Simply stated, if you love art, Barcelona is for you. Gaudi, Miro and Dali were all born in the region, and Picasso studied in the city for years and returned throughout his life. We’re not sure if it’s something in the water, but you’ll want to have a glass or two, just in case. Even if a drink doesn’t pique your creativity, you can at least admire the creativity of others from your accommodation in Barcelona.
Things to Do in Barcelona
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 Gaudí 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. 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.
Getting To & Around Barcelona
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, car hires are a good option as well.
Best Time to Travel
The summer months of July and August are by far the busiest, but they’re also the most hot and humid. You may want to visit in April through June, when temps are in the 20s and ocean breezes rustle the trees. In the autumn, the mercury starts to drop, but temperatures are still a comfy 10 to 20 degrees. January through March are a great time to find deals on Barcelona hotels, as there’s 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.
If your holiday self is begging for a little imagination, get creative with Wotif’s deals on hotels in Barcelona. Book today, and enter a stunning world of art and architecture.
It won't take long before you run into an example of what sets Barcelona apart. The Modernist movement (Art Nouveau's Iberian manifestation) takes its most spectacular form in the city's fantastic architectural creations, most famously Antonio Gaudi's Sagrada Familia, the gothic cathedral which has been under construction since 1882. Bike it or bus it around to discover the urban tableau. Or, head to Parc Güell for an original and interesting park that offers more than just green space.
The painter Joan Miró another Barcelona native. The Miro Foundation holds the largest collection of his work anywhere. The famed Picasso Museum is also a must, as is the Dalí Museum in nearby Figueres. Take a walk down Las Ramblas, Barcelona's tree-lined thoroughfare, and spend some time with the unique human statues, a surreal form of living art.
Regional differences in Spain are pronounced and Barcelona is fiercely proud of its Catalonian roots. Manifested most obviously by language, the Catalonian identity has a long history that can be traced back to the ninth century. Banned under Franco, the Catalan language now flourishes, and has undergone an astounding resurgence in recent years.
This independent spirit infuses the city with life. From tall castellars (human towers) at festivals to fusion cuisine to rival Paris or New York, Barcelona is a creative and vibrant metropolis with one eye on the Mediterranean and the other looking toward the hills (try the funicular up to Tibidabo hill).
Late nights and into the dawn
Barcelona comes to life after the sun goes down. The Barri Gótic is Barcelona's oldest section, but it's also home to some of the trendiest bars. Mix with the locals in the La Raval neighborhood, eat tapas at sunset, and go clubbing until dawn. It's all on the agenda in a city where midnight is just the start of the evening.
Your Barcelona city tour can take you to bullfights in the Gothic Quarter, to Europe's biggest football stadium, or to a flamenco show. Come in June for the Sonar Festival and experience electronic music beyond measure.
Since hosting the 1992 Olympics, Barcelona has seen revitalization that has never slowed. It's a vibrant mix with new hip addresses and old markets with fresh produce. Its depth and complexity befit the capital of Catalonia and at the break of dawn, it may feel like the capital of the world. Hide