In Barcelona, Spain, I actually got out and did two really fantastic things besides sitting at the beach. One was visiting La Sagrada Familia and the other was taking the cable car up to Montjuïc via the Transbordador Aeri del Port or “Port Cable Car”. Both gave great views of the city and are wonderful to do on a nice day between visits to the beach.
La Sagrada Familia is a church architected by Antoni Gaudí. It was started in 1882, and continues to be built on donations alone. You can visit it to take a look around but additionally, you can take one of the lifts to the top of one of the towers (on one side only-you have to choose). I recommend the nativity side because that’s the one I took, and the views were incredible, looking towards the beach! I didn’t do the audio guided tour but they had those available. They also had gift shops, toilets, and they also had prayer areas inside reserved in silence for those that want to spend a moment to pray.
The place is always packed so it is recommended to buy tickets in advance. Then you have more control over what time you go and don’t spend as much time standing in line. You can buy tickets the day of but you don’t have as much say in what time you go and it could end up being a whole-day event when looking around really only takes about an hour.
I couldn’t really capture the beauty of that place, so you’ll just have to see it for yourself. Maybe when it’s complete. They say on the website that they anticipate it being complete in the first third of this century!
Another day I went and hung out on the beach and then explored and found the gondola, or cable car, that starts in the port and goes up to Montjuïc. On Montjuïc you can see beautiful gardens and the Olympic stadium (Estadi Olímpic) that was said to be an alternative “anti-fascist” site to oppose the Berlin Olympics in 1936, but had to be cancelled due to the Spanish civil war that broke out. It was later used in the 1992 summer games. You can also see the Palau Nacional palace from the top. You can take another cable car to the top of Montjuïc, but I did not have time to catch that ride. I would leave a few hours or a whole afternoon. The line to get onto the cable car was an hour, and I would have liked to have more time to explore the entire grounds. The return car ride line took about 20 minutes. The cable car ride, even though the line was long was still relaxing and it was nice to see a different part of the city for a few hours.
Here are views from the cable car and a few shots at Montjuïc.
There is so much to do in Barcelona, I could have easily stayed a few more days to fit everything in, but if you have limited time and are drawn to the beach like I was, these are both activities that you can easily do while not taking away that precious beach time. 🙂