Taking pictures in Barcelona and Madrid.
November 30, 2009 7:00 PM   Subscribe

What are the best locations for taking pictures of Barcelona/Madrid?

We'll be spending about 10 days there. Barcelona from 12/25 - 12/28 and Madrid from 12/29 - 01/02.

I'd really like to take some nice photos, specifically of the landscape, the cities from above and the surrounding environment.

I'm also interested in taking pictures of normal touristy things, but will likely stumble into many of them on my own. (Feel free to recommend these, too, though.)

What are your thoughts? Where ought I point my camera?
posted by scooterdman to Travel & Transportation around Barcelona, Spain (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The Barcelona Olympics swimming and diving venue has some wonderful overviews of the city.
posted by netbros at 7:19 PM on November 30, 2009

I've only been to Barcelona, not Madrid ... but simply adored Barcelona. My thoughts:

Ahh you must take the air tram and walk about Montjuic Park in Barcelona! It is phenomenal, a large oceanside bluff overlooking the city. This photo was snapped from the top.

Also in Barcelona, Parc Guell (pronounced gway) is home to one of Gaudi's residences and many of his fun, phantasmagorical installations and landscape architecture. The park is rather high up and you get a view of all of Barcelona unfolding toward the Med. The top of the wiki page shows a view of Montjuic from Parc Guell.

It should go without saying you will tour the Sagrada Familia , the "suessical" Cathedral still under construction. Read as much as you can about this place, all the placards if possible. The attention to detail, architectural brilliance and thought process are fascinating.

One could go on ad nauseum about all the cool architecture. If you like Gaudi, definitely also make a point to visit the Casa Batlla, a masterpiece residence designed by Gaudi. This picture is from the roof and the colors were not touched up.

The Rambla is a main tourist vein going down to the beach. It is pretty typical tourist fare, but there is a great food market along it that claims to be the oldest continually operating outdoor market in Europe. It is an inexpensive way to pick up a great meal - cheese, bread, olives, etc etc etc. We loved the fresh coconut and picked up some very nice infused olive oils.

All the little side streets in the Gothic neighborhood (east of la rambla) are adventures unto themselves. You could have a lot of fun here, and not get (too) lost.

And, of course, la playa es magnifica. December won't be great for sunbathing, but if you feel ambitious - a sunrise run is a special treat.
posted by keasby at 7:55 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Since you are spending a considerably short time in each city, I'm sure you will be doing a great deal of walking! There will be a lot to discover on your walks.
For me, the best memories and pictures I took in Barcelona were in Gaudi Park, Sagrada Familia, Pueblo Espanol, The Cathedral, the sunday food markets always have an authentic feel to them (probably because of all the raw meat you'll find hanging around).
Also ask around when you are there, and when you are in Madrid- where you can watch a good authentic Flamenco dance that evening.
In Madrid I enjoyed Retiro Park.

Have a great time over there!
posted by dentro at 8:05 PM on November 30, 2009

Definitely Park Guell and La Pedrera (Casa Mila), if nothing else, in Barcelona. They were the highlights of my last trip. La Pedrera is a bank (I think), but you can walk around the upper floors which seem to harbour an art gallery. The roof is pretty fantabulous. Park Guell is a wonderful place to spend a day - great mosaics, fun houses and grottos, with wonderful views of the city.
posted by Susurration at 8:34 PM on November 30, 2009

Not sure how geographically viable it is, but I went to Girona while in Barcelona (can't remember the distance, sorry) and took some great photos there. There is also a film museum there which was pretty cool. Girona is a beautiful town and well worth the visit.

I also visited a sculpture park called Parc Art, but again, I can't remember how far that was from Barca...there's some photos on my flickr account if you care to trawl through the profile page for it!

Barcelona is a fantastic city for photography though and even if you only see Sagrada Familia and Park Guell you'll be happy!
posted by man down under at 11:42 PM on November 30, 2009

keasby and netbros are right on, they said everything I would suggest. I would just like to reiterate that Montjuic Park is awesome, even though people don't talk about it as much as Park Guell. Go there.
posted by Humanzee at 7:27 AM on December 1, 2009

This is my favourite spot in Madrid. There's the Temple and park, but on the other side the sun sets over an extraordinary view of the city. Send some pics if you go there. :)
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:35 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]

Seconding ManDownUnder's suggestion of going to Girona - about an hour away by train. I took some great photos of the gorgeous town looking down on it from the Roman ruins. There are also cute little footbridges from which you can take great shots of the quaintly adorned, higgledy-piggledy houses that seem to balance over the water.

But I came here to suggest taking a little trip to Montserrat - 45 minutes from Barcelona central. It will be beautiful in December - the jagged rocks, and the view over the Barcelona hinterland, the famous Benedictine Monastery [with a funicular to the top of the mountains] the quaint little hermit/monks' retreats stuck in the side of lethal looking cliffs etc are pretty amazing. It's sublime and photographer's dream. I wish I could have walked the trails and had more time there. It would be an easily navigable drive if you had a car, but buses go there too.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:45 AM on December 1, 2009

In Madrid, I found one of the best vantage points was from the terraza bar on top of the newly renovated ME Madrid adjacent to Plaza Santa Ana. Terraza bars are one of the best kept secrets of Madrid and this one happens to be in the one of the hippest districts on a high point of the city.
posted by JJ86 at 7:46 AM on December 1, 2009

BTW, sunset is probably the best time at this location.
posted by JJ86 at 7:47 AM on December 1, 2009

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