Barcelona is arguably one of the most famous cities in the entire world today, sandwiched between the Mediterranean and the Serra de Collserola Hills. With cutting edge architecture, history that will sweep you off your feet, and trend-setting fashion and art that breaks the mould, this Spanish city is home to boutique-lined boulevards that bring in people from around the world.
Where do we begin? Make time to stroll around Ciutadella park, a green oasis of classic sculptures that create an outdoor museum-worthy viewing experience. Don't forget the Castle of the Three Dragons, built for the Universal Exhibition in 1888, showcasing the history that has come and gone in the greater region.
Finish off the day at the Sagrada Familia, a Basilica like no other. Even though it's unfinished, this spot is still the number one most popular tourist destination for those visiting the city. And if you have time, drop by Camp Nou, home to Barcelona FC since 1957. Drop in for a football match, or consider signing up for a stadium tour while you have time. If you're lucky, you might even run into some famous football players!
Although few cities in the world can boast such architectural richness and culture as electrifying, make time to visit the beaches access through the Spanish city. Classic to Spain, Barcelona is home to some award-winning beaches that have landed themselves on world-wide lists. With hot white sands, reliable sunny and gorgeous weather, and hot temperatures for most of the year, Barcelona is just as much a beach-going city is it is a shopping and historical viewing city.
Things to know about Barcelona
- Currency: Euro Exchange rate: £1.00 to € 1.16
- Timezone: Europe/Madrid (UTC+1)
- Language: Spanish
- Belfast International (BFS): 4:30
- Birmingham International (BHX): 2:15
- Edinburgh (EDI): 2:40
- London Gatwick (LGW): 2:05
- London Luton (LTN): 2:15
- London Southend (SEN): 2:15
- London Stansted (STN): 2:15
- Manchester (MAN): 2:20
Top accommodations in Barcelona
Mercer Hotel BarcelonaThis architectural marvel is located in the heart of Barcelona’s Gothic quarter on mythic Calle Lledò, just a short distance from the P...
Olivia Balmes HotelOlivia Balmes Hotel is a modern city hotel, designed and built to satisfy the most demanding guests. With a 4-star superior rating, the...
Hotel DOIn the heart of Barcelona, in one of the most historic squares in the city, the Hotel DO: Placa Reial is a unique gastronomic boutique...
Alma BarcelonaThe AlmaBarcelona hotel is housed in an elegant building which dates back to the start of the 20th Century. Located right in the heart...
Casa Marcelo BarcelonaLa Casa de Marcelo Barcelona is an intimate Guest House located in a beautiful 19th century building in the Borne district of Barcelona...
El Palace HotelFirst opened in 1919 with a neo-classical façade and grand public areas , considered Barcelona's most distinguished iconic hotel for o...
Catalonia SquareOpened in 2014, the hotel is at the heart of the city, right in the middle of Barcelona's historical and commercial district just next...
Hotel 1898Hotel in Las Ramblas, in the center of Barcelona. Hotel 1898 is the only offering spa and 2 swimming pools all year open. A hotel where...
Grand Hotel CentralThe historic heritage of this building, dating back to 1926, has given way to a new, contemporary hotel, following its complete, tastef...
Things to do in Barcelona
There are countless attractions, beaches, and historical places you can stop at while spending your time in Barcelona. Although it's hard to narrow it down to a select few, at least add these followings stops to your itinerary:
- Las Ramblas: This iconic Spanish promenade is a great place to stroll around and window shop while in Barcelona. With many street performers and other kinds of entertainment acts that can only be seen in Barcelona, this historic walkway is the best place to go take it all in.
- Gothic Quarter: When it comes time to eat at night, make your way over to the Gothic Quarter where you can have your choice of traditional tapas bars.
- Nou Camp: Home to the Barcelona Football Club sine 1957, don't forget to check out the sports schedule at Nou Camp, where you can catch a variety of attractions while staying in the hot and wild city.
- Cataluyna Square: As for the shopping aficionados of the world, Cataluyna Square is located in the heart of the city, where you can basically shop until you drop.
- Sagrada Familia: We'd be remiss if we didn't again mention the most popular tourist location in Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia. An incomplete Basilica, this location offers way more than just a photo opportunity.
While enjoying the beaches in Barcelona, we're going to provide the top destinations for the beach-happy travellers of the city. There is plenty of variety in this tropical international destination, which is why you'll definitely want to pack your sunscreen, towel, and beach fashion items:
- Platja de la Nova Icaria: This sandy beach with a boardwalk café and bar provides you with plenty of activity throughout the day, with a boardwalk sandwiched nearby for you to explore and seek sunlight refuge.
- Platja del Bogatell: Bogatell is another highly visited beach destination where you can watch the sun set while you tan and wine and dine right by the water's edge.
- Playa de la Barceloneta: Consider the Playa de la Barceloneta as well, offering expansive beachfront access so you can secure your own spot amidst the crowds.
- Nova Icaria Beach: Right on Barcelona's Central Coast, this is Barcelona's best beach for water sports, with jet ski rentals, parasailing, and much more to keep you and everyone entertained throughout your stay.
- Mar Bella Beach: This is a perfect beach for guests into cosmopolitan scenes, with a nudist stretch that will keep everyone entertained. It's also a fan-favourite for the LGBT scene.
Remember: the sun is strong in Spain, which is why you will want to come prepared with sunscreen and coverage that enables you to step out of the direct sunlight from time to time. As the European country with the most sun exposure today, make sure you take all precautions before you lay out on the beaches of Barcelona.
Food & drink
It's time to get ready for a real foodie destination when you step off the boat or plane in Barcelona. At the very least, make time for traditional paella, which is a concoction of seafood, spices, and Spanish rice, thrown together to entertain big groups of people and families. Find some of the best paella in the city at El Pla de Manlleu, with chefs Bego and Ivan offering the "best paella in town."
Move onto try a Bomba, a "handmade grenade" that dates back to the Spanish Civil War, made from potato and served with different sauces. Try this edible piece of history at La Cova Fumada, which is a crumbling old hole-in-the-wall kind of place located in the heart of Barceloneta.
For dessert, taste some Crema Catalana, made with creamy vanilla custard and blow torched until a glassy crust is formed. Like Crème brulee, this is basically the same thing, as Catalans will argue that they created this delicacy first. Try It at Patisserie Escriba where you can even have it served over waffles.
For something a little more historical, also make it a point to stop by Els Quatre Gats. When we talk about history, few eateries are able to deliver quite like that of Els Quatre Gats, where Picasso himself used to dine and nibble in between creating his world famous paintings.
The Spaniards are known for the affinity with partying, and Barcelona surely does not disappoint. With cocktail restaurants, clubs, bars, pubs, and more sprinkled throughout the city in every district, make it a point to try and stop in:
- Boadas Cocktail Bar: Located in Las Ramblas, Boadas Cocktail Bar is a famous cocktail bar where traditional drinks and locally made delicacies can be consumed.
- Wild Rover Irish Pub: Located at the bottom of the Ramblas boulevard, this is a great place to grab a pint of the black before hitting the town.
- Le Pop Cocktail Bar: Located in the lounge of Le Meridien Hotel, this cocktail bar is known to home the best bartenders in all of Barcelona.
- Milk Bar: Located in the Gothic Quarter, Milk Bar has a great cocktail menu that draws heavily on lactose ingredients. It's a great place to grab a drink that could double as a dessert when the night is over.
- Ambar: Also a kebab joint, this is a great place to grab a late night bite while you continue your bar hopping long into the wee hours of the morning.
As for clubs, some of the best in the entirety of the city include Jamboree Jazz and Dance Club where you can get your dance on to a smoother tempo, as well as Razzmatazz. For those looking to really dance, don't forget to add Moog to the itinerary.
There are dozens of other bars and club options for you to try out while exploring the city.