Barcelona is known worldwide thanks to its architecture (every person who’s ever been in Barcelona can tell you who Gaudí is), its mouth-watering food, its hot-but-not-too-hot summers and its mild winters and the local football team, Fútbol Club Barcelona. Every tourist in Barcelona gets to visit the Park Güell, the Sagrada Família, the Ramblas or the Maremàgnum, but most people who visit the capital of Catalonia don’t know there’s at least 4 places from where one can admire Barcelona’s beauty in its totality and catch a glimpse of its different areas as well as its most representative buildings.
1. An Olympic place with Olympic views
Many credit Barcelona’s rise from a grey and almost unknown city to one of the world’s capitals (at least in terms of the number of tourists) to the Olympic Games held in 1992. This event totally transformed the city: the beach was properly rebuilt in order to attract people coming from colder countries, a number of driveways were built to oxygenate the traffic circulation and the mountain of Montjuïc was urbanized with the Anella Olímpica, where the athletes lived and located next to the Olympic Stadium. It was in Montjuïc where the Olympic swimming pools were built, and the two outdoor pools used for the diving contests are located in an almost magical spot, overlooking the whole city of Barcelona and, on a sunny day, which means quite often in Barcelona, your view will reach out to its neighbor cities, Badalona and Sant Adrià del Besòs. This is a place not to be missed when visiting Barcelona, but which, for some inexplicable reason, most tourist guides forget to mention.
2. A shelter during the Spanish Civil War turned into a stunning spot
When the Spanish Civil War exploded in 1936, several European nations saw this as an excellent opportunity to test the armory they would inevitably use in World War II. The two countries who benefited more from these tests were Italy and Germany, and their warplanes bombed a lot of cities in Spain, from Guernica (the bombing became infamous thanks to arguably Picasso’s most famous artwork, Guernica, painted shortly after the city was destroyed) to Barcelona. In the latter city, the locals decided to build a series of bunkers which would serve as shelters against the bombings. These bunkers were abandoned after the end of the Spanish Civil War and forgotten by all but some Barceloneses and now it is full of people, especially tourists and youngsters armed with their cameras. Located in the Turó de la Rovira, the bunkers overlook the whole city from a location opposite to that of the Olympic swimming pool of Joanic and provide a perfect counterpoint to it.
3. Feel like biking or jogging while admiring Barcelona?
Barcelona is enclosed by the Mediterranean sea at the east, the Llobregat river at the south, the Besòs river at the north and the mountain of Collserola at the north. Reachable by train and a historic funicular, the mountain is where the Carretera de les Aigües is located. It is a dirt track crossed daily by hundreds of runners and bikers alike, and since it is built directly in the face of the mountain, it offers some stunning views of the city. If you feel like having a whole view of Barcelona, as well as its neighbor cities, this is the place you’re looking for, as the Carretera stretches its way along several kilometers and delivers different perspectives of the surroundings of the Catalan capital.
4. Get top views of Barcelona at the top of Park Güell
There are two places that you’ll definitely visit while in Barcelona, and they are the Cathedral of the Sagrada Família and the Park Güell. The first one is filled with tourists from the early morning until the security guards close the doors of the cathedral. The latter is known for depicting Gaudí’s dream-like imagery at its fullest. What’s less known is the fact that the top of the park offers some really nice views of Barcelona. The peak is known as Les Tres Creus, and it’s named after the three metal crosses that still exist and which, as legend has it, could be seen by sailors arriving to Barcelona by ship. This is a very pleasant place to finish your visit to the Park Güell and, what’s better, a small fraction of all the tourists who visit the Park climb up to the top, so you won’t be stressed by a bunch of people, specially if you visit it at sunrise or sunset.
Barcelona: a city full of secret, magical places
You have a wide range of options on what to do while in Barcelona. Some decide to devote their hours in the city to the artworks of any of the artists who lived and worked here: from Gaudí to Picasso. Others take the sun as their best ally and spend their time in the Barceloneta beach. There are even people who come to Barcelona just to see the Camp Nou, the local football team’s stadium! And since all these activities are in a way interesting, it’s a good idea to combine them: any of these superb locations will let you see Barcelona from a whole new point of view.
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