Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain and thanks to its world-beating football team, fantastic culture and stunning architecture, it's risen through the ranks from possible city break destination to must-see city in just a few years! 2013 and 2014 are set to see this trend continue, and a flight to Barcelona is a much sought-after commodity.
There is certainly plenty to see and do on a holiday here, whether you want to watch the world go by from the quayside, explore the hidden charms of the Old City, see sweeping views like those showcased at the Barcelona Olympics, or enjoy the delicious food. Nightlife, art and more are all on the cards too!
It's easy to forget though, that great prices on cheap flights to Barcelona can also be used to get you a bona fide beach holiday. The Costa Brava boasts plenty of great resorts large and small, with Sitges, Blanes and Tarragona some of the most popular, plus up-and-comers like Llafranc also starting to make their mark. With car hire from Barcelona Airport you could combine a beach holiday with a city break after your arrive on your Barcelona flight!
There are all sorts of quirky sights here like the unusual street of Carrer de la Riera Baixa, so make sure to spend some time wandering. It can be hard to find time for idling and exploring on a short break as there are so many other great sights - but make sure you get lost at least once!
If you like architecture then Barcelona is swimming in the stuff from The Sagrada Familia, a magnificent cathedral, designed by Gaudi and still under construction and Gaudi's other creations like Park Guell, Casa Mila and La Pedrera to the Gothic Quarter and Barcelona Cathedral. Art lovers won't want to miss MNAC (Museu Nacional d'Art De Catalunya) or the Picasso Museum, and Las Ramblas is the famous market street with stalls, street food, and a great atmosphere every night.
Use our Barcelona Guide for more inspiration.
Flights to Barcelona depart from airports all across the UK with plenty of direct services offered by cheap airlines, so it's easy to get a bargain and find a cheap Barcelona flight. The flying time is around two hours, and you will pay more for an indirect route so there is no need to waste holiday time and travel money!
There is plenty of choice when it comes to flights to Barcelona, with a wide number of carriers offering flights to El Prat Airport from destinations all across the UK. For those looking for a bargain, flights to Girona which is an easy two-hour drive from Barcelona may be a good option, especially during peak times.
Once you land you will need to make your way to your hotel, whether you want to drop and dash or have a rest before setting off to explore the city. There are a choice of ways to make the trip:
Bus - the shuttle bus, also known as the aerobus, runs direct to the centre with four stops at Plaça Espanya, Gran Via - Urgell, Plaça Universitat and Plaça Catalunya. Expect journey times of around half an hour, although at peak traffic times this can take longer.
Train - these run every half hour to the centre and offer an easy connection to the metro network. Between these you should be able to get almost everywhere you want in the city centre.
Taxi - are readily available but pretty expensive so make a great way to blow your savings on a cheap Barcelona flight deal! Great if you can share them with other people though!
If you're after seeing all the main sights you could certainly do worse than getting tickets for the Bus Turistic. It follows two loops around all the major attractions and you can hop-on-hop-off all day, plus you get discounts to most of the sights along the way too! You can also use trams, the metro, buses and taxis with the buses and the metro on the same ticketing system, making it easy to combine. The trams tend to serve the suburbs more than that central attractions, but it's pretty simple to get around on foot too. If you want to head further afield, such as to see Montserrat, then you should look at the trains or invest in a hire car.
It's easy to get to other destinations in Spain as well as to France and Italy from Barcelona. The Spanish train network is excellent and offers high speed rail to Madrid as well as numerous other connections to cities in Spain as well as into Cerbère in France. Barcelona is a busy port and you can get a boat to the Balearics as well as to Rome and Genoa. There is also a very comprehensive coach network offering low-cost travel to cities throughout Spain.
Barcelona's weather makes it a great destination for year-round visiting. The summers are warm and reasonably dry and the winters and mild and humid. It is only during August, when the locals flee the city because of the heat, humidity and accompanying storms, that Barcelona becomes a little uncomfortable. Summer lasts nearly six months with average temperatures between 20°C and 25°C, pushing close to 30°C in August. Winter temperatures hover around 10°C and it is rare for conditions to be freezing. Barcelona's rainfall is fairly evenly spread throughout the year but is never enough to deter a sightseeing trip.
April to July and September are when Barcelona receives the most visitors, with tourists taking advantage of the warm weather. We also think that March, October and November are lovely months to visit, but considering the mild climate in Barcelona it's possible to visit any time of year. If you're looking for a cheap holiday to Barcelona, prices for flights and accommodation are at their lowest in January. Visitors braving the hot month of August will find the city pretty empty, but with that comes widespread closures of shops and restaurants, as well as some of the attractions, although the major sights normally remain open.
€ Euros. The best place to exchange your money in Barcelona is at a bank as they have the most favourable rates, but be sure to shop around for the best deal. You may find it better to avoid the currency exchanges in the most popular tourist areas around La Rambla and the Gothic Quarter as they have the worst exchange rates. ATMs are also good way of getting cash, but you should be careful how much your bank charges for the service. You can also exchange at hotels and in some shops.
The official language in Barcelona is Catalan, although some Spanish is spoken and it is largely understood. Most tourist hotspots have English speakers but don't expect people to speak any English away from the most popular parts. Most people are very patient especially if you have a few phrases in Catalan or Spanish to start off with.
+34 for Spain, then 93 for Barcelona followed by the local number.
UK citizens only need their valid passport to enter Spain.
Lizard statue called "Drac" in Park Guell
Barcelona is a city with a great beach!
The grand fountain in the Parc de la Ciutadella
Park Guell has the world's longest bench
The Barrio Gothic has its own mysterious feel
The National Museum of Catalan Art and the Magic Fountains
Building in Park Guell
Explore traditional Spanish life at the Poble Espanyol
Stained glass at the Sagrada Familia
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