As one of Europe’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 Spain’s centre for art, architecture and design.
Food and drink
In recent years, Spain has become one of Europe’s leading gastronomic destinations, and Barcelona’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 city’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 shopper’s paradise. Along the Passeig de Gràcia 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 Família - This unfinished masterpiece is an architectural marvel, Antonio Gaudi’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 - Gaudi’s fantastical apartment building which is said to symbolise the story of George and the Dragon.
- Las Ramblas - From the central Plaça de Catalunya down to the sea, this lively street is the beating heart of Barcelona.
- Joan Miró Foundation - A dazzling gallery devoted to one of Barcelona’s finest artists.
- Sit on the rainbow-coloured serpent bench in Parc Güell and marvel at the far-reaching views.
- Catch a match or take a guided tour at Camp Nou, Europe’s largest football stadium and home to Barcelona FC.
- Take the cable car across the harbour and spend the afternoon on Sant Sebastiá 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 Montjuïc 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