Welcome to Barcelona! Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia in Southern Spain, and a cosmopolitan city filled with architectural and artistic treasures. The city is famous for artists and architects such as Gaudi, Dali, Miro, and Domènech as well as many others. We tour the city to discover the top Catalan Art Nouveau architecture monuments and museums.
Behind the scenes travel vlog:
► ► 0:18 - 1:56 Fundació Joan Miró:
A visit to Barcelona is not complete without enjoying the unique works of Catalan painters such as Joan Miró. The Barcelona native is one of the most widely-recognized and renowned Catalan artists. His Surrealist works spanned many mediums including painting, sculpture, and textiles. The Fundació Joan Miró features 14,000 works dedicated to the Spanish painter and the museum is of the most notable architectural monuments in the city's recent history.
► ► 1:57 - 2:55 Jardins de Laribal
For a peaceful city escape and the best views, visit the Jardins de Laribal. Located outside of the Fundació Joan Miró is the Jardins de Laribal, which feature panoramic views of Barcelona, fountains, landscaped terraces and gardens. We visited in April and the entire park was filled with flowers in full bloom.
► ► 3:01 - 3:27 Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya "Palau Nacional"
The Palau Nacional is an iconic landmark that houses 1,000 years of art in Barcelona.
► ► 3:38 CaixaForum
The CaixaForum is located near the Montjuïc area and was a former factory that now houses art exhibits.
► ► 5:29 Palau de la Música Catalana -
Barcelona's famous music and concert hall was created in the early 1900s by Catalan architect Lluís Domènech I Montaner. You can view the facade from the outside, take an architecture tour of the interior, or purchase tickets to a concert to enjoy this architectural marvel. The interior features a stunning stained glass natural light ceiling.
► ► 7:28 Hospital Sant Pau -
Beautiful Catalan Art Nouveau hospital complex by Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner. For an admission fee, you can tour the grounds and walk through the whimsical architectural facades.
What is your favorite museum or architectural monument in Barcelona? Comment below!
Wondering which island to visit on a day trip from Athens? With an estimated 6,000 islands in Greece, each with their own charm, it can be hard to choose. But if you are short on time, some of the islands such as Corfu, Santorini, and Crete may be too far. Luckily, Athens is only an hour away from some of the most beautiful and quaint islands. Look no further than the beautiful island of Hydra.
From the Athens port of Piraeus, we take the ferry on an hour and a half journey across the Aegean Sea to Hydra, an island filled with history, beautiful ocean, narrow cobblestone alleyways, hilltop views, cats, al-fresco Greek dining, water sports, relaxation, and old movie charm. Best of all, the island is traffic-free and does not have any cars.
Behind the scenes video:
Hydra is rich in history. At one point, it was part of Venice and later the Ottoman Empire. We visit the island's historic Greek Orthodox churches, then venture to the top of the hills to capture the views.
We visited during Spring in March, and the weather was in the low 70's with crystal clear waters. While we didn't see any swimming beaches near the port, there were many ocean activities such as kayaking, water taxis, and even a diving area to take a dip in the water.
In Greece, there are "community" cats and dogs, which roam all over Hydra. As you can see, they are well taken care of by the local community.
On our way back, the ferry stopped at another port called Poros, which had a similar vibe as Hydra, only with cars. The ferry had many convenient times throughout the day, some running every hour, making it easy to island hop.
If you are looking for a quick island getaway from Athens, check out Hydra. What is your favorite island in Greece?
Welcome to Athens Greece! This is one of the oldest cities in the world and regarded as the "cradle of Western civilization", birthplace of democracy, and home to some of the most epic archaeological sights. Outside of the ancient Greek sights, we were not quite sure what to expect in modern Athens. Following a relatively recent financial crisis, the city has made many improvements and keeps getting better with time. They have added an exciting new museum and dedicated entire streets to pedestrians, making it more approachable for tourists. Best of all, where else can you walk the streets and visually see layers of history dating back to the 5th C BC?
We visit Athens over a weekend trip during "off-season" in March to discover the many ancient and modern sights that the city has to offer. Here's what we found.
The Acropolis -
The first sight we visit, and the reason for our trip is the Acropolis - a must see for any Athens visitor. Perched high on a craggy rock, the Acropolis dominates the city skyline. The Acropolis contains many buildings and is an ancient Greek archaeological wonder and UNESCO site dating back to the 5th Century BCE. The Acropolis includes a theater called Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Temple of Athena Nike, and the Parthenon. We arrive around 9 am to learn the history of the Parthenon, which was built using clever construction and dedicated to the goddess, Athena, where Athens got its name.
The Plaka - The Plaka is located right below the Acropolis and is filled with pedestrian-friendly walkways, restaurants, shops, and the unique Greek coffee (which tastes much like Turkish coffee).
The Acropolis Museum - Adjacent to the Acropolis is the Acropolis Museum, with its unmistakable modern glass architecture. Established in 2009, the most incredible part of the museum is that it is built atop 5th Century BC ruins, which you can view through a see-through floor. The building is filled with statues and artifacts found in the Acropolis. The museum also contains a rooftop cafe with a stunning view of the Parthenon.
Parliament Building - Lastly, we head over to the Parliament building to witness the changing of the guards. Every hour on the hour, visitors crowd the front of the Parliament to see this unique cultural tradition, that includes a slow motion procession of the guards who wear the traditional dress.
Metro - The best way to get around the city is via metro. The best part of the metro is that it contains museum-quality exhibitions of artifacts from the Acropolis which were found during the excavation of the metro.
Ermou Street - This the shopping epicenter in Athens that has been beautifully renovated for the Athens Olympics in 2004. The street is pedestrian friendly, filled with shops and historic churches.
What is your favorite site in Athens? Comment below!
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