Article by Sienna Vance
The recent terror attack on Barcelona shook me. I visited this city for the third time to meet up with my family only 5 months ago. It’s crazy how in so little time, the same La Rambla, that my family and I strolled, was the same place that had been attacked on August 17th. I offer my condolences to all of the victims and their families who have been affected by the attack.
Terrorism can affect tourism in different countries—you may be now wondering if Barcelona is even safe to visit. After the 2015 terror attacks in Paris, tourism to this city dropped dramatically, costing France’s overall tourism industry at least 750 million euros. However, Barcelona is actually one of the safest cities that you can visit in Europe. A study by the Economist Intelligence Unit confirmed that Barcelona is one of the safest cities in the world in terms of general crime and that Barcelona is the third safest city in the EU, and the fourth safest in Europe – only lower than Stockholm, Amsterdam, and Zurich.
A visit to this city will leave you invigorated by eccentric avant-garde architecture, a lively party-scene, delicious food and so much more. You shouldn’t take Barcelona off your travel plans, and here’s why:
All Things Gaudí
Barcelona would not be the same without its influence from famed Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. I’ve seen a few of his works more than once, but I never feel less amazed. Whether you go to Casa Batlló, Parc Guell, or La Sagrada Familia—some of Gaudi’s sights that I’ve visited myself—you’ll be in awe of his detailed designs and their symbolism. It’s easy to plan a day to see all of these sights.
In the morning, visit Parc Guell, where you’ll discover a labyrinth of colorful mosaics, and take in breathtaking views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean Sea. Next, head to Gaudi’s Casa Batlló, which takes color to a whole new level, by incorporating its interior designs with symbols of nature.
And finally, before lunch, go to La Sagrada Familia, which is definitely my favorite Gaudi work. It’s a massive Basilica with detailed, artistic facades that depict the life of Jesus Christ. If you love avant-garde architecture, you’ll surely fall in love with La Sagrada Familia. It’s one of the most beautiful churches that I’ve ever seen. It mixes abstract art forms, symbols of nature and religion altogether in its architectural design.
Located near Barceloneta Beach, Club Opium is definitely the hot spot of Barcelona’s nightlife. There’s a huge dancefloor, multi-colored lights, zones with a variety of music genres and even dancers. I went here during Easter vacation two years ago and got in for free!
If you follow Club Opium’s Facebook page, the club may promote opportunities to sign up for its guest list. If you sign up, you may be able to get free entry just like I did—so if you’re visiting Barcelona soon keep an eye out for posts!
Montserrat is a sacred monastery that sits on the side of a multi-peaked, one of a kind, serrated mountain range. This is definitely one of the best day trips that you can take from Barcelona—it’s literally only 30 miles away. The monastery, here. is famous for its Virgin of Montserrat, also known as the ‘Black Madonna’ because of her dark skin tone.
The mountain views are gorgeous, and the Santa Maria de Montserrat— the abbey that’s home to the Virgin of Montserrat–has a beautiful sanctuary and shrine to the Black Madonna. When I went to Montserrat with my family this Easter vacation, we went with a tour group, which was a bit pricey. But, if you’re traveling to Barcelona on a budget, there are trains from the city’s Plaça Espanya that go to the mountain every hour.
La Bodega Flamenca
You may not be visiting the south of Spain, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t see an authentic flamenco dance show in Barcelona. La Bodega Flamenca’s performers are highly skilled in this passionate Andalusian art-form. They combine dancing, rhythmic clapping, and sensual guitar playing to put on a truly amazing spectacle. The best thing about this place is that you can eat while you watch the performance. The food is to die for. Order the paella marisco if you really want to be impressed.
If you need an afternoon to relax on your Barcelona trip, pack a few sandwiches and head to Ciutadella Park. It’s idyllic green scenery and serene sights like the park’s fountain can certainly give you a peaceful break from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are even adorable little green parakeets prancing around—you can see them in trees and in patches of grass while walking through the park.
Mercado de La Boqueria
Located on La Rambla, Barcelona’s vibrant main street, Mercado de La Boqueria is a haven for foodies. You’ll find a plethora of fresh food and ingredients like vegetables, fruits, cheese and of course, the famous Spanish jámon (ham). You can easily spend an hour here, taking in all of the smells and delights of the market.
The Freaking Meditterannean!
Barcelona is on the coast of one of the most beautiful seas in the world. If that’s not enough to get you to visit, then I don’t know what is. Dip your feet in the crystal blue water, or soak up the sun in the sand at Barceloneta beach, where you can see some of the best views of the sea.
So, Plan Your Trip!
Spending a holiday, or part of your euro-trip in Barcelona is definitely worth it. Terrorism is designed to scare us, but we shouldn’t let it control where we travel to. Fear may cause you to miss out on some of the most amazing places in the world, and this is exactly what terrorists want. So, instead of giving into your anxiety, take a deep breath, clear your mind and just go! Go to Paris, Barcelona, London, or any other city in Europe that you may be afraid to visit. Come see them for yourself, and make your own judgments about whether they’re safe or not. Know, that you can always come home if you don’t feel comfortable. The only thing that matters is you taking a chance. You may learn something new or see something mind-blowing while you travel that can change your life for the better.