Port Vell Cable Car in Barcelona

If you are planning to travel to Barcelona, maybe you should consider a trip in the Port Vell Cable Car from the Montjuïc mountain down to the harbour. It will give you spectacular views of the harbour and the beach. Take the Metro to Paral-lel station where you hop on the cable train up to the top of Montjuïc mountain.

The cable car takes you from Miramar station halfway down the hill of Montjuïc down to Barceloneta. It’s a lovely ride that is highly recommended.

Montjuïc Cable Car
Cable Car from Montjuïc
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View of Barcelona harbour

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Top travel moments in 2016

2016 was a really busy year for me with several exciting trips to Europe and the US. In this blog I have tried to document some travel experiences because it is always fun to share some travel tips.

Here are my top travel moments and travel destinations of the year, in no particular order.

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

The Giant’s Causeway north of Belfast is a true natural wonder. It is an area of about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption. The area is located by the sea about an 1-1,5 hour drive from Belfast and I promise you will be amazed by these peculiar octagon shaped stones and the surrounding magnificent cliffs.

Giants Causeway

 

Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Plitvice Lakes in Croatia is a unique natural park with 16 terraced crystal clear lakes and some 90 waterfalls. We visited the park during the summer and despite spending several hours walking the area, we probably didn’t even cover half of it. The park is a beautiful travel destination near the Adriatic Coast and if you plan to visit, don’t miss the climb up to the vantage point next to the largest water fall “Veliki slap”.

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City of Arts and Sciences, Valencia

If you like modern architecture, I can really recommend a trip to Valencia, which is a new favourite of mine. Tourism in the city is on the rise and I think it is an excellent alternative to the more crowded Barcelona nearby.

In the dried river bed that runs through Valencia, a number of astonishing buildings have been built in recent years. The City of Arts and Sciences, or Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències, is a complex of spectacular buildings, many of them designed by the famous architect Santiago Calatrava who was born in Valencia.

Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe
Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe

 

Naples, Florida

Like most people, I’m a big fan of white sandy beaches and sunsets, and few places are better positioned for this than the west coast of Florida. During our latest trip to Florida, we combined a few days on Miami Beach with a week in Naples. It was a cosy town with beautiful beaches and dolphins swam round the Pier all day, which was a fun sight.

Naples Pier, Florida

La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

Barcelona and London are probably the foreign cities I’ve visited most times. The Catalan capital is a favourite destination and the pinnacle of a visit is of course a tour of Gaudí ‘s La Sagrada Familia. The church is moving closer to being finished and don’t miss the walk up one of the towers. The view is quite spectacular.

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Thanks for following the blog during 2016. Looking forward to new travel experiences in 2017.

A day in Barcelona with Gaudí

Barcelona is one of my favourite European cities and it has something for everyone. If you’re just a little interested in architecture, there are several places in the Catalan capital that you must not miss. Many of them bear the mark of the famous architect Antoni Gaudí and during one of our recent visits, we dedicated an entire day to the works of Gaudí.

La Pedrera

La Pedrera

We stayed at Hotel Nextto on Carrer del Rosselló, which had a great central location. In fact, our room even had a patio facing Gaudí’s Casa Milà, also know as ‘La Pedrera’. So we started the day early with a visit to this fantastic building. Since it was early in the day, lines weren’t too bad and it’s always nice to get into these must-see places before they get too crowded.

la_pedrera

Inside there are two amazing courtyards, one when you enter the tour and one at the end of the tour. You continue up to the roof with the odd shaped chimneys and a great view of the city. You continue down to the beautiful attic (pictured above) and further down where some apartments have been saved as a museum.

Park Guell

Park Güell

From La Pedrera we headed up to Park Güell, but a word of warning here. Upon arrival we found out that the central part of the park was sold out, not only on that day but also the day after. This part is called the Monumental Zone (main entrance, terrace, and the parts containing mosaics) and has only had an entrance fee since late 2013.

Now we didn’t worry too much about that because you can see a lot from the public spaces that don’t require a ticket. Also, we had an appointment later on in the afternoon, so we were in a bit of a hurry anyway. But if you are visiting Barcelona for the first time and really want to see the Monumental Zone up close, my advice is to book tickets well in advance.

Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Família

Sagrada Família, or as its full name is, The Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, is the most astonishing piece of architecture you will probably be able to see anywhere in the world. This masterpiece has been under construction for 134 years and it is still not completed. However, a steady flow of tourists have contributed to the financing of the project and it is estimated that the church will be completed in the next 10 years.

Since most tourists in Barcelona visit the church, it is strongly recommended to buy tickets online in advance. We bought tickets before our trip and we also added the tour up in one of the towers. When you do this you have to select a time for entry to the church and a time to enter the tower.

Anyway, you simply cannot visit Barcelona without seeing Sagrada Familia. And don’t just see it from the outside, you really must see the beautiful interior.

Casa Batllo

Casa Batlló

Another of Gaudi’s masterpieces is Casa Batlló on Passeig de Gràcia, the same street as La Pedrera. The building was actually not built from scratch by Gaudi. Instead he renovated an existing building. During our “Gaudi day”, we stopped by Casa Batlló but we didn’t go inside. That’ll have to wait until next time 😉

If you want to read more about the works of Gaudi, there are several pointers in the Wikipedia article.

Valencia – The City of Beautiful Architecture

Bridge above City of Arts and Sciences Valencia
Bridges above the City of Arts and Sciences

You have to give it to the people of Valencia, they sure know how to dream big. Home to the architectural genius of Santiago Calatrava, Spain’s third largest city hosts a range of buildings and bridges that are among the most spectacular you can find anywhere in Europe.

Already in the 1960’s, the city of Valencia made some big decisions in that the river Turia was diverted away from the city centre to the outskirts of the city. This was done in order to avoid further serious floodings. The remaining old riverbed was later on turned into a sunken park, Turia Gardens, that now stretches about 9 km through the city, giving locals and visitors large areas for recreation, walking, running or biking.

l'hemisferic valencia
L’Hemisfèric

Striking architecture
The old riverbed also houses the futuristic City of Arts and Sciences (Ciutat de les Arts i les Ciències), a huge cultural and architectural complex designed by Calatrava and Félix Candela. This complex was one of the main reasons why we chose to go to Valencia in the first place. It’s made up of several spectacular buildings like the giant eye L’Hemisfèric which includes an IMAX cinema and a planetarium, the open-air oceanographic park L’Oceanogràfic and the El Palau de les Arts Reina Sofia opera house and performing arts cente and much more.

Shallow pools of water are placed in front of many of the structures which gives a magnificent mirror effect, especially at night when the buildings are lit up. It is simply one of the coolest places I have ever visited and a great place to take some stunning photographs.

City of Arts and Sciences Valencia
El Museu de les Ciències Príncipe Felipe

Travelling to Valencia from Sweden takes a bit longer than to some of the most popular tourists destinations in Spain, since there are no direct flights. We went from Stockholm with Lufthansa and SAS via Frankfurt which took between six and seven hours including transfer. But it is absolutely worth it.

L’Hemisfèric
L’Hemisfèric

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