Gloria Rodriguez was born and raised in vibrant Barcelona and loves touring her city. Art Historian by degree, Gloria has acquired the perfect training to complement any tour of this European masterpiece. Her main goals are to be welcoming and empathetic, but to most importantly act as the perfect cicerone – a private Barcelona guide that's able to point out places of interest, importance and historical value to tourists.
When Gloria was asked for insider tips to her city, this is what she had to say:
What surprises people most about Barcelona is... the size. There are no long distances between the main attractions, so you can go on foot, which is the best way to know a city. Or, you can take any kind of public transport to get across the city in a few minutes.
If a visitor to Barcelona could only eat one thing... different kinds of appetizers (tapas), from the most sophisticated to the more traditional. A tapas experience is a must in Barcelona.
To stay cool in the Barcelona summer heat... avoid the midday peak. You can start your cultural tour early in the morning, have lunch, and enjoy a siesta (nap) like the Spaniards. Later in the afternoon, you can enjoy any of the many spectacles, summer festivals, or concerts held in the city. Or, simply enjoy a cold drink in one of the many outdoor terraces in town.
My favorite park in the city... is very close to my house. El Turo del Putget, a quiet and peaceful park, is where I enjoy my days off, reading on a bench or strolling different pathways. It's a neighborhood park – not touristy at all – and a place from which you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views over the city.
Small shops in Old Town are really charming; you can find any specialty. If you have a sweet tooth, lots of sweet and chocolate stores are around Petritxol Street. If you are a fashion lover, depending on your budget, you have plenty of shops to suit all tastes.
My favorite museum in town is the MNAC – the Museum of National Art of Catalonia. It has the most important collection of Romanesque Art (art from around 1000 years ago). The way it is displayed is really interesting because special areas have been created to reproduce the natural spaces that the different frescoes occupied in the small churches in the Early Middle Ages.
Photo courtesy of The Travelista via Flickr.