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Quick Guide to Barcelona

Barcelona! Such a beautiful horizon. Barcelona! Like a jewel in the sun. So goes the song that's a homage to this city, and was the soundtrack to the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, which kickstarted this city's status as one of the best city breaks you can go on. Great food, fabulous sights, a vibrant culture and spectacular beach all combine in one city, meaning that sunny days can be split between the city and the shore. Holidays to Barcelona are popular for a reason. Many Western Mediterranean cruises depart from Barcelona, so why not add weekend breaks to the start or end to experience more of this lovely city?

The capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is just a short flight away from the UK shores, with plenty of cheap holidays to Barcelona available all year round, plus loads of hot deals on last-minute breaks too. There's always something to do in Barcelona, whether it's taking in the spectacular unfinished Sagrada Familia cathedral, hitting the sand, or sampling the city's famous tapas.

Fab holidays for:

Modern art lovers, City beach converts, Night owls

Main Airport:

Barcelona El Prat Airport

Did you know?

Sagrada Familia is not due to be completed until 2026! You can see inside what's built so far, but buy tickets online - queues outside are huge!

Other Destinations in Spain

Barcelona Weekend Breaks

There's just something about a city right on the beach. Add that to wonderfully grandiose Gaudi architecture, world-class wine at €2 a glass and more tapas restaurants than you shake a stick at and you've got yourself one hell of a weekend break in Barcelona.

The best way to see the city itself is to get walking. Our tip? Stroll through the scenic maze of streets in Gothic Quarter, stopping to take in the chaos at La Ramblas.

Barcelona may be made for walking but there's also another simple, cheap, quick way to fit in all the sights of the city on your weekend break - Barcelona Bus Turistic. Hop on and off as much as you want, exploring where you see fit - a two-day ticket is €35. Keep in mind that some of Barcelona's greatest museums have free entry after 3pm on a Sunday - make a beeline for the Picasso Museum.

If you're looking for more beaches and clubbing, tick both boxes at once. Head to Barceloneta beach, sunbathe the day away and then take your newfound tan over to one of the bars and clubs lining the shore. Our favourite is Opium by the Port Olympic complex.

Top 5 Sights to See in Barcelona

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Barcelona is a city like no other - it couples sand and city, the incredible architecture of Gaudi with spectacularly modern structures, and a joyous atmosphere that's a struggle to find anywhere else in the world. But, where to start? Here's our top 5 sights to see to get the ball rolling!

Sagrada Familia
Towering above Barcelona's city streets, Gaudi's Sagrada Familia church is Barcelona's most iconic building. Construction started in 1882, and still hasn't finished - yet it's still one of the most unique buildings you're ever likely to lay eyes on.
Museu Picasso
One of Barcelona's most famous residents was the artist Picasso - and his work showed off the same ingenuity as Gaudi, except on canvas! Check out some of his first works of art at the Museu Picasso.
Park Güell
We'll admit, we're a little obsessed with Gaudi... but can you blame us? After all, he has made more of a mark on Barcelona than any architect on any other city! Park Güell is a public park with surreal staircases, multicoloured mosaics and breathtaking views across Barcelona.
Las Ramblas
Barcelona's answer to London's Oxford Street - except it's much, much more picturesque! This wide, leafy boulevard is lined with high streets and boutiques, and is the city's most popular promenade. Head down one of the laneways leading off the street for myriad tapas bars and restaurants.
The Gothic Quarter
Like any European city worth its salt, Barcelona has its own 'Old City'. Here it's the Gothic Quarter, and has winding streets, a cathedral, and market traders selling everything from jewellry to leather.

Things to Do in Barcelona

For families: Children will stand rapt in front of the Magic Fountain Show - colours, music and water work together to make a spectacle that even adults will enjoy. If there are any football fans in your family, head over to the FC Barcelona Museum to take in the sight of the New Camp stadium (big enough to accommodate 98,000 spectators!) and tour around the grounds. While Barcelona has plenty of parks available to run and play in, Tibidabo Amusement Park takes centre stage. But there's something in it for the parents too - the city views from hilltop Sacred Heart Church is worth a snap or two. And let's face it - the Barcelona Aquarium and Barcelona Zoo are just as much for the adults as they are for the kids.

For couples: From the Sagrada Familia to the charming maze of lanes in the stunningly crafted Gothic Quarter, it's easy to be a couple in a city like Barcelona. Stroll down sandy shores, order tapas and sangria for two, shop in ornate buildings and stroll through scenic parks.

Nightlife: Claims that Barcelona has a scene for just about every personality are probably true. Whether you want raves that last until 6 in the morning or just relaxed cocktails right on the beach, this Catalan city has got you covered. Locals and tourists come from far and wide to get a taste of the action.

Unmissable events: There aren't many cities that mix eggs and water fountains to create a spectacle. But Barcelona's Corpus Christi event sees fountains decorated in copious amounts of flowers with a solitary egg on top of the spurting water from the 26th to 29th April, all ending in a parade. May also sees OFFF Barcelona come back again for three days, from the 26th to 28th, where workshops, conferences and talks from big names from the creative sector take place. Plenty of big-named stars come to perform in Barcelona - everyone from Adele and Coldplay to Neil Young - while a vast variety of festivals seem to take place constantly over the year. Have a look before you travel!

Where to stay in Barcelona

There is plenty of accommodation to pick from when you're planning a holiday to Barcelona, and you will find everything from budget backpacker hostels to boutique hotels. The Gothic Quarter and Raval are trendy areas with lots of intriguing medieval architecture and narrow streets, close to all the central attractions so you can expect hotels here to be the most expensive in general. Alternatively, there are a number of excellent but cheaper options near the impressive Plaza de Catalunya, which is a good base from which to explore the city, and outwards in the modernist Eixample district as well as Gracia. The Montjuic area is a little further from the main centre still, but it's got plenty to keep you busy on a Barcelona city break.

How to get to Barcelona

There are plenty of cheap flights available, with three airports to choose from, all served by low-cost carriers from a choice of UK airports. You can even find some bargains if you're searching last minute, too. Flights tend to take around two hours to touch down, so you'll be out and about on your holiday in Barcelona before you know it! Choose from Barcelona El-Prat Airport, which is by far the closest to the city, as well as Reus and Girona. These are both a couple of hours away by road and there is a dedicated shuttle bus.

From Barcelona Airport you have a variety of options, but don't expect your cheap Barcelona break to come with transfers - they usually don't. There are a couple of options that won't hit your wallet too heavily though, with a direct train link and shuttle buses too. Taxis and hire cars are also available, although you should be aware that driving in the city is not particularly easy and many hotels don't offer parking. It's best only to choose this option if you're planning lots of day trips out of the city, to the coast or into the mountains.

When to go to Barcelona

As the most-visited city in Spain, Barcelona will be crowded year-round, so it's best to time your holiday around the weather. Peak summer months - July and August - are the stickiest, most humid months to visit, and locals leave on their own holidays, so it's a good idea to avoid this time! May and June offer perhaps the best weather - sunny, but not too hot, with fewer showers than in April. Winter temperatures are still warmer than those in the UK, making Barcelona a great option for a winter city break - the sun usually makes a good showing, too! Spring temperatures are still warm, but this is the rainiest time of year.