frank Gehry’s golden fish statue, one of Barcelona’s most iconic pieces of public art. Or, if you want a taste of old world Spain, book your room at the Hostal l’Antic Espai and sleep among pieces of antique furniture and traditional art.
For anyone looking to be inspired, a trip to Barcelona can be a life-changing experience. From world-famous architecture to colorful markets, this coastal city provides inspiration for all the senses. Consider building your trip around the arts and experience the best that bustling, colorful Barcelona has to offer.
This article was written by Craig Courson. Craig is a freelance writer and travel enthusiast currently residing in Australia.