It’s Valentine’s Day, you’re in Barcelona, and the thing you most want to do is forget that it’s Valentine’s Day. Or not. Maybe all you want is to wander the streets of this undeniably romantic city with your sweetheart. Either way, you do not need to do much to keep yourself entertained on Valentine’s Day if you’re in Barcelona… or for that matter, any other day you wish to romanc-ify. All you need to do is visit the gorgeous Mondernista architecture found around the city (and no, I’m not talking about the Gaudi masterpieces because visiting those goes without saying).
1. Under normal circumstances, a visit to a hospital is not generally something you do on vacation unless you’re very very sick. But for goodness sake, look at it:
Although it is still a fully functioning hospital, the Hospital de Sant Pau is also one of Barcelona’s most beautiful and memorable sites. Built between 1901 and 1930, it was designed by Catalan modernist architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The hospital part of the building actually predates the completion of the modern-day building by several centuries. The hospital was initially founded in 1401 when six small medieval hospitals merged into one. The 20th century version is basically a small town with its own gardens, streets, and even a church. The beauty of the interior alone helps patients in their convalescing.
2. The Palau de La Musica Catalana.
Another masterpiece designed by the genius Montaner, the Palau de la Musica Catalan was built to promote Catalan music. It was designed during a period of Catalan Renaissance that taking place at the time and features Miguel Blay’s amazing sculpture “The Catalan Song” as well as plenty of rich mosaic ornamentation on the exterior. The inverted dome skylight by Antoni Rigalt dominates the interior.
3. Illa de la Discòrdia
The Illa de la Discòrdia is a block located in the Eixample District, on the Passeig de Gràcia. The block encompasses buildings by all four of Barcelona’s famous Modernista architects: Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Antoni Gaudí, (alright, I’m breaking my own rule here – sue me!) Josep Puig i Cadafalch and Enric Sagnier. These four men revolutionized the city’s cultural style and maybe even to some extent its character during the Catalan Renaissance. The four buildings are all phenomenally different and clash with each other. But it’s ok, they were always meant to.
To round the day off, I’d recommend a glass of Cava, because alone or in a couple, Barcelona is a city worth making your Valentine.