Interning abroad in Barcelona is one of the best ways to discover all of the things this vibrant city has to offer. There are an endless amount of cathedrals, tapas bars, and cobbled streets to trawl through, with adventure lurking around every picturesque corner. As an intern in Barcelona, you will eat, climb, and wander your way through one incredible experience after another. If you just arrived in Barcelona and don't know where to start, here are some of the most memorable and life-changing experiences in and near Barcelona.
Outdoors lovers and sports interns in Barcelona should make a beeline for Montserrat. Montserrat is so much more than a mountain range. It is a magical place, with beauty that leaves even the most well-traveled interns breathless. The sheer size of it all is very humbling; in the same way that looking up at an enormous night sky can make one feel so small, looking out into the vast abyss of Montserrat makes one feel very miniature, but also unanimously powerful.
There is a certain feeling that cannot be described, but comes close to godlike as one reaches the top of a peak. The paths are rocky and steep, and although paved and simple to follow, they aren’t easy to move along and take quite a toll on your body. The physical stamina required to make it to the top is not incredible, but you feel it along the way.
You will be surprised at how incredibly resilient your body is to the hike as your eyes float along the landscapes and you find yourself pausing to admire the sheer beauty every few minutes.
The Santa Maria de Montserrat Abby basilica and the Virgin of Montserrat are very beautiful spiritual sites as well, but the natural beauty of Montserrat, and the empowerment and confidence that comes from hiking it, is unlike anything that one can experience near Barcelona.
2. Park Guell
Park Guell is one of the many famous Gaudi masterpieces scattered throughout Barcelona. It truly is magical in how perfectly it harmonizes with the nature around it, as well as with the people who visit it. When one visits Park Guell, it is not only a treat for the eyes, but also the ears. There is a vast array of musicians performing in the area. From enchanting accordion players, to guitarists dressed in cheetah print bodysuits, there are all kinds of music performed at Park Guell, casually and hidden throughout the paths. If you catch the Spanish guitarist with his violinist friend performing beneath the stone awning, you’ll get lost in the sheer beauty of it all.
When visiting Park Guell, it is very important that you enter through the front entrance. There are many paths and walkways with nature surrounding them that it can be very easy to get lost along the way, and stumble into the park through a back pathway. The initial sight of the enormous mosaic-covered stairs and fountains at the main gate is utterly breathtaking and will leave you in a state of awe as you explore the rest of the site.
3. Las Ramblas
Las Ramblas is such an essential component of Barcelona that after being there for so long, many people forget to bring it up as a place to go when interning in Barcelona. It’s a street just off the downtown Plaza that connects to the port and is home to a world of unique and delightful shops. Las Ramblas is a treat for food lovers; you can take your pick of traditional Spanish cuisine at one of the many hole-in-the-wall tapas and paella restaurants, or try one of the many ethnic foods available as well. Follow up with a tasty gelato dessert, or some traditional Spanish treats that look as beautiful as they taste, with all sorts of textures and colors.
Stop and smell the flowers of all types and colors at one of the several flower vendors, who are only a few minutes away from the bird shop, where there are also beautifully colored fish in elegant bowls of glass. On the Ramblas, be sure to go during a weekday so that you can catch the Boqueria, a wonderful market. At first you are faced with fruits of all colors and sorts, so vibrant and fresh looking, and as you go further and further inside the market, you feel like a child again when you see the sparkling wrappers and enormous pieces of fudge at the candy shops. Everything is so eye catching that you might even forget that you can eat it.
Montjuic and everything in and around it has so much to offer that it would take three days to really see all of it. The gardens are particularly magical to get lost in. The greens are absolutely luscious, but the autumn is when it is most beautiful to visit because the leaves are all sorts of shades of yellows and oranges, and the leaves littering the grass create great contrast. Going on a mildly cloudy day also creates the most mystical of settings, and offers a wonderfully fresh smelling experience. Allow yourself to get lost in the gardens and stumble upon lovely little hidden architectural gems along the way, like a fountain amongst perfectly hedged shrubs or the beautiful classical looking statues that are hit perfectly by the sun that slips through the branches of leaves.
Besides the natural wonder that is this area, there are many other things that can be seen like the MNAC or the Joan Miro Foundation, both beautiful art museums. Not being allowed to take pictures inside of these museums is very refreshing and it lets you fully experience each work of art to the highest degree. The other museums, the enormous and beautiful castle, Poble Espanyol, and the Magic Fountain are also great things to catch along the way. The Magic Fountain is best seen at night, when it is illuminated, and set to music. This setup really puts the magic in its name, but then again the entire Montjuic area really makes you feel like you are inside of a fairytale.
5. The Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia is mentioned in every single Barcelona travel book, and no internship in Barcelona would be complete without a peek at this incredible building. It is such a unique piece of architecture and so enormous that it is mind-blowing. The closer you get, the more details you see and the more incredible it becomes. The inside is significantly more beautiful than the outside though, and even those who are not spiritual can feel a great sense of peace and tranquility as they look at the stained glass and fascinating features of this church.
Just as it would be interesting to attend a mass at the Sagrada Familia, for a full experience, it would be beneficial to attend a concert at the Palau de la Musica Catalana.
It is one thing to see a place, and another to be inside of it for something that gives it more meaning, creating a full experience.
People are often disappointed when they see works of art because they have hyped it up so much but do not feel an emotional attachment to it when they finally see it. That is why it is better to say you will do something somewhere instead of see this and see that. Attaching an activity to sightseeing can make it less repetitive, and allow you to feel less like a tourist and more like a traveler.