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Best of Barcelona

Wherever you are in Barcelona, there's always something to see around the neighborhood or district: jewels of home-grown Catalan architecture, modernism, and contemporary architecture, markets that are a treat for the senses, or treasures of the ancient Roman and medieval city.

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Travel Information

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Destination Overview

Experience the city's beautiful heritage & traditions.

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Everything you need to know about Barcelona!

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Things To Do

Activities

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Let your imagination run wild and discover Barcelona from a unique perspective. Art, culture, sport, gastronomy, wine tourism, well-being, relaxation, beauty and Health.

These experiences cater to all tastes to ensure your stay in Barcelona will be unique, tailored to your individual needs and full of surprises...

Visit a winery. In Barcelona we can tour the world of the vineyards, with their millennium-old tradition. Both the major, internationally recognised wine labels and the smaller wineries open their doors so that we can enjoy a wine-related experience: strolling among the vines and pairing of wines with local products.

Showcooking at the Boqueria market. Discover the secrets of the Boqueria Market, the places that make it unique, and go shopping with the chef who will share the secrets of how to buy the finest-quality ingredients for lunch or dinner. You’ll have the opportunity to see a renowned chef cook in front of you...and just for you!

Driving experience at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Drive a sport car in one of the most famous Formula 1 track of the world...and just 30 minutes from Barcelona!

Hotair balloon tour around Barcelona. The privilege of being carried gently away by the morning breezes, enjoying the aerial views of the areas surrounding Barcelona, it is an unforgettable experience, ideal as a romantic trip.

Private visits to the most important museus and monuments, such as the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya or some of the Gaudí’s buildings. The visits can be done out of the openning hours to enjoy the visit in total privacy and occasionally have a look at the restauration atelier.

A unique, emotion-charged artistic experience at the Liceu Opera Barcelona. Founded in 1847 is one of the most spectacular classic opera theatres in the world and one of the symbols of Barcelona.

Feel the emotion at FC Barcelona stadium. Experience the best football spectacle in the world and get to know the philosophy behind the colours, the stadium and the team which has made them a reference point in the history of this sport.

Enjoy the great adventure of sailing on the Mediterranean. Watch the sunset aboard an exclusive boat while enjoying the sea or navigate to other locations along the coast.

Play golf at Real Club de Golf El Prat, one of the oldest and most prestigious golf courses of Spain.

Arts

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Barcelona has had an intense and fruitful relationship with art throughout its history and has bequeathed a legacy of major figures of worldwide renown, particularly in the field of fine art and architecture, such as, Gaudí, Domenech i Montaner, Picasso, Miró, Dalí and Tàpies.

With a history dating back moret han 2,000 years, Barcelona offers visitors examples of architecture spanning classical antiquity and the era of the Roman Empire to contemporary, State-of-the-art, sustainable buildings.

But Barcelona is not only a showcase for medieval painting and sculpture. The city has also made a major contribution to leading 20th century avant-garde moviments such as cubism, surrealisme and abstraction.

Beaches

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Barcelona’s coast is divided into 3 areas: In the south, you’ll find the port, where goods come in, next to the quays where the cruise ships berth. The port is the most important in the Mediterranean and a favorite stopping-off point for luxury cruise liners. This area includes the beach that stretches from Barceloneta to Vila Olímpica.

The second area is the Vila Olímpica, with a large beach that goes as far as the Fòrum and is a large port ideal for yachts and small boats.

The last area is the Fòrum, with its iconic building surmounted by large photovoltaic panels.

For lovers of the sea, Barcelona has ten beaches which are perfect to swim in, with good facilities (showers, toilets, etc) and services so you can combine a visit to the city with relaxation by the sea. All the beaches have walkways providing easy access and four of them have an assiste swimming service for disabled people.

Although the official swimming season is from June to September, in Barcelona you can enjoy the beaches all year round. The area next to the sea is perfect for long strolls, doing sport or having drinks at one of the many terraces you’ll find in the area.

All the beaches have ISO 14001 certification which proves that they comply with international environmental standards (waste management, water analysis and sand quality). They are all also “Blue flag” beaches.

Events

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Despite the feeling of modernity evident in Barcelona, the city hasn’t lost its links to the past, or its personality. Barcelona’s street festivals are, for instance, a great reason to visit the city.

It’s definitely worth coming to Barcelona in autumn to experience the city’s main ‘festa’, La Mercè (end September), named after its patron saint. There are a huge number of popular cultural activities to witness and participate in, including ‘castellers’ (human towers), ‘correfocs’ (fire-running), and concerts.

In winter, the Christmas fairs await you by the cathedral and the Sagrada Família and in February, there’s ‘Carnaval’.

In spring, Sant Jordi is a unique celebration when roses and books, symbols of love and culture, can be found in every street, square and avenue.

In summer, there’s the Festival Barcelona Grec, where you can enjoy a rich variety of theater, dance and music; the Midsummer celebrations, the ‘revetlles’ of Sant Joan and Sant Pere, with their traditional bonfires; the National Day of Catalonia, the ‘Diada’, on September 11th, and popular festivals in many of the city’s neighbourhoods. In August, it’s essential to experience the street festivals in Gràcia.

Catalan culture has other strong symbols of identity: the ‘sardana’, the typical Catalan dance which is performed in circles, the impressive ‘castells’, or human towers, which have been awarded Intangible World Heritage status by UNESCO, and the street festivals, with ‘gegants’ and ‘capgrossos’ (giants and big heads).

Barcelona hosts every type of cultural activity, from music concerts to dance and theater shows and numerous festivals. The Gran Teatre del Liceu, one of Europe’s temples of opera, the ‘modernista’ Palau de la Música Catalana and the Auditori, fill the city’s musical calendar… and the Sónar festival is a must for young, alternativemusic fans.

Family

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The mild Barcelona climate encourages outdoor activities for all the family. Cycling enthusiasts, both young and old, can enjoy an extensive network of cycle lanes which make it easy to ride through most parts of the city. Barcelona’s seafront, parks, green areas and avenues are also the ideal place to go jogging or for a peaceful stroll.

Near the old town, in the old harbor area, the Port Vell, you’ll find the Aquàrium de Barcelona, one of the biggest aquariums in Europe and the Maremàgnum shopping and entertainment complex. From Port Vell, you can go for a ride on one of the popular sightseeing boats, known as Golondrinas, take the cable car to Montjuïc Park, ride in the lift to the viewing gallery at the top of the Columbus Monument, or visit the Reials Drassanes, the city’s medieval shipyards and a Gothic architectural ensemble which is the home of the Museu Marítim.

The city has over 60 parks and gardens, whose jewel in the crown is the Ciutadella Park. The park is home to Barcelona Zoo. Another major green area is Montjuïc Park, the site of the Olympic Stadium, the setting for the 1992 Olympic Games, and one of the city’s busiest cultural hubs. Here you can see Barcelona’s much-vaunted pioneering architecture, in the shape of the Palau Sant Jordi sports complex, as well as the Poble Espanyol, or Spanish Village, a veritable open-air museum and visitor attraction built for the 1929 International Exhibition which recreates some of Spain’s landmark buildings. It also features a variety of craft workshops, organizes activities for all ages and has a wide range of restaurants.

Another superb vantage point over the city is Mount Tibidabo, which stands atop the Collserola Ridge and is crowned by a fun amusement park. Nearby, the city’s science museum, CosmoCaixa, is the perfect place to gain an insight into the world we live in.

Food

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Gastronomy is one of Barcelona’s top attractions. Catalan cuisine is certainly one of the typical Mediterranean styles of cooking which enjoys the greatest prestige worldwide. The Mediterranean diet is among the healthiest in the world, and the key to its success lies in this region where it can draw on the finest natural produce from the sea and land.

Barcelona’s restaurants and great chefs have made it a focus of attention worldwide. Not for nothing can you enjoy 23 Michelin-starred eateries.

Some of the typical Catalan specialties that can be sampled at the city’s most select restaurants are ‘rossejats’ (sautéed rice dishes), ‘esqueixada’ (a salad of salt cod with red pepper, onions, black olives and olive oil), ‘botifarra amb mongetes’ (Catalan sausage with white beans), paella (rice) and ‘fideuà’ (noodle paella). Some of the outstanding desserts include ‘mel i mató’ (honey with curd cheese) and the popular ‘crema catalana’ (a Catalan version of ‘crème brûlée’), which is the perfect way to round off a meal.

Eating well in Barcelona is easy. From a simple set menu and the culinary marvels served up by Michelin-starred restaurants, to tapas and the classic tradition of having a glass of red vermouth with a snack on a sunny terrace.

Whatever the food, there can be nothing better than washing it down with the wines of the region. The reds, whites and rosés are acclaimed by the world’s leading gourmets. And, of course, you mustn’t miss out on the famous sparkling wine, cava. Few cities in the world can boast such a large network of municipal markets: Barcelona has 39 food markets, some of them with restaurants serving dishes made with fresh produce.

The Barcelona Market Trails invite you to discover the city’s food markets from a different angle.

You can complete your visit to Barcelona with a wide range of wine tourism experiences, including cookery courses, gastronomic and wine tourism trails, courses and tastings, tours of the region’s wineries, museums and interpretation centres, among other activities.

Monuments

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If architecture attracts you, you’ll find Roman ruins, medieval buildings, and above all, ‘modernisme’, the home-grown art nouveau style that is most emblematic of the city.

Barcelona has nine buildings listed as World Heritage sites, as well as the best that cutting-edge architecture has to offer.

‘Modernisme’, the Catalan equivalent of art nouveau or the modern style, spanned the late 19th and early 20th centuries and, in Barcelona, is most exemplified by the architecture and the applied arts. Most of the city’s ‘modernista’ buildings are located in the Quadrat d’Or, or Golden Square, a residential area located in the Eixample district, which marked the beginning of the city’s expansion from 1860 onwards.

A walk through its main streets and avenues enables you to admire the palazzos and dwellings which were the former homes of the bourgeoisie.

Barcelona is the capital of ‘modernisme’ and has brought the world some of the finest architects of all time, including Puig i Cadafalch – who designed such eyecatching buildings as the Casa Amatller – and Domènech i Montaner – to whom we owe the Sant Pau Recinte Modernista and the Palau de la Música Catalana.

Nevertheless, the person who has earned the city the greatest international fame and renown is Antoni Gaudí, the creator of some of its major landmark buildings which are known around the world.

The Passeig de Gràcia features two of Gaudí’s most extraordinary buildings: the Casa Batlló, with its whimsical forms clad in multi-colored ceramic tiles, and the Casa Milà, known locally as La Pedrera, with its impressive façade crowned by curious chimneys. A few blocks across, on the righthand side of the Eixample, stands the Sagrada Família, the quintessential Gaudí work, which is still under construction and the showcase for the architect’s genius.

The Park Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Bellesguard and Casa Vicens are some of the other architectural landmarks which explain why Barcelona is known as the city of Gaudí.

Museums

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Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró Salvador Dalí and Antoni Tàpies are just some of the artists who lived and worked in the city. The city’s museus contain many examples of their Works.

MNAC (Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya)
It showcases Europe’s most important collection of Romanesque frescoes as well as outstanding examples of Gothic painting and sculpture from Catalonia, and Catalan art to the early 20th century to the present day.

Museu Picasso
Pablo Picasso trained in Barcelona and the city is home to one of the finest collections of paintings and drawings from his youth, as well as important later works.

Fundació Miró
Joan Miró, the world-renowned Barcelona-born artist and one of the leading figures of the surrealista moviment, bequeathed this Foundation and study center to his home town. The Fundació Miró boasts magnificent views of the city and is surrounded by trees and sculptures.

Fundació Antoni Tàpies
Housed in a brick and metal modernista building, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies showcases the finest collection of works by the Barcelona-born artist, including paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints.

Restaurants

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Michelin-starred restaurants, prestigious chefs, innovative tapas and the most traditional Catalan dishes. Barcelona has established itself as an extraordinary culinary treasure trove of the finest quality. Tantalise your taste buds and savour the best cuisine at Barcelona’s finest restaurants, where the cutting-edge and traditional go hand in hand to offer you world-renowned, varied cuisine. For gourmets only!

There’s nothing better in Barcelona than sipping on vermouth and nibbling on tapas with your family or friends, or fer el vermut as the locals call it. It’s become a ritual, an essential part of life here in the Catalan capital.

La hora del vermut – the time for vermouth – starts around midday and is traditionally enjoyed as a pre-lunch aperitif. In recent years the tradition of gathering with friends to share an afternoon aperitif, and the usual side dishes, has garnered a new generation of devotees.

Shopping

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The image of a city is reflected in its shop windows. In Barcelona, this reflection captures the essence of a city that combines cutting-edge ideas and design with quality and tradition.

The Catalan capital, with its vast array of stores and products, is the perfect place for shopping. Its urban layout makes it a wonderful place for a stroll while you enjoy attractive, historic surroundings.

Every Barcelona neighborhood has a retail area where you’ll find modern stores alongside traditional, time-honored establishments.

Barcelona is home to one of Europe’s biggest open-air shopping areas, the Barcelona Shopping Line. A major retail showcase covering an area of 5 km which connects different pedestrianised zones in the city where shops share centre stage with their architectural surroundings.

It begins on La Rambla, the city's busiest, most colourful boulevard. On its right, La Ribera, with its medieval layout and fashionable shops and studios that lend it a cutting-edge ambiance. This is particularly true of El Born, which dates back more than 2,000 years and has become a place of contrasts where history, culture and innovative shops coexist, most of them run by independent designers.

You’ll find the most historic, charming and vibrant shops in the Gothic Quarter and Plaça de Catalunya, the heart of the city, along with department stores. As you walk up Passeig de Gràcia you’ll come to the Eixample district where the world’s most prestigious brands are housed in iconic modernista buildings. And we’ll end at the business and shopping districts along the Avinguda Diagonal, which brings together leading brands from Spain and around the world as well as large shopping malls.

Sports

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Throughout its history, Barcelona has been known as a pioneer in many fields, including sport. At the end of the 19th century, many sports were introduced for the first time to Spain. Today, Barcelona is known for its sports clubs, some of them more than a hundred years old, whose victories all over the world are part of the finest moments in the city’s history.

Futbol Club Barcelona – known as Barça – and the Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol have brought Barcelona’s name worldwide renown. The Barça stadium Camp Nou, is home to a museum which traces the history of the club, replete with victories and prizes.

The 1992 Olympic Games were a resounding success in terms of organization and participation and made a decisive contribution to raising Barcelona’s profil·le worldwide and putting the city in a distinguished position as the host of many major sporting events.

Throughout the year, Barcelona hosts a number of international sporting events. The Conde de Godó Tennis Trophy, the World Formula 1 Championship, the Motorcycle Grand Prix and sailing regattas, are some of the top-class sporting events held in the city.

Furthermore, one of the events which gives ample proof of the sporting spirit and active involvement of the people of Barcelona in events taking place in the city is the Barcelona Marathon, which attracts a large number of participants every year.

Visitors will find ten internationally recognized golf courses just under an hour’s drive from Barcelona, with quick and convenient connections with the port and airport.

What kind of vacation would you like to take?