If you’re travelling alone
Barcelona wears its rich history on its sleeve, with Roman buildings, gothic churches and historic cobbled streets all over the place. La Sagrada Família is a definite must-see – it’s an incredible cathedral (still unfinished after 100 years!). It was the obsession of famous architect Antoni Gaudí. The jury’s out on when the enormous building will be completed, but that doesn’t stop it being Spain’s most visited attraction.
- From €15. 931 980 705, www.sagradafamilia.cat
For more on the quirky architect, head to Park Güell, a municipal park designed by Gaudí with lots to see. Sit on a bench designed to look like a sea serpent, explore the footpaths and get a wonderful view over the city. Entrance is free, but you’ll need a ¤7 ticket to visit the Gaudí house and to see certain mosaics.
- From €7. 902 200 302, www.parkguell.cat/en/
It’s hard not to be impressed by the sheer scale of Barcelona’s famous football stadium. It’s one of the world’s biggest venues, holding up to 100,000 fans at a time. If you can’t get tickets for a match (available at the stadium or tourist offices, prices vary massively from ¤35), then take a tour and visit the museum. Grandchildren will love the interactive touch-screens and goal videos. You’ll also get to walk through the tunnels and out onto the pitch, for a taste of how the players must feel. A real must-see for footie fans!
- Tickets for the tour and museum cost €23. 902 189 900, www.fcbarcelona.com/camp-nou
For family fun and impressive views, head to the 100-year-old Tibidabo Amusement Park, located halfway up a mountain. There are 25 rides for all ages, as well as picnic spots and restaurants. Visit the Sky Walk while you’re there – a route that’s 500m long (a funicular train can take you up from Tibidabo Park) with some of the best views of the city. There are various attractions to enjoy as you walk along it, including a big wheel, a traditional carousel and places to eat.
- Take the Brown Line L7 train from the Plaza de Catalunya Metro to find the tram to the park. Prices depend on attractions, but start from €28.50 for adult entrance to amusement park. 932 117 942, www.tibidabo.cat/en/
With your partner
For an evening out with a difference, visit the ‘magic fountain’ on Avinguda Maria Cristina. The centre of a collection of public ponds and waterfalls, this spectacular fountain is the site of amazing free shows with special music and lighting. Plus it’s a slice of history, having been built in 1929 for the World Fair. It’s worth checking the timetable before you visit and arriving early as it attracts massive crowds.
- 932 564 430, www.bcn.cat/parcsijardins/fonts/EN/magica.html
Barcelona has an incredible history of resident artists, including Picasso and Miro, both of whom have museums dedicated to their work. To see – and even walk over – an original Miro artwork, head to the La Rambla. This lively boulevard cuts through the city centre and is packed with shops and live entertainment. It’s great fun, but keep an eye on your handbag! Head to the Liceu Theatre to see a tile mosaic designed by Miro himself – look carefully for the one he signed.
Unlike most big city breaks, a trip to Barcelona has the added advantage of more than two miles of stunning beaches to explore – perfect for catching up with your friends over a glass of sangria. They’re all clean enough for swimming, although the main one – Barceloneta Beach – can get crowded over the summer months, so perhaps try Icària, which is easy to reach on the Metro. A word of warning – Mar Bella beach is a nudist beach!
- For a guide to the beaches on offer, visit www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/
Be sure to try a hearty paella packed with local seafood, as well as pa amb tomàquet, a toasted bread rubbed with tomatoes, salt and garlic. Tapas – small, tasting plates – are a delicious way to try a variety of flavours, but some touristy venues over-charge. For honestly-priced food, try El Rincón del Cava, in Poble Sec, where most dishes are ¤3 or less. To see delicious boiled sweets being made, visit Papa Bubble, on Ample 28.
- El Rincón del Cava 934 417 031; Papa Bubble 932 688 625, www.papabubble.com
We’ve included local phone numbers to use once in Barcelona, but if you want to call from the UK just add 0034 to the start of each number.
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