Whether you want to window shop along the museum of designer store fronts along the luxurious Passeig de Gracia or pick up high-street goodies at Portal Del Angel, no holiday to Barcelona is complete without indulging in a spot of retail therapy. As well as global chains such as Zara and H&M, Barcelona is also known for its charming boutiques where you can find plenty of handmade artisan goods and unique one-of-a-kind garments as well as plenty of souvenirs to take back home.
Spanish cuisine is one of life’s greatest pleasures and Barcelona is a city where eating all day is as easy as breathing. With nearly every street in the centre lined with cafés and restaurant terraces, pintxos and tapas adorn many menus along with carafes of sangria and refreshing glasses of cava. Expect the likes of fresh seafood, classic paella, gazpacho, iberico, patatas bravas and much more.
Scattered with a plethora of modernist landmarks and striking architectural gems, there’s no such thing as a holiday to Barcelona without pounding the pavement and exploring the local sites. Anthony Gaudi’s works are among the must-sees while football fans simply can’t miss out on a visit to Camp Nou, the home stadium of Barcelona F.C. Other notable attractions include the Picasso Museum, the Barcelona Cathedral, and Palau de la Música Catalana.
Perhaps the most famous emblem of the city, the Basilica de la Sagrada Familia is, despite being unfinished, a majestic UNESCO World Heritage Site designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi. This Roman Catholic minor Basilica is located in the heart of the city and its intricate design comprises three monumental façades that represent moments in the life of Christ. No matter what time of year you visit, this glorious building is constantly under construction but entry and tours are still available to observe and admire all the beautiful décor up close and personal. Advance tickets are highly recommended to avoid the long lines, especially during peak times.
Nowhere else but Barcelona offers such an extensive and overwhelming choice of tapas wherever you turn – the Catalan capital is overflowing with tasty restaurants and cafés with their menus chock-full of the small sharing plates. Squid, chorizo and fresh seafood are amongst the staples found in many dishes as well as plenty of potato-based dishes and although everything is usually packed with fresh flavour, chilli and spice is usually void due to the high Spanish climate. Visitors should be wary of dining in tapas bars next to major tourist attractions as these can often be overpriced for the quality, but there truly are some gems further afield that you won’t regret making the extra few minutes’ walk for.
With such a vibrant and architectural city centre, it’s hard to believe that Barcelona isn’t just a concrete jungle. The coastline spans over 100 miles along the province, offering a range of both lively and serene beaches that is suitable for every kind of traveller. Barceloneta is among one of the most popular beaches here due to the number of tourists that visit, but it is also highly entertaining with lively vendors and sand artists, not to mention plenty of seafront seafood eateries that make dining a true delight. For something a little more peaceful, Caldetes Beach is the way to go. Here, you’ll find a fraction of the crowds compared to the central Barcelona beaches, and it’s the ideal place to relax and lounge on the sands and indulge in a calm swim in the clear waters.
Barcelona sits on an elevated plateau on the northeast coastline, meaning that the weather is moderated by westerly winds from the Atlantic to combat the Spanish heat during the summer months. Those who want to enjoy sightseeing will best enjoy visiting in spring time when the crowds are smaller but the weather is still pleasant. Winter is the low season in Barcelona, but the weather is mild and as the city only sees an average of 51 days of rainfall each year, it is just as good a time as any to embark on a city break to Barcelona.
You will not need a visa to enter Spain if you are a citizen of the European Union or European Economic Area. If you plan to stay for over 90 days, you must register with the regional Immigration Office. For the latest information on European travel regulations, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements.
In Barcelona, the currency used is the Euro (EUR).
The main language spoken in Barcelona is Spanish.