Catalonia attractions include Sagrada Família church, Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic district, La Seu Vella Cathedral in Lleida, Cadaqués, and Val d’Aran valley.
Barcelona’s Sagrada Família church (www.sagradafamilia.cat), designed by Antoni Gaudi, has been under construction since 1882 (and still is)…
…with the official estimate for the church’s completion being 2026.
Year 2026 is, in fact, a significant date in the history of the building, as at that year, exactly a century has elapsed since Antonio Gaudi’s death.
In many ways, Sagrada Familia is a symbol of Barcelona in the same way as, say, Big Ben symbolizes London.
Gaudi’s artistic inspiration behind the Church was to create a “a shelter for Christianity,” with the church being decorated with a lot of allegories to important Christian themes.
One of these allegorical elements is the church’s 18 sphere-shaped towers, which symbolize:
- Twelve Apostles,
- four Evangelists,
- Virgin Mary, and
- Jesus Christ (the tallest of the towers).
One way to explore Sagrada Familia is with guided tours, available also in English.
Barri Gòtic, Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter, is the Old Town’s center, and considered by many to be the most beautiful district in the city.
Barri Gòtic contains an area from La Rambla to Via Laietana, and from the Mediterranean coast to Ronda de Sant Pere.
Most of the buildings in the district date from Medieval times, with some dating from as far back as Barcelona’s period under ancient Roman rule.
In addition to the remnants from the ancient Roman Empire, the Gothic Quarter also include an ancient Jewish Quarter, El Call.
In many ways, the Gothic Quarter is like a Medieval labyrinth made out of stone walls, with its narrow streets mostly closed from car traffic.
Highlights in the district include…
- dramatic Carrer del Bisbe (Bishop’s Street),
- Portal de l’Angel shopping street (the most expensive street in Barcelona in terms of rents), and
- Plaça Reial square, center for Gothic Quarter’s nightlife.
Of the Catalonia attractions, La Seu Vella Cathedral in Lleida has a great location, up on a hill that overlooks the city, with the cathedral being a symbol for the city similarly to how Sagrada Familia is important for Barcelona.
Construction work on the church started in 1203, but the building was not completed until 1431 (when the last structures, such as the clock tower were added to the church).
The church represents architecture that is a mixture of Romanesque and Gothic styles.
Highlights here include an exceptional monastery, located in front of the church, and from where you’ll get spectacular views to the city of Lleida.
Catalonia tourist attractions also feature the village of Cadaques on the Mediterranean Costa Brava coast.
The village is a very popular weekend resort for Barcelonians, and many Spaniards have a second home here.
What has especially brought fame for the village, is that many high-profile artists have come here to relax and to get inspiration…
…the most famous of which being Salvador Dali, who had a holiday home in Port Lligat, adjacent to Cadaques.
Other artists who have considered Cadaques as a source of inspiration for their artworks include
- Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró,
- Marcel Duchamp, Antoni Pitxot, Henri-François Rey,
- Melina Mercouri, and Maurice Boitel.
The village is located an easy day trip away from Barcelona, with buses from there taking about two and a half hours to Cadaques.
Catalonia attractions also include Val d’Aran, a picturesque valley within the Pyrenees, and through which the Garonne river flows towards the Atlantic Ocean.
The area is a popular tourist area especially during the winter period, when the ski resorts are open…
…but also as a summer holiday destination, when people use the area for walking and cycling.
Popular hotels within Aran Valley area, for exploring the place, include Hotel Mauberne (www.hotelmauberme.com), whose owner knows the place and its natural attractions very well, and can make recommendations for itineraries.