Montjuic Park, Barcelona

I can’t wait to visit Barcelona again, a city of treasures on every street corner and in every neighborhood.

I took in the all of the amazing views from high above the city on top of Montjuic, the city’s largest park similar in size to Forest Park in St. Louis, or at ground level with Barcelona’s wide tree-lined avenues laid out as a grid.

I became immersed in the works of world-renowned artists such as Picasso, Miro, and Gaudi. Their influence on art and architecture is celebrated everywhere around the city.  Gaudi’s work is seen in famous buildings such as Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. Tours are offered inside these palatial apartment homes. Both buildings are only blocks from each other. To appreciate the full scale of their beauty and uniqueness, stand across the street on the opposite corner for a full whimsical view of the amazing colors and wavy lines. Across the parks and plazas in the city, I found Miro’s abstract murals and surreal sculptures throughout.

The Basilica of Sagrada Familia

The Basilica of Sagrada Familia, is considered among the seven wonders of Spain. In all my travels, this one of the most impressive sites I have seen. It is truly amazing. The entire building inside and outside tells a story from biblical times through the past century and into the genius mind of its architect Antoni Gaudi.

This is the most visited site in Barcelona and attracts big crowds. Reservations must be made well in advance. Skip the line tours are available as well.

Surrounded by centuries of architectural styles, from Moorish to Gothic to NeoClassical, Romanesque, Baroque, and very modern. I have a passion for architecture as art, so Barcelona is a highlight for me.

Take the Hop On Hop Off Bus. Take one or all three routes too see it all and to have a full appreciation of what makes Barcelona a world-class city. Pass through quiet elegant residential neighborhoods and along Passeig de Gracia, Barcelona’s Rodeo Drive.

Museum’s In Barcelona

Barcelona is also a city of big museums such as the Picasso Museum. Fundacio Joan Miro, the Gaudi House Museum in Parc Guell, the Maritime Museum, and many many more. On Montjuic, there is the Olympics Museum and other buildings constructed for the 1992 Summer Olympics.

Walking around the bustling harbor, I saw yachts of all sizes. Europe’s largest capacity soccer stadium is here in Barcelona, as well as Europe’s most important cruise ship port and one of the largest convention centers on the continent.

The Kimpton Vividora Hotel

Credit: Kimpton Vividora Hotel

My wife and I stayed in the heart of the Gothic Quarter at the Kimpton Vividora Hotel. We loved this hotel and its rooftop pool and outdoor terrace. While enjoying the incredible view, we had a drink, ordered some tapas, sat and relaxed. It felt great. I will remember this time as one of life’s pleasures to not think about anything else or feel I needed to be somewhere. The rooms at the Kimpton were quite comfortable and rather large for a European hotel. Breakfast is included, a happy hour each evening with complimentary drinks, free WiFi, and small fitness area. The staff was welcoming and eager to assist.

Restaurants In Barcelona

As one would imagine, there are many wonderful and highly acclaimed restaurants in city of this caliber. I will offer one recommendation, El Pintor. Only a two-minute walk from the Barcelona Cathedral, on a narrow pedestrian street in the Gothic Quarter, near Placa de Sant Jaume. This restaurant is housed in a rustic venue with exposed brickwork and a terra cotta floor featuring traditional paella, grilled meats and vegetables and other Catalan specialities. Good wines. Spanish olive trays and assorted tapas. And not too expensive. I found this restaurant to be uncrowded, delightful, and authentic.

John Werner

As a 45 year veteran of the travel industry and the President of MAST Travel Network since 2002, John’s career has included 14 years as a travel agency owner. He has served in various capacities on the Board of the Midwest Chapter of ASTA including Treasurer and Vice President. John has also held several positions on the Board of Directors for MAST including Vice Chairman and Board Chairman during the years he owned Travel Group International, a MAST member during the 1990s.