Uncover the fantastic thing about Barcelona
There are few cities the place you may marvel at architectural wonders one minute and be absorbing the rays, sipping a chilly cerveza on the seashore lower than half an hour later. However that’s Barcelona for you.
In addition to fantastical church buildings, placing monuments and world-class artwork museums, Spain’s second largest metropolis (after Madrid) additionally boasts a beautiful seashore scene only a stone’s throw away.
So it’s little surprise that Nationwide Geographic named it the most effective seashore metropolis on this planet.
With solely 48 hours to do Barcelona justice, I jumped on an open-topped bus tour with Bus Turistic (barcelonabusturistic.cat), which, over the course of three routes, takes in the principle sights and beachfront and is an effective way to get your bearings and recognize town’s love of artwork.
Trendy meets medieval in Barcelona, with steel dragon sculptures and random carvings equivalent to a large brass cat merging seamlessly with Gothic church buildings and darkish, brooding alleyways.
You may’t escape the works of architect Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), whose fantastical modernist landmarks are everywhere in the metropolis. Make a beeline for Casa Milà (popularly generally known as La Pedrera), Casa Batlló and Park Güell for glimpses of Gaudí at his flamboyant greatest.
I jumped off the bus at Gaudí’s most well-known creation, Sagrada Familia, and felt my jaw drop, simply because it did when first laying eyes on it a decade in the past.
Lined in cranes and scaffolding then, it nonetheless is now, regardless of being 135 years within the making. Because of be completed in 2026, Gaudí’s ornate basilica – stated to relate the story of Christ – continues to divide opinion, if the tour group subsequent to me had been something to go by.
“Magnificent” stated one individual; “grotesque” stated one other, each describing the Nativity façade. Clearly, magnificence is within the eye of the beholder.
No go to to Barcelona is full with out a stroll down La Rambla, one of the crucial well-known boulevards on this planet. The mile-long, tree-lined pedestrian avenue bustles with road artists, human statues, aromatic flower stalls and busy cafés. Sure, it’s touristy, however gradual your tempo down and flow: it’s fantastic for individuals watching.
Don’t miss the deal with that’s La Boqueria, both – an indoor meals market on La Rambla that assaults each sense with its vibrant fruit, vegetable and meat stalls. For those who’re fortunate, bag a stool at one of many market bars and order a glass of cava and plates of garlic prawns and spicy sausage.
If not, purchase cured meats on a stick for a couple of euros and take in the ambiance, wandering across the stalls.
For one thing additional particular, deal with your self to the 14-course tasting menu at Enoteca, the 2 Michelin star restaurant situated within the swanky Resort Arts Barcelona.
Warming up with a cocktail in Frank’s bar, the white linen tablecloths and pure stripped floorboards of Enoteca oozed magnificence, whereas the pleasant, attentive workers managed to elucidate every course with out being intrusive. The ocean cucumber carbonara and creamy rice, mushrooms, sea urchin and truffle had been the stuff of goals.
Equally dreamy was the massive double mattress awaiting me throughout my keep on the quirky Barceló Sants resort. With a futuristic, cutting-edge design resembling an area station, it actually shouldn’t work – there’s a life-size astronaut determine within the lobby and area shuttle window hatches within the rooms – but it surely does.
The resort’s location is out-of-this-world too: above the busy Sants railway station, it’s simply 15 minutes by prepare from the airport and inside 10 minutes of La Rambla by metro.
It’s one of many stops on the Bus Turistic route, too, so the subsequent day – after a fortifying buffet breakfast of omelette, pancakes and smoothies – I rejoined the bus and headed to the Barri Gòtic quarter to discover the maze of slender lanes and squares on the medieval coronary heart of town.
Throw away your map and get misplaced within the tangle of atmospheric, cobbled streets. Sooner or later you’ll arrive at Barcelona Cathedral within the centre of the Gothic quarter and the queues will inform you if you’ve discovered the Picasso Museum.
Artwork buffs will love wanting on the artist’s early work from his years in Barcelona. Skip the lengthy strains by reserving tickets forward.
My remaining cease was, after all, the seashore. Following a makeover for the 1992 Olympics, the seafront now boasts over 4km of golden sand and the redeveloped Port Vell harbour district buzzes with alfresco diners and market stalls.
Barceloneta Seaside, being closest to town, is without doubt one of the busiest stretches, however sitting in a chiringuito (seashore bar) watching the locals play volleyball, it was the proper finish to my journey. Tradition, gastronomy and exquisite sandy seashores – Barcelona is actually a metropolis for everybody.
Option to go
Stays at Barcelo Sants (+ 34 935 03 53 00, barcelo.com) begin from £101 per night time, primarily based on two sharing on a room-only foundation. Monarch (monarch.co.uk) operates year-round flights to Barcelona from Birmingham, London Gatwick, Leeds Bradford and Manchester airports with fares ranging from £39 a technique (£69 return). E book Enoteca on-line at enotecapacoperez.com or name +34 934 83 81 08. Meet and Greet Airport Parking in any respect main UK airports might be booked by way of HolidayExtras.com or by calling 0800 131 3777. For extra data on Barcelona, see visitbarcelona.com.
Ten issues you have to do in Barcelona
1 Attempt a glass of rioja, cava and Estrella Damm beer, that are all produced right here and ridiculously low-cost.
2 Go to the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc for a spectacular sound and light-weight present.
three Store for jewelry and souvenirs within the hip El Born district.
four Sit on the primary crew bench in the course of the Camp Nou Expertise – a tour of Europe’s largest soccer stadium and residential of Barcelona FC.
5 Be a part of one of many metropolis’s free strolling excursions (runnerbeantours.com).
6 Go to Tibidabo Amusement Park (tibidabo.cat), going sturdy since 1901.
7 Order garlic prawns and a glass of cava at one of many bars in La Boqueria, an indoor meals market on La Rambla.
eight Take a extra secluded dip within the sea on the northern finish of the beachfront.
9 Take pleasure in a bicycle tour and see town on two wheels.
10 Splash the money on the Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s greatest purchasing road.