With year-round sunshine, beautiful beaches, a tumultuous history, preeminent museums and architectural wonderment set against a buzzing metropolis; it’s safe to say that there is simply nowhere on Earth quite like Barcelona. The Catalonian capital is a place it is impossible to find yourself at a loose-end in and being a mere short flight away, Barcelona is an excellent choice for a cheap city break. Barcelona is Spain’s most cosmopolitan city, and is served by an excellent transit system of underground railways and over ground trams that make it easy to experience as much of the city as your heart desires. Where else on the planet is as iconic for its football as it is its architecture or its fashion as its markets? There’s so much to see and do on Barcelona city breaks that you may find yourself passing up an opportunity to relax on the beach. Yes, it’s that good.
Beat the Brochure’s Top 5 recommendations
Intricate and elegant, world renowned architect Antoni Gaudí’s magnum opus Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família to give it its full, Catalan name, is one of Barcelona’s most iconic landmarks. Despite construction beginning in 1882, la Sagrada Família isn’t scheduled for completion until 2026 – 100 years after the death of its enigmatic architect. Stupefyingly beautiful and incredibly moving, city breaks to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without visiting the incomplete monument, that’s as exquisite inside as it is out.
FC Barcelona is one of the biggest football clubs on Earth and their stadium Camp Nou (often incorrectly referred to as the Nou Camp) is the biggest in Europe. Owned by its supporters, FC Barcelona transcend football to stand as a symbol of Catalanism, and the club’s ground has the motto “Més que un club” - more than a club - emblazoned on the seats via mosaic. Camp Nou has overseen some of football’s most iconic players and moments since opening in 1957, and contains a museum that can be visited every day of the week, if there isn’t a game on.
The spine of the city, La Rambla is a mile long, tree-lined strip where tourists and locals alike congregate to experience many Barcelona attractions. Connecting Plaça de Catalunya with Port Vell, La Rambla has everything you could possibly want… and human statues. Restaurants, bars, cafés, shops, museums… and human statues are all along this vibrant pedestrian walk to Barcelona’s historical centre or its dynamic port, depending on which way you’re heading. There are plenty of historic buildings to see as you stroll down La Rambla such as the Palace of Verreina, Liceo Theatre and the famous La Boqueria market.
The second of Antoni Gaudí’s designs to appear on BTB’s recommendations for Barcelona, Parc Güell is a majestic garden complex with abstract architectural elements that affords visitors some spectacular views of the city. The gingerbread looking houses and the mosaic salamander at the entrance will enchant you before you even set foot inside and see the disorientating diagonal underpass and views of the city almost emerging from the sea below. One of the best ways to spend the day at the park is to visit La Boqueria market off La Rambla beforehand to pick up some fresh ingredients to take with you and enjoy a picnic.
Montjuïc is a historically significant hill overlooking the Barcelona’s harbour. The castle of Montjuïc has overseen numerous executions of various political leaders in the past, and even served as a prison under Franco’s regime. Montjuïc is a strong symbol of Catalan pride and its Olympic Stadium was built with the intention of hosting an anti-fascist alternative Olympics in 1936 before the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. The stadium hosted the genuine Olympic Games in 1992, an event that is credited with sparking the modernisation of Barcelona. The sights from Montjuïc are magnificent and it is best reached via cable car, in itself a must-experience when on Barcelona city breaks.
Currency – Euro
Language – Spanish and Catalan
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Important numbers – 020 7589 8989
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