Barcelona in Spain is known for the iconic architecture of Antoni Gaudi, including the Sagrada Familia cathedral, Casa Mila, Casa Battlo and Parque Guell. The port city overlooks magnificent beaches with all the necessary amenities. With all these splendid attractions, it is surprising to note that Barcelona has been named one of the cheapest destinations this summer.
Besides all this great news, what is known as Madrid’s “less stuffy sister” also has a number of truly unique and unusual attractions to explore. Here we visit a chocoholic's dream come true, a boulevard of street performers and human statues and a remarkable miniature train display.
1. Chocolate Museum, Barcelona
The Chocolate Museum is a chocaholic’s dream, set in the heart of Barcelona. Hernan Cortes and his conquistadors first introduced Spain to chocolate five hundred years ago, when they brought ashore the first cocoa beans. Cortes and his men had discovered the treat, while pillaging the Mayan and Aztec empires of Central America, where cocoa beans had been in use for more than 3,000 years. While we may feel sorry for the Mayans and the Aztecs, we are certainly not complaining about the introduction of our favourite treat!
In honor of the introduction of chocolate to Spain, the Barcelona Confectionery Guild set up the Chocolate Museum to tell its story. Here, visitors can get a general idea of the evolution of chocolate. They can then view the incredibly detailed sculptures that fill the museum, all made from chocolate.
On entering the museum, visitors are greeted by a huge white chocolate ape named Snowy, where they receive their own chocolate bar as part of their admission. The various sculptures include cultural icons like Minnie Mouse and Louis Armstrong. However, most of the work focuses on Spanish architecture, including the Sagrada Familia cathedral, one of Gaudi’s houses and the creatures from Parque Guell. Even better, the museum has plenty of sweet treats to purchase to take home.
2. The Street Performers of Las Ramblas, Barcelona
One must-stroll area of Barcelona is Las Ramblas, which runs through the centre of the city from Plaza de Catalunya to the Port. Along the way, you can expect to see wonders like a demoness from mythology, a skeleton on a bicycle, a man on a toilet an angel and the Grim Reaper himself.
This stretch of Barcelona used to be the site of a monastery and a university, but is now the busking centre of the city. Human statues transform themselves into famous figures or mythical creatures from history, with elaborate makeup and costumes. They often spend hours standing frozen in place and for a euro or two, will transform and perform for the crowds.
The boulevard stretches for almost a mile and is the perfect stage for street performers and human statues, capturing the attention of tourists and locals alike. While strolling, visitors can also see a huge circular street mosaic in primary colors by the famous Spanish artist Joan Miro. The mosaic was created in 1967 and was restored by the government on its 30th anniversary.
3. The Magical World of Trains
Màgic Món Del Tren (Magical World of Trains) is dedicated to the hobby of collecting and model-making. Josep Arumí Bou has been a Märklin train collector since 1984. He has put together a collection of locomotives and passenger and freight cars in gauge HO (1:87) as well as other gauge 1 elements.
The ground floor of his house features glass cabinets, containing part of his collection, including the oldest, using M railway tracks, recreating the steam railway world. The other is a recreation of the modern electric traction railway.
The owner has put together a large railway center, Màgic Món Del Tren, which hosts his private collection and two big layouts. The exhibition is now on view in the modern, three-story building for visitors to see. Visit the official website to find out more.
Enjoy these and other unique attractions on your next visit to Barcelona!