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Rich in history, art and culture, and boasting some of the best architecture in Europe, Barcelona is a city of vivid colours and sun-kissed squares. Whether it’s the funky tapas bars of its cobbled side streets, the historic churches of its decadent downtown or the strains of flamenco music that drift along the ocean air, the capital of Catalonia offers a feast for the senses, not to mention scenic golden beaches and a flourishing local arts scene.
When it comes to accommodation in the city, nothing could be more convenient than a hotel near Barcelona International Airport. You’ll have an enviable array of services at your disposal, and still enjoy easy access to the centre by means of convenient shuttle buses. The airport boasts all the staples, such as shops and restaurants, but also adds a dash of luxury with spa services and VIP lounges.
Flexibility is the key toBarcelona hotels – properties come in all shapes and sizes, with prices varying in parallel. The 4-star Air Rooms Barcelona Airport by Premium Traveller, based at Terminal 1, invites you to live the high life. In-room amenities, such as mini-bars and espresso makers, are a delightful indulgence, while the concierge services cater to your every whim. Prices drop but quality stays high at the 4-star Barcelona Airport Hotel, where outdoor pools and a fitness centre cater to the more active traveller. Once you’ve worked up a sweat, you can retire to the cosy comforts of your room, order a bite from room service and unwind in front of your LCD TV. There’s no need to worry about no-frills living at the budget-friendly B&B Hotel Viladecans; a 24-hour front desk, ticket and tour assistance and a classy lounge bar make sure that you get plenty of bang for your buck.
There is much to see and do in and around vibrant Barcelona, the second largest city in Spain. This atmospheric urban space is rich in culture and heritage – turn a corner and you may be treated to the sight of a street dancer, flamenco musician or ‘living statue’ performer, as the scent of authentic local cuisine fills your senses. To soak up the city’s vibrant atmosphere, a walk along the tree-lined thoroughfare of Las Ramblas is just the ticket. Quirky gift shops, trendy fashion houses and local gift shops are just some its holiday highlights. Next, you can take a tram up Tibidabo mountain for breathtaking vistas across the cityscape, before chilling out in one of Barcelona’s many verdant parksؘ – the funky art of Park Guell is a local favourite, while Parc de Joan Miro is a feat of native design.
On a sunny day, La Barceloneta beach is a popular place to hang out, whether for sunbathing, beach tennis or water activities like boating, diving and jet-skiing. Of course, Barcelona is famous for its museums and galleries, and key attractions include the Miro Foundation, the Picasso Museum and the Dali Museum, which is located just outside the city in Figeures. Other unmissable highlights include the Sagrada Familia, a Gothic-style Roman Catholic cathedral designed by the legendary architect Gaudi, the Naval Museum and the Contemporary Art Museum.
Football fans shouldn’t miss a visit to Barcelona Stadium, while dancing enthusiasts should try to catch a flamenco show. Key neighbourhoods to visit include the modernist quarter of Eixample, where many of Gaudi’s architectural triumphs are found, and Sants-Montjuic, to the south of the city, which hosts a jam-packed cultural events calendar. Ciutat Vella, the old city area, includes the Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). The area is an enduring favourite of history buffs, thanks to its labyrinthine streets, hidden squares and historic palaces, but it also attracts a youthful crowd with its many hip hangouts. Cocktail lounges, wine bars and tapas joints cater to all tastes, while the buzzing nightlife keeps the party going ‘til the early hours.
The Spanish capital is a 6-hour journey from Barcelona, and since the 2 cities are linked by an enviable range of transport options, holiday homes in Madrid are a tantalising prospect for further travel. Madrid is filled with unforgettable sights, including the central square of the Plaza Mayor, the vast art collection of the Museo Nacional Del Prado, and the 18th century Palacio Real, an ornate Bourbon palace with over 2,800 rooms. For shopping, the glamorous Salamanca district has many upmarket boutiques and the Sunday morning flea market at Ribera de Curtidores is perfect for finding quirkier souvenirs. History buffs should also check out Seville holiday rentals to experience one of Spain’s most intriguing cultural powerhouses.
Whatever you decide to do on your visit to Barcelona, you’re sure to find something to charm, fascinate or entertain you in this vibrant Mediterranean city.
To save some money for cultural pursuits, it’s worth booking your flight and hotel together with Expedia.