For a quick city break, Barcelona cannot be beaten. As well as fantastic weather - with highs of 26°C in the summer time - holidays to Barcelona are a cultural adventure. The city is home to a wonderful blend of vibrant neighbourhoods, stunning architecture and a sense of cultural importance. Barcelona comes to life in the evenings; enjoy a candlelit dinner by the beach, or hit one of the city’s many reggae, jazz or blues clubs for some fun after sundown. What makes a holiday in Barcelona particularly appeal-ing is the fact that you can easily mix time spent sightseeing with days at the beaches that line the coast right next to the city. This makes it the ideal choice if you're keen to explore one of Europe's top cities and head to the seaside in a single trip.
If it's beaches you're after, you need to visit the Sant Marti dis-trict to recline on its golden sands. Barcelona’s mix of old and new makes it an exciting destination; there are charming historical quarters of the city, as well as modern districts buzzing with life. Barcelona is great for an active holiday, too; golf is very popular in Barcelona, and the city boasts many golf clubs, such as Club de Golf Barcelona, with an 18-hole course. Food is a huge part of Barcelona’s culture; come to Barcelona to enjoy the best of Catalan food, such as seafood paella, slow-cooked fish and spicy meat stew, cooked in a traditional style. Don’t skip the crèma catalana – it’s the city’s most loved dessert.
Why Choose Barcelona for a holiday?
Barcelona is one of the most popular city breaks in Europe, and for good reason. The city boasts long days of sunshine, seriously good restaurants and just the right balance of buzz and pace. The impressive design of the city is enough to lure you in; you can spend the day exploring the city’s plethora of archi-tectural styles, such as Gothic facades, high-rise designs of Jean Nouvel and traditional Spanish build-ings. If that’s not enough, the city’s seven beautiful beaches should tempt you; spend the day relaxing at the beach, and then hit the town and discover the city’s vibrant tapas restaurants and cool cocktail bars. It’s also a dream for shoppers – you can pick up antiques in the city’s Gothic Quarter, and discover a world of Catalan food at La Boqueria, a great indoor food market, frequented by locals.
Attractions and Activities
Every year, tourists flood to Barcelona to see its stunning architecture. First on your list, visit the works of Antoni Gaudi, the famous Spanish architect, known for his Sagrada Familia. This church-in-progress, with its beautiful structure of turrets and spires, will take your breath away. Seven of Gaudi’s monuments are classed as UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Parque Guell, Casa Vicens, Casa Batllo and the crypt in Colonia Guell. Also visit Palau de la Musica Catalana, another UNESCO World Heritage site designed by Lluis Domenech i Montaner. The Picasso Museum is a must-visit for art lov-ers. Spread over five townhouses, it has an incredible collection of the famous artist’s works. La Barceloneta beach is a beautiful stretch of sand that runs along the city and is fairly quiet on week-days. For shopping, La Rambla is for a retail haven – this boulevard has many boutiques, as well as La Boqueria food market. Walk La Rambla from the old city to the port, stopping to admire the pretty flower stalls, souvenir shops and fruit stands. You can’t miss the Gothic Quarter in Barcelona; the areas has an amazing collection of buildings from Catalonia's Golden Age in the 14th and 15th centuries. Head to Park Güell – it’s a lovely hilltop garden, complete with Gaudi's innovative designs and dazzling mo-saics, and is the perfect oasis in the heart of the city.
Top sights in Barcelona
In a nutshell, here are our pick of top sights in Barcelona:
• Sagrada Familia - This is one of Antoni Gaudi's masterpieces and a symbol of Barcelona. It's locat-ed close to the amazing Quadrat d'Or where you can see wonderful examples of modernista architec-ture.
• MNAC - The Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya is one of Barcelona's top galleries where you can see a wide selection of Catalan art dating from the 10th through to the 20th century. El Greco, Rubens and Picasso are among the artists whose works are on show.
• Museu d'Historia de Catalunya - This museum is dedicated to Catalunya's history, taking visitors on a journey through the region's past. You'll find it in a former warehouse in the Port Vell district.
• Parc de Montjuic - Situated on a hill overlooking the city, Parc de Montjuic is the perfect place to get away from the hubbub of the city. Within its boundaries are the botanical gardens, several muse-ums and Poble Espanyol where you'll find an artisans' village.
Our top tips for Barcelona
• Be careful in tourist hotspots such as La Rambla as the area is well known for pickpocketing. Keep a close enough on belongings and try to keep your bag with you at all times.
• Make sure to visit La Boqueria. This European marketplace is one of the most vibrant markets in the city for buying fresh fruits, vegetables and local produce.
• If you're planning to see the three big Gaudí sites or other popular attractions, buy your tickets in advance so that you can skip the long queues. If not, you might find you cannot enter the at-traction on the day because it’s too busy!
• Avoid ATMs, they have notoriously bad exchanges rates. Instead, visit a currency converter for the best rate possible, or, even better, take out euros in advance.
In June, during Corpus Christi, religious processions and parades take over the streets, whilst in August, Gràcia Festival takes place. Here, the streets of Gràcia are transformed with themed decorations and the neighbourhood becomes one big outdoor party. Music lovers will also enjoy the range of music fes-tivals in Barcelona throughout the summer; every year, the Primavera Sound Festival, Sonar Electronic Music Festival, La Mercè festival and Barcelona Jazz Festival take place for all to enjoy.
Getting around the city
The easiest way to get around Barcelona is public transport - the metro, tram and FGC are all quick and simple to use. If you’re going to be travelling a lot, purchase a 10-trip metro pass, which is around 10 euros. They also have over 1,000 buses, which are integrated with the fare system for the metro. Eve-ryone loves to cycle in Barcelona as they have fully integrated cycle lanes, as well as many open spaces and parks.
Barcelona holiday resorts
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