There is so much to do in this dynamic city that you will need more than just a weekend, but that’s the beauty of it. It’s so easy to get to – about 2 hours from most UK airports – and has almost everything you could want from a weekend away. is known for its cool character and energetic buzz and the city is an eclectic mix of modernist buildings as well as historic hidden courtyards. There’s heaps of culture and history, fantastic shopping, great restaurants, bars and clubs – and, it’s a seaside resort too with seven sandy beaches to sunbathe on.
Obviously you can easily fill a weekend by visiting the Gaudi buildings alone, but if you don’t have time to see all of them do go to see his most famous building, La Sagrada Familia. This iconic cathedral is still not finished despite being worked on for over 100 years – in high season it’s worth booking in advance if you want to go inside.
You can also take an open top bus on a tour of the city to tick off many of Gaudi’s buildings or head up to the barri of El Carmel, on the V17 bus from Port Vell. This forested hill has magnificent 360-degree views over the entire city. Take a picnic, or walk a mile down the Carrer de la Gran Vista for lunch at the terrific bar-restaurant Las Delicias.
Wandering around Barcelona and taking in the atmosphere is entertainment in itself. The famous narrow alleys of Barri Gothic (the Gothic Quarter) are a touristy medieval town with ancient monuments at every turn. The neighbouring area of El Born is packed with cafes and boutiques as well as the Picasso museum. The boutiques that line the warren of alleys are a treasure trove of locally designed clothes and original homewares. Keep walking and you will find the Parc de la Ciutadella where the locals picnic, play games and relax in the spacious central park.
If you love shopping then you’ll love Barcelona, La Rambla is the most famous street in Barcelona but it is actually made up of 5 boulevards – or ramblas – joined to make one long promenade, for this reason it is called Las Ramblas. Browse the stalls for souvenirs along this central pedestrian boulevard in the dappled sunlight from the overhead plane trees – but as with the main touristy areas, hold onto your bag – pick pocketing is rife. Las Ramblas is also the start of a 5 km shopping line which then stretches through Plaça de Catalunya, along Passeig de Gràcia and up Avenue Diagonal. Big brand shops like Zara, Massimo Dutti, & Other Stories and Pull and Bear line the Passeig de Gràcia whilst the huge department store of El Corte Inglés is on Plaça Catalunya.
The city is also famous for its night life that goes on into the small hours, the magnificent palm-filled Plaza Reial is always buzzing with restaurants, bars and street entertainers and is a good starting place for a chilled Sangrai and tapas. Puerto Olimpico is usually full of Hen and Stag parties but the line up of restaurants and clubs along the beach is usually quite fun.
Port Vell is a wonderful destination to admire the incredible Super yachts, some complete with helicopters on their decks too, and there are plenty of seafood restaurants in the neighbouring area of Barceloneta, many withgreat views over the port or seafront. Roof top bars and restaurants are really popular here – many of the hotels have them too and they offer the ideal way to get up and above the busy streets and enjoy the views of the city with a bit more breeze. And at the end of the day why not make the journey back to your hotel fun by jumping in one of the many bicycle rickshaws – often easier to hail than a taxi, but watch out, they aren’t cheap!