Few cities have as many things to shout about as Barcelona. The Catalonian capital has a wealth of historic gems, art, designer shops and a vibrant and trendy nightlife scene. There is so much to see and do here, you might not even find the time to visit its golden, sandy beaches. You can’t help but be mesmerised by the breathtakingly beautiful Antoni Gaudi architecture dotted around the city, and especially the Sagrada Familia. The unfinished church resembles something from a Brothers Grimm fairy-tale, and is without a doubt the city’s crown jewel.
Hop onto one of the many tourist buses that run around the city like clockwork, and you’ll be surprised how many of Barcelona’s gems you can tick off in a day. 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.
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. Even the most passive of art fans will be impressed by the Museu Picasso, where many of the Spanish painter’s greatest works are displayed in a stunning building.
A trip to Barcelona cannot be complete without a stroll down La Rambla; a sprawling pedestrian street, lined with trees and filled with boutiques, upmarket restaurants, street entertainers and outdoor cafés. Take your pick of cuisine in this town; some of the world’s best chefs reside here, so you certainly won’t go hungry. Barcelona has a vibrant and varied night life, with many commercial and underground clubs. Head to the Marina for a plethora of trendy joints, including Bar Shoko and its neighbouring Ice Bar.
1) Barcelona is a brilliant city for enjoying modern art. The Picasso Museum displays one of the world’s largest collections of the artist’s work, while the Joan Miro Foundation is equally extensive.
2) Barcelona Cathedral is often overlooked in favour of La Sagrada Familia, yet its 15th century interiors are just as impressive. Look out for the 13 free-roaming white geese in the cloister!
3) The legacy of the Barcelona 1992 Olympics still lives on in the city. Visit the Olympic Stadium on Montjuic Hill and you’ll enjoy astounding views from its huge outdoor swimming pool.
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.
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.
Witness the intricate, otherworldly designs of the Catalan architect Gaudi at the unforgettable Sagrada Familia, as well as the kaleidoscopic statues at Parc Güell and the humanoid shapes on the rooftop of Casa Milá. The Palace of Catalan Music has a stained glass ceiling lit with rainbows of colour, and perfect acoustics make orchestras incredible. And for football fans, a trip to the Nou Camp is a must.
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.
Time difference+1 hour
3 course meal£35