As one of Europeâ€™s most vibrant and colourful cities, Barcelona has evolved out of the intriguing combination of its unique location between sea and mountain, its turbulent Catalan history, and its pre-eminence as Spainâ€™s centre for art, architecture and design.
Food and drink
In recent years, Spain has become one of Europeâ€™s leading gastronomic destinations, and Barcelonaâ€™s culinary scene is one of the most exciting. Innovative chefs are developing a new style of cooking, while traditional Catalan restaurants serve time-honoured dishes passed down the generations.
Cured meats are a speciality of the area including chorizo and dried boar and ham, while the cityâ€™s seaside location ensures an excellent selection of seafood. Crema Catalana is the star pudding, along with delicious cakes and pastries.
Barcelona is something of a shopperâ€™s paradise. Along the Passeig de GrÃ cia and its environs, international designers, like Gucci and Chanel, and famous Spanish names such as Camper and Desiguel jostle for position. To find something a little more unusual, browse the antique shops and boutiques of the Gothic Quarter and El Born.
Things to see and do
- La Sagrada FamÃlia - This unfinished masterpiece is an architectural marvel, Antonio Gaudiâ€™s most celebrated creation.
- Picasso Museum - Housed in five medieval palaces, a comprehensive collection of early artwork by Pablo Picasso, from childhood sketches to Cubism.
- Casa Batllo - Gaudiâ€™s fantastical apartment building which is said to symbolise the story of George and the Dragon.
- Las Ramblas - From the central PlaÃ§a de Catalunya down to the sea, this lively street is the beating heart of Barcelona.
- Joan MirÃ³ Foundation - A dazzling gallery devoted to one of Barcelonaâ€™s finest artists.
- Sit on the rainbow-coloured serpent bench in Parc GÃ¼ell and marvel at the far-reaching views.
- Catch a match or take a guided tour at Camp Nou, Europeâ€™s largest football stadium and home to Barcelona FC.
- Take the cable car across the harbour and spend the afternoon on Sant SebastiÃ¡ beach.
- Explore the tiny winding streets of the Gothic Quarter, one of the oldest parts of the city.
- Take the cable car up to Castell de MontjuÃ¯c for the best views over the harbour and the city.
When to visit
If you're planning a holiday in Barcelona, our top picks for the best time to travel would be anday
The increasing warmth of May is perfect for strolling along La Rambla and people-watching. Not swelteringly hot, but perfectly pleasant for relaxing in the cosmopolitan city centre or at the beach
Things to do in Barcelona
Weather in Barcelona
Our month-by-month guide to the weather and climate in Barcelona