Juan Carlos Zamarreño/ age fotostock
This Gothic monastery houses collections from Barcelona‘s City History Museum, but if you’ve got only an hour or so, skip the exhibits in favor of a walk around. Founded by Queen Elisenda of Montcada, the wife King James II of Aragon in 1326, the monastery (or monestir in Catalan) is a welcome oasis after time spent in Barcelona’s hectic city center. Three floors of cloisters frame a beautiful garden crowded with orange trees and palms. In their shade, watch goldfish swim through the green waters of the garden’s central fountain. If you’ve got a bit more time, don’t miss the 14th-century stained-glass windows in the chancel. Opening hours are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, October through March; they’re extended to 5 p.m. from April through September. Sundays, the monastery is open until 8 p.m., and admission is free after 3 p.m. Get there via FGC, L6; stop: Reina Elisenda.