With great food, incredible architecture and a plethora of enthralling things to do and see, Barcelona holidays are the stuff of dreams.
This vibrant city is home to an enviable array of magnificent historical and cultural sights, as well as a number of stunning beaches and spectacular views. From museums and galleries to markets and tapas bars, Barcelona tours inevitably offer something to suit all tastes. With so much on offer, one visit is never enough, and the long months of warm sunshine and relaxed slow-paced culture only add to the lifelong draw for many visitors.
The capital of Catalonia boasts unique and awe-inspiring architecture spanning over two millennia. From dramatic Roman columns to 14th-century churches to the more recent additions of Gaudí's iconic structures, there is a wealth of history on display at almost every turn. For those wanting to dig a little deeper into the city's past, there is a variety of world-class museums to explore, while art lovers will find thrills in the form of galleries devoted to both Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró.
Today, Barcelona is a bustling and stylish metropolis, brimming with warmth and charm. It may be Spain's 'second city', but the breadth and calibre of things to do here is surely unparalleled. Happily, many of the main tourist attractions can be explored on foot, making even short Barcelona trips extremely worthwhile. As the city's largest neighbourhood, Eixample is the first port of call for many visitors, with famous sights such as La Sagrada Familia and Casa Batllo high on the to-do list. The Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter is another highlight of many Barcelona holidays, with its winding medieval streets and imposing Roman architecture playing host to a variety of shops, restaurants, and the pretty tree-lined avenue of La Rambla. Elsewhere, the trendy boutiques and coffee shops of El Raval are likely to entice those seeking an edgier side of the city, while elegant Gràcia offers pleasant centuries-old boulevards and splendid views aplenty.
When it comes to things to do and see, Barcelona holidays will always impress. Exploring the city's marvellous architecture is a great place to start. Gaudí’s iconic masterpiece, the Sagrada Família may be unfinished, but this meticulously-designed church is awe-inspiring both inside and out. Of course, there are more examples of the 19th century architect's treasures to visit; Casa Batlló, La Pedrera and Park Güell should be stops on all Barcelona tours. Equally worthwhile is a visit to the architectural marvels designed by Puig i Cadafalch, such as the Casa Amatller and Casa de les Punxes, and the ornate Palau de la Música Catalana, dreamed up by Lluís Domènech i Montaner.
Those with a penchant for art are exceptionally well catered for in Barcelona. The city is home to a fantastic variety of galleries, with world-class art collections to take in. The Museu Picasso, showcases the artist's early work from his time in Barcelona, while the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, or MNAC, boasts pieces from the city's creatives spanning one thousand years. If modern art is more to your taste, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA) is a must do. For something a bit different, the Museum of Natural Sciences features exhibits ranging from evolution to geology.
For visitors seeking slower-paced Barcelona trips, there are plenty of options for walks around the city. The Port Vell harbour, Park Güell and Parc de la Ciutadella are some of the most pleasant areas for an afternoon stroll, or for those wanting something a little more strenuous, the Collserola hills are a great spot for hiking, with ample stunning views as a reward. Of course, Barcelona holidays wouldn't be complete without a trip to the beach. Thankfully, there are plenty to choose from, offering variable levels of facilities. From the quieter Nova Icària to lively Bogatell, it's easy to while away a whole day soaking up the ample sunshine in between cooling dips in the sea, before heading over to a nearby restaurant to refuel with a seafood dinner. For a morning mingling with the locals, the paved fòrum bathing area is a great spot to practice your backstroke.
Barcelona is brimming with exceptional cuisine. Whether it’s an upscale meal or a simple tapas menu, the city ranks among the best in the world for the array of delicious food on offer. The eateries themselves are often equally impressive; from al fresco spots overlooking the sea to elegant upscale restaurants, a meal here usually comes complete with beautiful surroundings and a wonderful atmosphere.
Trying the local flavours is an integral part of any holiday abroad, and thankfully the dishes on offer here are very easy to enjoy. While the ingredients themselves are often simple; cured meats, seafood, fruit and vegetables; it is exceptionally fresh and well cooked, resulting in mouthwatering dishes such as salted cod, filling paella and faves a la Catalana. Snails and jamón are also popular additions to many Barcelona holidays, and botifarra amb mongetes, often hailed as the Catalan version of bangers and mash.
A popular addition to many Barcelona tours is a visit to the local food markets. Both La Boqueria market and Santa Caterina market are great options for a meal on the go. Not only are these two covered markets full of wonderfully fresh produce to sample, they're also home to several small eateries serving tapas and other light bites. Housed in beautiful surroundings, they remain an essential part of everyday life for many of the city's locals, making them the perfect spot for soaking up the authentic atmosphere and partaking in a little people watching over lunch.
Naturally, there is a fantastic variety of spots for a tipple, too. Whether you fancy a quiet sundowner at a traditional beachside bar or cocktails in plush surroundings, Barcelona trips won't disappoint you after the sun sets. For something rather more lively, an evening of live music and flamenco dancing is a fantastic way to experience real Spanish culture.
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