The first time I write about my hometown! This is a walk along my Barcelona, the one I live as a local. It’s a walk with interesting sights, history and memories, from the harbor through Montjuic and to the Magical Fountain.
I’ve never written about my hometown Barcelona. Not sure why.
Maybe it’s because when I’m here, I’m not in traveling mode. I’m at home, I’m not paying attention to details, I’m not carrying my camera.
There might be another reason, though. It’s a very well known city, one of the top city destinations in Europe, and many have already written about it. What can I tell you that it’s not been already said? You know already the top things to see and do. Gaudí, Rambla, tapas.
But then one day I read one of Jo’s Monday walks and got inspired. I love walking, it’s my way of exploring new destinations and also to enjoy my own city.
So I thought I could show you my Barcelona, the places where I go, as a local, when I want to have a walk. Attention: this is completely subjective. My view of Barcelona. No Gaudí, Ramblas nor tapas. But there will be beautiful landmarks, some history and old memories.
And in case you’d like to visit any of these places, at the end of the post I’ll tell you which are the closest metro stations.
I hope you enjoy my Barcelona. Let’s go!
Harbor: boats and pirates
As a sea lover, you can guess that my favorite part of Barcelona is the sea. And my favorite spot is this one: the old harbor, next to the small boats.
There’s more. This spot is exactly the place where my attraction to water started.
It happened one day when I was at the university, back in 2004. I had a bad exam and I was sad. If I didn’t pass that exam, I wouldn’t be able to move to Sweden to pursue my studies. That day I walked without direction and reached the harbor. Looking at the floating boats I finally calmed down and found the energy to go on. Everything would be fine.
I’ve been here a lot of times ever since, so I thought it would be a great place to start our walk.
Where is it? I’m at the end of La Rambla, in front of the bridge that leads to Maremagnum, a shopping mall.
On the left I have the private sailing boats. On the right, I have the touristic boats which offer sightseeing tours.
One of them catches my attention. I’m sure I’ve never seen it. It’s a big sailing boat, painted black and red. Next to it, the ticket counter of a tour company announces boat tours on a pirate ship. I look again at the ship, mesmerized, and one young guy asks me if I need some information.
- “Oh, I’m from Barcelona, thanks. But I had never seen this boat, I was curious.”
- “It’s normal, it’s been here for only three weeks. It’s the pirate ship.“
Paral·lel: 3 Chimneys and El Molino
I leave the harbor behind. I pass by the statue of Columbus, turn to the left, and reach a huge roundabout. This is the entry / exit of the road that goes all around Barcelona. Nothing special about it, except the pear-shaped trees in one corner. This is where Paral·lel Avenue starts.
Paral·lel Avenue is a normal avenue nowadays, but it was very important during the 19th and 20th centuries, well known all around Europe for its high concentration of theaters. Most of these theaters are long gone but still a few remain.
I stop at the Three Chimneys Park. The name of the park comes from the three chimneys which used to be part of an electrical power plant.
This is one of the places that I saw with “new eyes” when I came back from my round the world solo trip. I never paid attention to street art before, but after seeing so much street art in South America, I like it now. So today I stop and find out that there’s an artist working on a new one.
My next stop is El Molino, the most famous of the theaters in Paral·lel. Does it remind you of something? The Moulin Rouge in Paris, maybe? Well, they’re from the same period! Most of the facade is the original, except for the upper part which was added in a recent remodeling.
Montjuïc: Miramar and cacti garden
We’re going up to Montjuïc now. What I like about this part of the city is that it’s “next to the sea and the mountain”. Ok, ok, Montjuïc is just 182 meters high, it cannot be considered a mountain! But it’s a big hill where one could easily spend the day: there is a castle, the olympic area, several museums and many parks.
The place I wanted to show you is Miramar. I remember coming here with my parents when I was a kid. I liked to climb the huge roots of the ancient trees. Love these trees. In addition, there are very good views of Barcelona. Do you recognize the place where we started the walk? Down there, can you see the bridge?
A few years ago a 5-star hotel was constructed here, and several ancient trees were cut because they blocked the views. It still makes me sad to think about it.
The entrance of my one of my favorite parks is right here. The park is called “Jardins de Costa i Llobera”, but I call it cacti garden, because it’s full of cacti from all over the world.
I remember one of these rare occasions in which it snowed in Barcelona. I came here to take photographs of the cacti. It was curious to see the cacti, which I associate with hot weather and deserts, covered in snow.
It’s getting late so I leave the park and move on. There’s still another place I wanted to show you!
Palau Nacional and Magical fountain
Instead of going down to Paral·lel Avenue I walk through Montjuïc towards the Palau Nacional (National Palace). It was built for the 1929 International Exhibition, and nowadays hosts the National Art Museum of Catalonia. It’s a beautiful building by itself.
In front of it there’s a staircase that leads to the Magical Fountain, which was also built for the International Exhibition.
The Magical Fountain is one of my favorite sights in Barcelona, which is why I wanted to end the walk here. The show consists on synchronized water jets, colorful illumination and music, which create a beautiful magical dance. It’s crowded, yes, but it’s really worth!
That’s it for today, I hope you have enjoyed this private tour of Barcelona!
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GOOD TO KNOW
- Metro stations to get to:
- Harbor: Drassanes (L3 – green)
- 3 Chimneys Park, El Molino, Miramar: Paral·lel (L2 – purple, L3 – green)
- Palau Nacional, Magical Fountain: Espanya (L1 – red, L3 – green)
- Schedule of the Magical Fountain:
- 19th Feb – 31st March: Friday and Saturday from 19:00 to 20:30
- 1st April – 28th may: Friday and Saturday from 21:00 to 22:30
- 1st June – 31st August: Thursday to Sunday from 21:30 – 23:00
- 1st Sept – 31st Oct: Friday and Saturday from 21:00 to 22:30
- 1st Nov – 6th Jan: Friday and Saturday from 19:00 to 20:30
- You can check the latest updates in the website Barcelona Turisme
This post is part of Jo’s Monday walks.
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