Upon landing in Barcelona it is likely that your eyes will be instantly drawn to the array of Antony Gaudi designed buildings, with their spindly towers, colourful mosaics and chimera animals. Indeed, Gaudi’s architecture is instantly recognisable and sits beautifully against the hub of city life and the crystal clear blue skies.
Furthermore, there are many great – and world renowned – art galleries, making Barcelona a bit of a one-stop-shop for famous artistic culture. The Picasso Museum houses the largest array of the artists work anywhere in the world, and the Joan Miro gallery has an eclectic collection of Miro’s work, including paintings, tapestries, sculptures and some early sketches.
However, it is actually when you begin to delve beneath the surface that you get a better taste of what Barcelona culture is really all about. Start peeking behind the curtains of Barcelona life and behind them you will find lots of interesting art fairs and cultural conventions that you otherwise may have completely missed.
Rather than viewing artwork that simply hangs on gallery walls, why not view it in a more unique form at the yearly Tattoo Convention. The exhibition has a vast section showcasing the work of many renowned international tattoo artists. You’ll likely find yourself marvelling at the mind-boggling intricacy of the patterns and hopefully learn a little of the skill and patience that goes into this often underrated art-form.
There are also many popular festivals that celebrate the best of Barcelona culture. It is a flamboyant and expressive city, and both the GEST and ULLS festivals rejoice in this, with their schedules of dance, theatre and music. The GEST festival is particularly interesting for its focus on communication through physical movement and is an example of the interesting and colourful ways Barcelona likes to express itself.
It’s easy to see why Barcelona has quickly becomes a bit of a favourite with holidaymakers looking to expand their cultural knowledge and wanting to go home with some interesting tales to impress their friends with. Each year, many people book flights to Barcelona to explore – or often re-explore – this little cultural haven.
There is also a number of quizzical old historic book markets, where you can pick up rare books, comics and prints or just spend the day browsing the stalls and meeting the locals. And let’s not forget the quaint little ceramic museum that showcases both modern and traditional works, often by local sculptors.
Year after year it just seems to grow into an even more colourful and cultural and city, festivals turn into even bigger spectacles and a number of new festivals emerge. Barcelona is constantly evolving, yet it retains its unique charm and remains one of the Mediterranean’s true gems.