Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, and also the capital of Catalonia (one of the Autonomous Communities in Spain). The city is situated in the north east part of Spain, bordering to the Mediterranean Sea and close the French border.
The origins of the city of Barcelona, date from the 1st century AD, when the Romans established a small colony around the Taber mount. In this way Barcino started, to form part of Eastern Hispania, the capital of which was Tarraco.
Over the last 100 years Barcelona saw an incredible transformation mainly brought by the industrialisation. Culture and art flourished in Barcelona; the splendour achieved by Catalonian modernism is still admired today. The most recognisable architectural signature in Barcelona is the one of Antonio Gaudi. Even if architecture is not your thing, Gaudi’s most famous creations, such as Sagrada Familia (the unfinished church), Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and Park Guell will certainly make you look twice (most people actually stop).
With this background Barcelona is now the centre of design and inovation, which set the trends in Spain and beyond.
The discovery of the city usually starts at Plaza de Catalunia going down La Rambla and passing Gran Theatre del Liceu, The Boqueria market and The Palau de Ia Virreina. A little further you will find the Columbus Monument and the Palau Guell. Next, head for the old harbour, the Port Vell, and then take a look along the Moll de La Fusta Wharf. In the Barceloneta district, there are plenty of restaurants which serve traditional Mediterranean cuisine. Nearby, you will find The Parc de Ia Ciutadella, one of the biggest city parks—perfect for a little rest. Make sure you have one before heading to The Gothic Quarter to stroll through endless number of narrow charming streets (don’t forget the map!)
No visit to Barcelona should be without going through the Modernista Route. So, have a good breakfast and start the walk along the Passeig de Gracia to view its landmark buildings (the Casa Batllö and the Casa Milä, better known as La Pedrera). Follow through the streets of the Eixample district (project by Cerda, a famous catalan urbanist) to the Sagrada Familia. The Modernista route finishes at Park Guell.
In the other side of the city, Pedralbes Monastery is located in Barcelona’s posh district. Football fans must not miss a visit to the nearby FC Barcelona Stadium.
For the amazing panoramic views over the city head for Mount Tibidabo or for Montjuic Hill, which offers a wide variety of visitor attractions: the Olympic Ring, the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Fundaciö Joan Mirö, and the Poble Espanyol.
Barcelona is excellent for shopping, especially if you want to pick up a few high design items not only for your wardrobe, but also for your home. Head for Avinguda Diagonal which includes major shopping centres: P1 de Catalunya, Portal de L’Angel and Passeig de Gràcia.
All that sightseeing and shopping should’ve worked up your appetite and Barcelona offers a huge variety of Mediterranean and Catalan cuisine. Try La escudella i car d’olla (a stew made of vegetables, rice and noodles) and Buttifarra (a typical regional sausage). Fish specialties are Zarzuela, made of cuttlefish and sea food. For desserts try the delicious Crema Catalana.
Good variety of wines from Peralda, Penedés and of course the famous Cava (sparkling wine).
The weather in Barcelona is pleasant throughout the year. May to July and September to October are probably the best.
To get there: EasyJet operates flights from Gatwick, Stansted and Luton. BA from Heathrow and Gatwick.