Here are the gems to seek out while your ship is in the port of Barcelona:
The godfather of Catalan architecture
Barcelona was Antoni Gaudi’s city and his love for it shines through in his work. The most famous is, of course, the Sagrada Familia, the unfinished cathedral that has become a symbol of the city. You can see other examples of his distinctive style dotted across Barcelona, with Park Guell and Casa Mila being particularly popular attractions on the MSC Cruises excursion – Gaudi Experience.
When visiting Casa Mila, be sure to seek out a tiny detail on the roof. This house, which was built between 1906 and 1912, is also known as La Pedrera, or The Stone Quarry, due to its rough stone exterior. The roof houses a number of unusual sculptures, one of which features an arch that perfectly frames the Sagrada Familia - this cannot be a coincidence.
Barcelona’s often overlooked cathedral
With the amount of attention that the Sagrada Familia gets, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Barcelona has been patiently waiting over 100 years to get a cathedral. Well, the city actually already has one and it is very nice too. Barcelona Cathedral is an impressive gothic church that dates back to 1298 and is still used by Roman Catholics to this day.
Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter is a district rich with architectural wonders, but the cathedral more than holds its own. The archways with their defined points and legions of gargoyles are typical features of the gothic style but don’t be fooled by the facade. Technically, it is neo-gothic, as it was a later addition to the building, only having been in place since the 19th century.
Big hitters of the architecture world
Architecture fans will be interested to know that they can tick off a number of other famous structures, off their bucket list while they’re in Barcelona. For example, there’s a large fish designed by none other than Frank Gehry, which twinkles in the sun on the city’s coastline. It was constructed for the 1992 Olympics and made out of steel.
Speaking of the Olympics, Santiago Calatrava - one of Spain’s most-celebrated architects - was commissioned to design a piece to mark the occasion. The resulting Montjuic Communications Tower is 136 metres tall and is said to represent an athlete holding the Olympic flame aloft. In a nod to Barcelona’s rich architectural history, the base has been decorated with trencadis - a technique that uses broken tiles to make mosaics, which was a beloved technique of Gaudi's.
Click here to find out more about Barcelona’s Architecture during your MSC Bellissima cruise!