Modernist art and Gothic architecture create a stunning backdrop in the Catalan capital, where sublime food and a sophisticated nightlife scene await.
The capital of Catalonia is uniquely diverse. Each district tells a story, making the urge to explore unavoidable. On short visits, a bus tour is an excellent way to see the sights, but many can be seen on foot.
The top of the city’s most famous and shamelessly commercial street, La Rambla, is a good starting point when walking. Running 1.2 kilometres from the city to the sea, from here, plot a course throughout the kaleidoscopic city.
Turn off La Rambla to explore the winding streets and secluded squares of the medieval Gothic Quarter, the oldest part of the city, where history and modernity live side-by-side. Walk the picturesque Passeig del Born, and enjoy the 14th and 15th century marvels such as the Santa Maria del Mar Church.
To sample the regional delicacies, venture from La Rambla, to the Boqueria, Cataluña’s largest and most vibrant food market. Experience a sensory overload from the stunning displays of produce and marketplace bustle. Many visitors to Barcelona make a pilgrimage for the modernist architectural works of Antoni Gaudí.
The spectacular Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) church draws the greatest crowd and has become a symbol of the city. See where Gaudí’s work stopped and successors continued and, if you have a head forheights, climb the towers for a closer look. Allow two hours to visit and beat the queues by buying advance tickets. Park Güell is another display of Gaudi’s imaginative work on a grand scale. Set over 42 acres (17 hectares), this remarkable hillside public park, combines nature and modern design. The park entrance is a steep 20 minute hike from the Metro, so take a taxi or bus if this isn’t manageable. Admission is free. With many attractions in one place, the hill of Montjüic is a popular tourist spot. Travel by cable car or public transport for the National Palace, Museum of Catalan Art, Montjüic Castle and the Olympic Stadium. Descend from a day of touring for the free evening Magic Fountain illuminations show at Plaça Espanyol. Catalan cuisine is historically influenced and extremely varied. Barcelona’s fortunate location benefits from the finest local produce from the surrounding sea and mountains with excellent seafood, fish, meats and cheeses. Enjoy tapas with a ‘caña,’ (draught beer) or glass of Cava (regional bubbly). Personalise your break to Barcelona. Football fans can catch the local team Barça (FC Barcelona) at their home ground, Barcelona Stadium, or simply take a tour and visit its museum. Music fans might appreciate the music festivals - Sonar and Primavera Sound; and fashionistas will lap up the excellent shopping areas. Rest assured, you won’t be bored in Barcelona.