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May Ramblas Barcelona
May Ramblas Barcelona

Carrer del Cardenal Casanyas, 8, Barcelona 08002

3.5 out of 5.0

Located in La Rambla, this hotel is steps from Las Ramblas and Gran Teatre del Liceu. Palau de la Musica Catalana and Palau …

£59
Negresco Princess
Negresco Princess

Roger de Lluria, 16-18, Barcelona 08010

4.5 out of 5.0
4.5 out of 5 (270 reviews)

Located in Downtown Barcelona, this luxury hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Casa Calvet, Palau de la Musica Catalana, an …

£84
Grand Hotel Central
Grand Hotel Central

Via Laietana 30, Barcelona 08003

5.0 out of 5.0
4.6 out of 5 (900 reviews)

Located next to Barcelona’s Cathedral, the hotel has spectacular views over the Gothic district and the ancient city walls. …

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Hotel 1898
Hotel 1898

La Rambla, 109; (entrance on the street, Barcelona 08002

4.0 out of 5.0
4.7 out of 5 (2,462 reviews)

Formerly headquarters of the Philippine Tobacco Company, this stylish hotel is located in the city centre, on Barcelona's …

£162
Hotel Colon Barcelona
Hotel Colon Barcelona

Avenida Catedral, 7, Barcelona 08002

4.0 out of 5.0
4.3 out of 5 (1,670 reviews)

Overlooking Barcelona Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter, this traditional hotel is a short walk from Plaza Catalunya, Las …

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Hotel SERHS Rivoli Rambla
Hotel SERHS Rivoli Rambla

La Rambla 128, Barcelona 08002

4.0 out of 5.0
4 out of 5 (911 reviews)

This grand Moderniste building on Las Ramblas Boulevard overlooks the Gothic Quarter and is a short walk from Barcelona's …

£76
ALMA Barcelona
ALMA Barcelona

Mallorca, 269-271, Barcelona 08008

5.0 out of 5.0
4.8 out of 5 (715 reviews)

Located in Downtown Barcelona, this luxury hotel is steps from Museu Egipci and Casa Mila. Casa Batllo and Placa de Catalunya …

£185
NH Collection Barcelona Gran Hotel Calderón
NH Collection Barcelona Gran Hotel Calderón

Rambla de Catalunya, 26, Barcelona 08007

5.0 out of 5.0
4.3 out of 5 (975 reviews)

Just 2 blocks from the shops of restaurants of Plaça de Catalunya, the NH Calderon is perfectly positioned for Barcelona's …

£115
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona
Majestic Hotel & Spa Barcelona

Passeig De Gracia, 68, Barcelona 08007

5.0 out of 5.0
4.5 out of 5 (946 reviews)

This hotel is located on Passeig de Gràcia in the Eixample district, 2 blocks from Gaudí's La Pedrera and 1 kilometer from …

£198
Hotel DO Plaça Reial
Hotel DO Plaça Reial

Plaça Reial 1, Barcelona 08002

5.0 out of 5.0
4.8 out of 5 (457 reviews)

Hotel DO Plaça Reial occupies the northwestern edge of historic Plaza Real. Las Ramblas, a lively pedestrian thoroughfare, is …

£237

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Pocket Guide: Barcelona

In every sense, Barcelona has become one of the hottest destinations in Spain. With its surreal architecture, designer boutiques, and contemporary cultural scene, this seaside city embodies a cosmopolitan vibe like no other. Cutting-edge performances take place in medieval quarters, and economic activity churns as people hit the beaches. Barcelona has a personality all of its own and despite being the most popular Spanish destination, its identity is quintessentially Catalonian.

Surrealist Cityscapes

It won't take long before you run into an example of what sets Barcelona apart. The Modernist movement (Art Nouveau's Iberian manifestation) takes its most spectacular form in the city's fantastic architectural creations, most famously Antonio Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, the gothic cathedral which has been under construction since 1882. Bike it or bus it around to discover the urban tableau. Or, head to Parc Güell for an original and interesting park that offers more than just green space.

The painter Joan Miró another Barcelona native. The Miro Foundation holds the largest collection of his work anywhere. The famed Picasso Museum is also a must, as is the Dalí Museum in nearby Figueres. Take a walk down Las Ramblas, Barcelona's tree-lined thoroughfare, and spend some time with the unique human statues, a surreal form of living art.

Catalonian Identity

Regional differences in Spain are pronounced and Barcelona is fiercely proud of its Catalonian roots. Manifested most obviously by language, the Catalonian identity has a long history that can be traced back to the ninth century. Banned under Franco, the Catalan language now flourishes, and has undergone an astounding resurgence in recent years.

This independent spirit infuses the city with life. From tall castellars (human towers) at festivals to fusion cuisine to rival Paris or New York, Barcelona is a creative and vibrant metropolis with one eye on the Mediterranean and the other looking toward the hills (try the funicular up to Tibidabo hill).

Late Nights and Into the Dawn

Barcelona comes to life after the sun goes down. The Barri Gótic is Barcelona's oldest section, but it's also home to some of the trendiest bars. Mix with the locals in the La Raval neighborhood, eat tapas at sunset, and go clubbing until dawn. It's all on the agenda in a city where midnight is just the start of the evening.

Your Barcelona city tour can take you to bullfights in the Gothic Quarter, to Europe's biggest football stadium, or to a flamenco show. Come in June for the Sonar Festival and experience electronic music beyond measure.

Since hosting the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona has seen revitalization that has never slowed. It's a vibrant mix with new hip addresses and old markets with fresh produce. Its depth and complexity befit the capital of Catalonia and at the break of dawn, it may feel like the capital of the world.