The Catalonian capital has a wealth of historic gems, art, designer shops and a vibrant and trendy nightlife scene. You can’t help but be mesmerised by the breathtakingly beautiful Antoni Gaudi architecture dotted around the city, especially the Sagrada Familia. The unfinished church resembles something from a Brothers Grimm fairy-tale, and is the city’s crown jewel.
Head up the steep hill to Guell Park where you can enjoy more works of Gaudi, including his home which looks like it could house Hansel and Gretel. Or sports fans will love the Olympic Park, built especially for the 1992 games, and the nearby cable cars which offer rides up to Montjuic for stunning panoramic views of the entire city.
If the sun is shining, take some time out from the sightseeing and head to Barceloneta beach. Its wide, golden sandy coastline stretches for 1km. Pop over to Port Olympic next door for a brilliant choice of bars and seafood restaurants. Continue along the coastline to reach the quieter Icaria Beach. All in all, Barcelona boasts seven shores with soft sand that are just perfect for relaxing.
La Ramblas is the city’s main thoroughfare and a trip to Barcelona would not be complete without a stroll down this tree lined street. Filled with boutiques, upmarket restaurants, street entertainers and outdoor cafés, it thrives with life both day and night - don’t forget to look out for the Joan Miro mosaic!
Strolling around the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) gives you a sample of 14th century life in Barcelona. It’s a dense network of narrow cobbled streets, where the crowds around tiny bars spill out on to the streets. Conveniently, it’s also the home of the Picasso Museum, boasting one of the world’s largest collections of Picasso pieces.
Antoni Gaudi was a master architect who designed many amazing structures in Barcelona. La Sagrada Familia is the most famous of all. It’s a truly unique cathedral that’s been over 130 years in the making. See it up close to discover the staggering detail on every inch of stonework.
The Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter) is a maze of narrow streets featuring local markets and restaurants. Tapas bars are also ubiquitous across the city, where you’ll enjoy an informal meal of many small, yet tasty dishes, such as chorizo (spicy sausage) or frittata. Port Olimpic offers the best seafood restaurants by Barceloneta Beach, while bubbly cava is a tempting, traditional Catalan wine.
The typically bright sunshine of Barcelona makes it a pleasant city for walking, especially as the Gothic Quarter is often free from cars. As an excellent alternative, the city’s metro system is clean and reliable. Plus, pick up the Barcelona Tourist Card and you’ll get unlimited transport as well as discounted entry on many attractions. The open-top tourist bus is also handy for visiting the city’s sights.
Date: 05/01/2016 - 06/01/2016
One of Spain’s biggest fiestas, this traditional event sees 'Three Kings' arrive by boat before parading through the streets on giant floats. Stalls, buskers and dancers keep the crowds along Gran Via well entertained.
Date: 13/05/2016 - 15/05/2016
Join thousands of fans for sun, tapas and roaring engines. Nico Rosberg won this race in 2015, beating Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton to the post and closely followed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in third place.
Date: 02/06/2016 - 04/06/2016
Primavera Sound is one of Spain’s coolest festivals, with a line-up that’s worthy of that title. 2015 saw performances from The Strokes, Antony and the Johnsons, alt-J, Interpol, Eels and The Black Keys.
Click here to check out our European events calendar for a comprehensive round-up of the goings-on in 2016.
Please note, dates are subject to change.
Started in 1882 and scheduled for completion towards the end of this century, this astonishing cathedral, the brainchild of Antoni Gaudi, is high on everyone’s list of must see attractions.
Learn about the history of FC Barcelona at their iconic 100,000 seat stadium and museum on a tour or, if the fixture list works out, take in a game.
Visit the fountain most evenings to witness its music and light show - it's both fun and free.
Incredibly, Barcelona boasts more than 35,000 shops. As you’d imagine, that gives you an amazing amount of choice, from the famous Els Encant Flea Market to the exclusive labels of Avinguda Diagonal. Plus the famous thoroughfare La Rambla is fi lled with stalls and street performers. The Plaza Catalunya is not only a pleasant meeting place, but also lined with the huge El Corte Inglés department store.