Other places in Spain
The World > Europe > Spain > Barcelona > Holidays to Barcelona
Holidays to Barcelona
Barcelona beckons - are you ready?
Barcelona is a startling city in many ways; an old city with a reinvigorated feel. A popular city with a small-town warmth, a major commercial centre with outstanding city beaches.
The contradictions that are Barcelona make it one of the most exciting city breaks you'll ever take. Cheap weekend breaks are all the rage now and Barcelona offers something close to perfection; huge sightseeing days, big nights on the tiles and a refreshing recovery day at the beach.
Barcelona's fame reaches far and wide - in no small part due to Gaudi. His architectural influences are seen all over the city and his most famous building is a world-class piece. The Sagrada Família is the international symbol of Barcelona and is simply stunning. It takes architecture to new highs and will be the building people come to Barcelona for the next 1,000 years.
The National Museum of Art of Catalonia is a wonderful building housing an eclectic collection of Romanesque art, and a wander through the old city is just a joy.
And your recovery day? Beach in Barcelona has the good fortune to be named as the best urban beach in the world.
The food in Barcelona matches the city's feel - a cosmopolitan mix of the old and the new. Exciting chefs vie with established doyens for mastery. The produce is fresh and the locals demand the best.
You'll enjoy Barcelona - there's quite simply something for everyone in your touring party!
Eating out in Barcelona
Cheap, expensive and everything in between
Avoid La Rambla with its destination restaurants that charge high prices by virtue of their high rents. Frequent the back streets of the Barr? Gòtic instead. Barcelona has the reputation of being the new hotspot of Spanish cuisine and it's easy to get carried away, but there are still plenty of traditional restaurants serving up octopus, tapas, paella and the like.
The budget options - tapas is Spain's great gift to the world and you'll find an excellent proponent at Cal Pep. It's a well-known restaurant but well-priced and famous for its buzz. Why miss out on seafood just because you're on a budget? Can Majo has fish galore. They also do plenty of seafood tapas.
Mid price options - the relatively inexpensive wine and tapas house Cata 1.81 on Carrer de Valencia in Eixample is a popular spot because of the food quality. These guys know their customer and provide a lively, food-oriented atmosphere. Try virtually any of the Basque pintxo bars that dot the city. You help yourself to whatever takes your fancy and the bill is a multiple of the number of sticks left on your plate at the end of your meal. The Basque version of tapas uses bread as a base.
Splurge - your choices are huge for a budget blow out. Try Balthazar in the Carrer d'Aribau in the heart of Barcelona's gastronomic area. It's formal without being stuffy and serves traditional Catalan dishes with a French influence.
What to wear, when to go
Barcelona has a typically warm Mediterranean coastal climate. The summers are hot with August often tipping 30C. January gets as low as 13-15 and the spring and autumn are very pleasant. It's generally warm from May through November so there's plenty of time to enjoy the city. Rain is not a big factor in Barcelona.
Barcelona basks in a magical setting
Being so close to the water gives Barcelona an unfair advantage over so many European cities; the magnificent historic quarter gives way to trendy beach side suburbs and it seems all of Barcelona eats out every night. Gaudi has left an impressive imprint upon local architecture and the pedestrian friendly La Rambla shopping boulevard is a must see.
La Rambla - this vibrant boulevard will keep you occupied the entire day. Visit the fresh food market called Mercat de la Boqueria for some vittals and thus fortified visit the city's fabulous opera house close by. Further up the street is Placa Reial, a wonderful 19th century plaza with arcades, boutiques, bars and restaurants on every edge.
Barr? Gòtic - lies in the centre of the city. The Gothic Quarter is full of many old buildings including Spain's most fabulous Gothic Cathedral, a wonderful place to explore. The soaring cloisters, the cool halls, the crypts, choir stalls and the view from the rooftop are a spectacular way to enjoy Barcelona.
El Raval - as happens to so many red-light districts, El Raval is now an uber-chic hangout for the city's young, cool and moneyed. There are funky bars, boutiques and nightspots everywhere. The restaurants show off the latest cooking styles.
Cosmo Caixa - this interactive science museum is such fun! The kids will love it and it's enthralling for adults too. Inexpensive and with plenty to see and do, Cosmo takes science to a new level . Clean, well-laid out and thoughtful exhibits make geekdom really rather attractive.
Flamenco - when in Spain... And one of the best places to see authentic flamenco is El Tablao de Carmen. This tribute to Carmen Amaya (a gypsy flamenco proponent who danced for the King of Spain in the 30s) serves tapas, drinks and some of the finest flamenco you'll see in Spain. Passionate, beautiful dancers make for a great evening - and something you'll tell everyone back home about.
The must see - is the Sagrada Familia. Perhaps the finest church in the world? You be the judge. there's certainly nothing traditional about Gaudi's masterpiece. The angles, the curves and the sheer magnificence of the vision lives up to the hype. The exterior is worth the visit alone, but the interiors will also blow you away. Book tickets online to avoid queues at the entrance. Incredibly, the building is yet to be finished although construction started in 1882.