Sant Vicenç de Sarrià
The chuch of Sant Vicenç de Sarrià stands in Plaça de Sarrià and was the building around which the town was built. The first recording of a place of worship on this site was in 987 and the church was rebuilt throughout the centuries in various styles. Most notably was in the Middle Ages when the small romanesque church was changed into a more grand and gothic affair. The powers that be (or that were) hired Jaume Huguet to paint the altar piece. He created a beautiful deptiction of Sant Vicent the Martyr which can now be seen at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC) alongside other frescos and altarpieces from all over the region. In the eighteenth century the church was rebuilt again, this time in a neo classical style. A new baroque altarpiece was commission but was unfortunately destroyed by fire in 1936. The church, over 1000 years after it was first constructed, still stands at the heart of life in Sarrià.
Monestir de Pedrables
This monastery is one of the best preserved examples of Catalan gothic architecture and is still home to an Order of nuns today. The monastery was founded in 1326 by King James II of Aragon for his wife Elisenda de Montacada and originally housed an order of Poor Clares. The Monastery of Pedralbes is particularly notable for the frescos by Ferrer Bassa painted during the 1340s and showing the Italian influence popular at that time. The cloister of the monastery is three floors high and enclosed a garden filled with orange and palm trees. The monastery was declared a national monument in 1991 and now houses a permanent art exhibition including painter such as Rubens and Velázquez, and of course, some nuns still reside there.
Parc de l’Orenta
The Parc de l’Orenta is truly a little gem in the middle of the city. Taking its name from the castle which used to stand on the site and of which only a few stones and low walls remain, the park is situated on a ridge and offers fantastic views over Barcelona. But there is more to the park than just the views. For adults the park is almost a mini forest containing some beautiful paths through traditional Mediterranean woodland with aromatic herbs and even some protected plants such as the enormous eucalyptus trees and the Santa Llucía cherry. For the little ones a mini railway, complete with its own station and crew gives them a trip around the park which can be followed by a visit to the ponies in the mini farm. Children can feed and ride the ponies and learn about looking after them.
Cosmocaixa, handily located on Issac Newton street, is Barcelona’s science museum and houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, teaching us about everything from space to micro-organisms. The central staircase which spirals round an Amazonian tree takes the visitors to the permanent exhibitions which include the Flooded Forest which recreates the eco-system of the Amazon, the Geological Wall made from large pieces of mainly Catalan rock allowing us to see different processes such as erosion and faults, there is also The Hall of Matter which takes us right back to the Big Bang and touches on evolution, chaos theory and the origin of matter on our way to the birth of civilization. The museum also holds many hands on activities for little and not so little ones. Also worth mentioning is the building itself which was designed and built in the modernist style of the early 20th Century. The museum underwent renovation and expansion works and was reopened in 2004 in the incredible space we see today.
Tibidabo mountain is the highest point in the Sierra de Collserola range which surrounds Barcelona. Offering incredible views over the city, Tibidabo began to be urbanized at the end of the 19th Century as a leisure area for the well to do, becoming easy to reach by the first funicular railway in Spain. Built in 1901 and locally known as the Tramvía Blau, it is still one of the best ways to reach Tibidabo to this day. One of the oldest theme parks in the world can also be found atop Tibidabo, featuring 25 rides for young and not so young alike and the Tibidabo Sky Walk offering lookout points and fantastic views of Barcelona. Tibidabo is also home to the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor a church built between 1902 and 1961 which can be seen from all around the city sitting on top of the famous mountain. Why not stroll or cycle along Carretera de les Aigues, a path that runs the whole length of the Sierra de Collserola range to fully soak in the view of this beautiful city.
The Palau Reial de Pedralbes is a former royal residence and now home to the Museum of Ceramics and Museum of Interior Design. The land was acquired in the 19th Century by the Güell family who commissioned first Joan Martorell i Montells and then Antonio Gaudí to remodel the buildings on the land to form the palace and landscaped gardens. The Güell family gave the palace to the royal family in 1918 as a thank you for receiving the title of Count they remodeled it slightly, decorating it to their own tastes which can be seen in the bedrooms of King Alfonso XII and Queen Victoria Eugenia which are now open to the public. The gardens are especially notable due to their English and French influences of layout whilst incorporating Asian plants and trees.