Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and with 1.6 million people, the second largest city in Spain. If you include its surrounding area, the province of Barcelona has a population of 4.8 million, making it the fifth largest region in the European Union after Paris, Ruhr area (Germany), Madrid and Milan.

A focal point of the city, for over 100 years, is Antonio Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, the church famously still under construction since 1882 with its Oz-like spires and towers. The structure is now set to be completed in 2026 as new spires soar above the Barcelona skyline.

The wonder that is La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The Gothic Quarter ("Barri Gothic") is the center of the old city of Barcelona with medieval  buildings, including some from Roman times. It is thriving with locals and tourists as the ancient structures have largely been renovated inside with many restaurants, cafes and cultural institutions. 

The Catedral Basilica Metropolitana de Barcelona was founded in 343 and still has fragments of its original Roman walls. 

Catedral area in Gothic District, Barcelona

  • Alter at Catedral de Barcelona

  • Ceiling of Catedral de Barcelona

  • Catedral alcove

A very walkable and bustling city, Barcelona's neighborhoods are teaming with tourists, locals and workers. Walking around the area known as El Born was terrific for street photography, filled with shops and cafes. It's narrow alleys were perfect for milling about and shopping.

  • Man walking through El Born

  • Woman and dog watch cyclist through El Born district

  • Window washing in El Born

  • Woman sweeping in El Born district

Gothic District Alley

No one had a greater impact on Barcelona architecture than Antonio Gaudi. His work from the late 1800's is everywhere throughout the city. One of his most elaborate designs is on display at Casa Batlló, known as the House of Bones,  originally designed by Gaudí in 1877 and since refurbished several times.  

Façade of Casa Batlló, Barcelona

  • Window illusion at Casa Batlló

  • Inside Casa Batlló

  • Gaudi's Chains

  • Balls of blue exhibit at Casa Batlló

  • Eyes from Above at Casa Battó

The Montserrat Monastery, formally the Santa Maria de Monserrat Abbey, is located in the Catalonia Mountains, 30 miles outside of Barcelona, Spain. Founded in the 11th century and rebuilt between the 19th and 20th centuries, it still has approximately 70 monks in residence. After taking a typical train from Barcelona, a rack railway with notches in the wheels and rails connects to the abbey location. From there, two additional funiculars at the site trek up and down the mountain.

Montserrat Monastery on notch train and funicular in Catalonia mountains

Street life was extraordinary in Barcelona. While the city takes a break during the hot afternoons, everyone comes out at night. The average dinner time is 9-10pm and the neighborhoods are active with tapas and vermouth bars well into the late evening.

  • Gaudi Chimneys of Casa Batllo

  • No Empanadas

  • Gothic District Late Night Barcelona

  • Futbol at the end of the day

  • Barcelona Through the Window

The urban landscape is spectacular in Barcelona with dramatic cityscapes amid the rolling hills to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the east. The old world architecture mixes with more modern buildings to create a dynamic scene.

Modern Barcelona Skyline

  • La Sagrada Familia Shake

  • Barcelona National Museum Waterfall

  • National Museum Tower overlooking Barcelona at sunset.

Thank you for joining me on this travelogue through Barcelona! These images were taken over a week in September 2022 in a trip arranged by National Parks at Night.

View more photos in this Barcelona gallery.

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