Beautiful Barcelona

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

It’s one of those places you can leave, but not forget. Both relaxing and vibrant, modern and ancient, sophisticated and quaint, the Catalan capital of Barcelona is a truly a feast for the senses.

Highlighted by both fanciful and classic architecture, Barcelona is home to architect Antoni Gaudi’s most imaginative and recognizable works. His colorful and fanciful visions enhance religious, public (Parc Guell) and private (or formerly so, including Casa Mila and Casa Batllo) structures. His unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia, dominates the numerous church and cathedral spires here, in his inimitable style.

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Barcelona is also a food lover’s delight. As a bustling Mediterranean seaport city, you can find the finest Italian cuisine next to a tiny tapas bar with a delicious Moroccan bakery right next door.

And don’t even get me started on the delicious -- and readily available -- sangria. A Spanish classic, I conducted my own in-depth study of this fruity, wine-based concoction, sampling from a variety of Las Ramblas cafes. I declare it all delicious!

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People-watching is a fascinating activity here. With a variety of public spaces ranging from beautiful Placa d’Espanya to the serene squares of the Gothic Quarter, my favorite venue was La Rambla, the mostly pedestrianized street running from the Placa de Catalunya to the monument to Christopher Columbus at the harbor. Home to shops, restaurants, hotels, sidewalk cafes and street performers, there was always someone interesting to catch my eye in this charming section of this beautiful city.

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Barcelona is a major jumping off point for Mediterranean cruises, and while it's tempting to fly in the morning of departure and get right on your ship, do yourself a favor and come in a few days early. There’s so much to see and do here, you wouldn’t do it justice with a simple half-day city tour on your way to the ship, or seeing snippets of the city before you catch your flight home. You won’t be sorry!

What shouldn’t you miss when you visit this amazing city? Here are the highlights of my personal "must see" list.

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La Sagrada Familia -- Gaudi’s most famous structure and one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, the tours book up days in advance. You’ll want something with a firm entrance time so don't forget to buy your tickets to tour the inside of the cathedral before you leave the United States. 

Parc Guell -- This hillside park offers beautiful views of the entire city, along with Gaudi’s fanciful buildings; I called it “grown-up Candy Land.”

La Boqueria -- One of the city’s oldest markets, its colorful booths and stalls make it popular with locals and tourists alike.

Las Ramblas -- The area around La Rambla features the bustling pedestrian walkway, along with churches, beautiful squares, an entrance to La Boqueria, and some of the best people-watching in Barcelona.

Gothic Quarter -- Encompassing the oldest part of the city, the Gothic Quarter is home to Roman walls and ruins along with several medieval buildings. This area is filled with narrow walkways and charming little squares. A wonderful place to wander.

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And finally, who should put Barcelona at the top of their “dream destination” list? Families, foodies, honeymooners, beach lovers and “culture vultures.” You’ll find activities, museums, monuments, parks, placas, music, sun, sand and architecture to fascinate and entertain everyone in your traveling party!

To chat about Barcelona or the rest of my “Mediterranean Adventure” on Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, drop me a line at Rosanne@preferredtravelservices.com or call 602-603-9300. I look forward to hearing from you!


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Copyright 2018 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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