|Barcelona Las Ramblas|
This page will give you an insight into the best things to do in Barcelona, which is no mean feat because there is so much to do.
Everything depends on your interests and type of holiday, but there is something in Barcelona to suit all types and this page will give you a taste of the things to come.
Barcelona is a city steeped in culture and history, so if it's some sight-seeing you're after then you've come to the right place.
Barcelona is most famous for the fantastic architecture of Antonio Gaudí, whose building are scattered all around the centre of the city. The most famous and impressive can be seen along Passeig de Gràcia where you will find La Pedrera and Casa Batlló. Or head to the Park Güell which is a gorgeous park designed by the man himself. However the most impressive of Gaudí's works is arguably the Sagrada Família, the huge, still unfinished Basilica. You can't fail to be humbled by such an imposing and ambitious project, the detail on the exterior walls is just staggering, but beware, if you are scared of heights don't be tempted to climb to the top of the turrets.
|Gaudí Park Güell|
Other than Gaudí, Barcelona does offer a lot in terms of architectural brilliance. The Gothic Cathedral in the heart of the Gothic quarter is a must-see. Just wandering around Barcelona you will come across a feast of beautiful buildings, and also get off Las Ramblas, there is so much more to see just 2 minutes either side of this famous street.
For culture-vultures out there Barcelona has plenty of museums to keep you happy. The MACBA (museum of modern art) and the CCCB next door are worth a look and generally have good exhibitions on every month. The Picasso and the permanent Dalí exhibition in the Gothic Quarter are always popular. The Caixa Forum is a museum which has different art exhibitions every month. It is just off Plaça España, on Avenida Marques de Comillos that is popular with locals but much ignored by tourists, which is a shame because it's worth a visit and it's free. Near the Caixa Forum is MNAC (museum of Catalan art) which is so beautiful inside and out.
If you want free unlimited transport on the Barcelona public transport system and discounts on many of Barcelona's top attractions consider buying the Barcelona Card - The discount and travel pass.
Barcelona has sumptious food, there is no doubt about it. You can get anything you want from international food to Catalan favourites, tapas to seafood platters. All you have to do is look around, there are lots of reasonably priced restaurants, as well as some pricey ones. People here eat late, lunch is usually at 14:00 and dinner at 22:00, for dinner it is usually advisable to book a table. Like with many things, if you want good quality without the price tag then head away from Las Ramblas.
Tapas is particularly good around Barceloneta, this was originally a fishing village and there are still many quaint little local places where you can get fresh seafood tapas for good prices.
For couples I recommend Limbo on Calle Mercè, it's subtle, romantic and the food is delicious. If you want something a little more upbeat then why not try one of the Italians down Calle Ample - Made in Italy has live jazz on Saturday and Tuesday nights.
Also I would really recommend having a look round the markets, La Boqueria is on Las Ramblas and Mercat St Antoni are both filled with fresh products to tempt your every sense.
Barcelona is a child-friendly place and there is a lot that kids will enjoy. For a start there's the Zoo in Parc Ciutadella, the zoo is large and will provide a days easy entertainment for kids and adults. Or there is the aquarium which is the largest in Europe and is always fun.
|Magic Fountain of Montjuïc|
Another good place for children is Poble Espanyol which is on Montjuïc, just up from Plaça España. Poble Espanyol is an odd place, a village created in 1929 to imitate the different styles of Spanish regional architecture. There are lots of craft shops, and activities you can watch such as glass-blowing. Often there are also kids-only activities where you can leave the little ones for a couple of hours, last time I was there it was stilt-walking. And while you are in the Montjuïc area don't miss the magical fountain of Montjuïc, a music and light extravaganza.
Something else kids might enjoy is the Cable Car that runs from Barceloneta beach over to Montjuïc. Again it's not something for those scared of heights but it is fun and you get spectacular views of the city.
Adults may well enjoy this more than children but there is also a chocolate museum near Arc de Triomf which will show you the history of chocolate and end in a shop and café where you can rest and have a creamy hot chocolate. See our page on Barcelona for families.
If it's sunny you could head to Parc Ciutadella which is a large leafy park where you can hire pedaloes and go onto the lake.
If that's too strenuous for you then how about heading up to Tibidabo where there is a bar which overlooks the whole city. The bar is called Mirablau and is perfect for an early evening cocktail.
Don't forget you can always see the sights in style from your own horse and carriage, they can usually be found at the bottom of Las Ramblas. And if you would like to find a hotel on Barcelona's most famous boulevard I have put together a review of some popular Las Ramblas hotels.
Barcelona is a party city, whatever time of the night or morning there is always something going on. There are bars to suit everyone, weird ones, secret ones, Catalan ones, Irish pubs, ones with views and ones with a trendy clientele.
The bars are open here till 3 normally so there is no rush, wander around and move from place to place. Some of the ones I think are worth having a look at are:
L'Arquer - for novelty value nothing beats this bar which has lanes for archery!
Miramelinda - a classy bar in trendy El Borne area which makes good mojitos.
Ommsession - If you're design-conscious and like being surrounded by similar people then head to this lounge bar which is attached to the Hotel Omm.
Manchester Bar - A nice bar in the Raval that pays homage to English indie music of the 90s
London Bar - Live music every night at this bar that was frequented in the past by Picasso and Hemingway.
As for clubs again there is a big range. If you like cheese then the primarily gay Sala clubs are popular with gay and straight people.
If hip hop is your thing then try Jamboree on a Monday night, or City Hall night club on Thursday nights keep your eyes out for flyers which give discounted or free entrance, in shops and cafes.
Most of the other clubs play a mix of house, funk and occasionally a bit of trance.
As you can see there really is a lot of things to do in Barcelona whoever you are, you can do as much or as little as you want and everywhere you go in the city I'm sure you will find something of interest.