World-renowned architect Antoni Gaudi “built” his reputation here, and Barcelona holidays aren’t complete without seeing these famous works. The playful swerves and curves of Park Guell make for a dizzying afternoon, but if you’re feeling “sketch-y”, just duck into the Gaudi House Museum to see some of the artist’s drawings. Get a grip on reality, then pay a visit to La Sagrada Familia. You’ll easily see its towering 170-metre spires, but the devil is in the amazing details of this master work of art.
You can indulge in more than a feast for the eyes, however. Stuffing your face and shopping are Barcelona’s other great pastimes, and accommodation in Las Ramblas is the perfect starting point. You can do both of those things at La Boqueria, a market that is as much a temple to gastronomic excess as La Sagrada Familia is to religion.
If you consider your dining style to be “grazer” and free samples to be the epitome of a good time, you’ll find the best food in Barcelona in this market. Drop your cheese and wine finds at your hotel, then fill your day with famous landmarks, mosaics and bric-a-brac browsing—all right at your doorstep.
Not really into the whole “planning your itinerary ahead of time” thing? Or do you just want to save money for more wine and tapas (well, obviously)? Check out the Barcelona Attractions Flexi Pass and see the sights the way you want to.
Flights to Barcelona land at El Prat Airport (BCN) and trains run every 30 minutes from the airport to Passeig de Gràcia Station in the city centre. From there, you can take the Metro to your Barcelona accommodation and many other destinations, such as the Spanish Village and the Picasso Museum.
Thanks to Barcelona’s love of its prodigal son, the Metro goes to many of Gaudi’s works as well, and there are bus routes that can take you to other points both within and outside the city. If you must have personal transportation, or if you’re planning on conquering Catalonia, booking car hire through Wotif is a good option as well.
You’re just in time to “fall” in love with Barcelona’s autumn festivals. If you can make it, the Festes de la Merce in September is one of the best—Spain doesn’t mess around when it comes to their cities’ patron saints. The Gothic Quarter is transformed by giants, dragons, fireworks, live music and of course, plenty of wine. In fact, there’s even a festival within the festival called Mostra de Vins i Caves de Catalunya. Don’t worry about pronouncing it. Just ask a local to point you to the cava.
If you book Barcelona hotels anytime from late October through November, you’ll run into the festivities of the Barcelona International Jazz Festival. If you’re really lucky, you might even get to see legends like, well, John Legend. And no matter what, you can party in a club called Razzmatazz. You really can’t go wrong.
January through March is a great time to find deals, too, and there are several exciting festivals occurring during this time of year. Epiphany is a uniquely Spanish celebration of the arrival of the Three Kings, marked in early January with parades, parties and gift exchanges.
Lots of people come to Barcelona for the museums, the architecture, the wine, the tapas…well, the list goes on. But did you know there are beaches here, too? Yes, this city literally has everything. For those staying in hotels in Barcelona’s downtown, Barceloneta Beach is the closest to the city centre and therefore the most happenin’. With skyscrapers in the background and beach huts serving up refreshing beverages as far as the eye can see, it’s no surprise why this is a popular place.
Walk past the giant goldfish statue (Note: Even the strange-looking statues in Barcelona are made by famous people—this one is by Frank Gehry) and you’ll soon be in Icaria Beach, north of Barceloneta. Stretch out on the sand and you’ll feel totally peaceful, but if you want to get a little rowdy, there are still plenty of bars in the area.
Does a cable car count as being outdoors? It does in our book. Hop on the one that goes up to Montjuic Castle and take a kingly stroll around. With sweeping views of the city, harbour and mountains, you’ll certainly feel like royalty. Actually, we take that back. Based on this castle’s history, you might not have wanted to live here: It has definitely seen some stuff (which you can learn about on a fun tour!).
Picture this: You’re telling your co-workers all about your Barcelona getaway. “Did you see La Sagrada Familia?” they’ll ask. “Did you go to Park Guell? What about La Boqueria?” Yes, they’ll have a lot of questions. Well, traveller, you simply can’t answer these questions with a “no”. So if you’ve only got one day in Barcelona, check these off your list.
Of course, only a crazy person would spend just one day here, and there are a ton of other “must-see” places. Learn about the city’s famous artist who isn’t Gaudi at the Picasso Museum; see some art nouveau architecture at the Palace of Catalan Music; and put on your best black outfit for a visit to the Gothic Quarter. Just kidding, you don’t really have to wear black there.
If your holiday self is begging for a little imagination, get creative with Wotif’s deals on places to stay in Barcelona. Book today, and enter a stunning world of art, architecture and food.
Hotels in Barcelona start at AU$116 per night. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.