Barcelona highlights for a first-time Mobile World Congress attendee
All work and no play doesn’t have to be your motto while attending Mobile World Congress 2018 for the first time! Barcelona is one of the most beautiful cities off the Catalonian coast, and is known for its diverse culture, art and architecture. Make the most of your trip to MWC by squeezing in a little sightseeing.
Whether you have only a couple of hours or a whole day, here are a few Barcelona highlights you’ll want to be sure to experience:
1. Parc Güell
If you’re short on time and have to keep your options to just one or two must-see locations, Parc Güell should be at the top of the list. Built between 1900 and 1914, this UNESCO World Heritage site is quintessential Gaudí — a well-known architect whose work has significantly influenced Barcelona’s architecture.
The Parc is filled with amazing stone structures, beautifully colored tiling, and incredibly interesting buildings. There is also a walkway supported by twisting rock pillars that give the perception that the pillars are of growing out of the ground like a tree trunk, making the place feel magical.
2. La Sagrada Família
Another Gaudí structure (there are many in Barcelona), the La Sagrada Família is considered his unfinished masterpiece and the greatest work of Modernist architecture. The Roman Catholic cathedral has been under construction since 1892 and is not expected to be finished until 2030. However, its elaborate exterior and astoundingly harmonic interior will still take your breath away.
Climbing one of its towers will also give you a unique view of Barcelona, but plan ahead — there will probably be long lines.
3. The Eixample
Eixample, which translates as “extension,” is a large area that encompasses the La Sagrada Família as well as other well-known Gaudí sites, such as La Pedrera, Casa Batlló and Hospital de Sant Pau. Famously known as home to Barcelona’s Modernista architecture, the area is divided into two halves by the Passeig de Gràcia.
4. La Rambla
If you’re ready for a break from Gaudí, consider taking a walk down La Rambla, Barcelona’s best-known landmark. A great place to grab lunch or a snack, La Rambla’s pedestrian thoroughfare winds through Barcelona’s old town, from Plaça de Catalunya, a circular plaza filled with beautiful fountains and stunning sculptures, to the Columbus monument. Near the Columbus monument, you can also make your way to the Maritime Museum, which is adjacent to the harbor front.
Besides enjoying some cultural Barcelona highlights, an open-air market lines the pedestrian walkway, making it a perfect place to do some souvenir shopping or enjoy the world-famous flower stalls.
5. Barri Gòtic
A densely packed maze of small streets closed to traffic, Barri Gòtic is Barcelona’s Gothic quarters. Many of the buildings in Barri Gòtic date back to the Roman settlement of Barcelona. Some of the highlights you will want to visit include Basilica of La Merce, Barcelona Catedral and Plaça del Rei, where you’ll find the Barcelona History Museum. Built between the 13th and 15th centuries, the cathedral is a popular attraction.
Sites like Parc Güell or Barri Gòtic can take up to a half day to visit, so try to plan at least two to four hours for sightseeing if you head into Barcelona. Even if you only have an hour or two, you can get a feel for the Catalonian culture with a quick walk from MWC. Within a quick walk from Fira Gran Via, you can visit the covered Santa Eulalia Market, a 12th-century Romanesque hermitage, or take a stroll in Alhambra Gardens.
There will be plenty to take in at Mobile World Congress, including many exciting mobile innovations, but take a moment to step away and enjoy the local culture and the highlights of Barcelona.