A city transformed by the Olympics, Barcelona is the Catalan capital with outstanding music, architecture, food and sporting experiences.
When the world’s biggest sporting event rolled into Barcelona in 1992, the city changed forever. Buoyed by the influx of interest and investment that the Games brought, the city’s urban landscape was transformed and placed firmly on the world stage. The Catalan capital has gone on to become one of Europe’s top city break destinations. An astonishing eight million people flock to Barcelona every year to enjoy the fabled architecture, world-class food and drink, vibrant cultural scene and good weather.
For Brits who crave a beach holiday, Barcelona has its very own but is also within easy access of the Costa Brava to the north and the upscale Sitges to the south.
Get to know the neighbourhoods
Barcelona is not simply one city, but rather a collection of 10 districts and 73 neighbourhoods, each with its own distinctive personality, history, customs and festivals.
Other Districts The district north-west of Ciutat Vella, Eixample is home to many public squares, wide avenues and upmarket shops, hotels and restaurants. Further away from the city centre, Gràcia is a charming alternative.
Festivals and events
Fiesta! Why not plan your trip to coincide with one of the major festivals in Barcelona? Some of Europe’s biggest music festivals take place in or close to the city, while a range of arts and film festivals draws visitors from across the world. There always seems to be a party going on somewhere in a city neighbourhood.
Top Gaudí sights
Sagrada Familia: The best-known of all Antoni Gaudí’s architecture, the epic Sagrada Familia remains unfinished 135 years after work began. But that doesn’t stop tourists descending on the incredible church to get a closer look at its truly unique architecture. If you’re planning a visit, there’s lots of information to know about tickets and what to expect, so be sure to check out our complete guide.
Park Güell: Inspired by the English garden city movement, Parc Güell was originally designed by Antoni Gaudí as a housing project but is now a popular park overlooking the city. Some areas are free to roam while the Monumental Precinct now requires an entrance fee (and usually a long wait).
A football holiday
British football fans travel to the Camp Nou throughout the season to visit the club’s museum, tour the stadium, or to see some of the biggest names in world sport in person. We’ve pulled together all the information you need to help you plan an FC Barcelona football holiday, for you or the football-mad person in your life.
Beaches in Barcelona
While not known for its beaches, Barcelona actually has more than 2.5 miles of golden sandy beaches just minutes from the city proper. Barceloneta can get quite busy during the summer months as it’s the closest beach to the Old Town, while Icària and Mar Bella are quieter choices. Many locals head south to the many beaches of Sitges for a quieter experience.
Easy day trips
Catalonia is about so much more than one city. Beyond Barcelona, you’ll find it easier to identify and understand the unique culture of the region. Many beach resorts are within an easy drive of the city. Choose between glamorous Sitges to the south (which is easy to reach by train) or one of the many resorts of the Costa Brava to the north. Historic Tarragona is known for its seaside Roman amphitheatre, while the Benedictine Monk retreat at Montserrat is a highlight for many tourists.
Where to stay
With up to 8 million tourists visiting the city every year, accommodation is many and varied. You can choose anything from a simple hostel bed in the suburbs to five-star luxury in the heart of the Old Town. Booking in advance is advisable for getting the best value rates. Check out our guide to the best hotels in Barcelona.
How to get to Barcelona
Barcelona is one of the easiest European destinations to reach from the UK. Options include flying, driving, sailing and even taking the train. Read our full guide on how to travel to Barcelona from the UK to find the best option for you and your circumstances.
Getting around Barcelona
With a permanent population of 1.6 million and more than 8 million visitors every year, Barcelona needs a solid public transport system. And that’s exactly what it has!