The ultimate city break, Barcelona has it all: tantalising food and drink, top-notch culture, great weather, buzzing nightlife, weird and wonderful architecture, and even city-centre beaches. It’s easy to get around, with an excellent, integrated public transport network, although using your own two feet to explore the atmospheric streets and waterfront is highly recommended.
We’ve created an itinerary for the perfect weekend in Barcelona so all you have to do is pack your bags and patiently wait for your holiday to begin!
Shake off your flight by plunging straight into the street life of Barcelona’s iconic thoroughfare. Head to Mercat de la Boqueria and wander through the stalls of one of Europe’s best markets, maybe rehydrating with a freshly squeezed juice. Then spend some time moseying around the atmospheric streets of the city’s Gothic Quarter – pop into La Seu, whose calm cloisters are a haven amidst the district’s bustle.
If you’re flagging from an early start, stop near the church of Santa María del Pi for a holiday-celebrating alfresco drink – well, it would be rude not to – and some market-fresh small plates at the original branch of Taller de Tapas.
You probably still want to stay in the open air and soak up the sun (hopefully). The beach, boardwalk and seafront promenade set the scene for a blissful sundowner. Stroll along the shoreline before finding a good seat for a refreshing drink.
Barcelonans eat late, in keeping with the rest of Spain. Freshen up at your hotel, boost your energy levels with a coffee and head out to the resurgent El Raval district, where many of the city’s hottest restaurants are located. Try Suculent for enticing bistro classics from up-and-coming star chef Toni Romero.
To avoid the worst of the bustling crowds, arrive at Gaudí’s masterpiece at opening time. Don’t forget to find the perfect spot for a selfie showcasing Barcelona’s most iconic building! After, take a casual urban architectural tour by strolling down the Passeig de Gràcia, Europe’s most visually-extraordinary main avenue, lined with fantastical buildings. Should you want a hit of retail therapy before getting stuck into the serious stuff, this street is also known for its high-end shopping.
Join the queue for a spot at Tapas 24, where Michelin-starred chef Carles Abellán gets back to basics with simple comfort food, ideal for fortifying you for a packed afternoon of art exploration.
The verdantly landscaped approach to Montjuïc culminates in the extraordinary Catalan National Art Gallery, or Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. After, head on to Fundació Joan Miró. This modernist building on Montjuïc houses the life’s work of Catalan artist Joan Miró. There’s also a lovely outdoor café where you can refuel, surrounded by artworks.
Fancy getting high? A thrilling cable car ride, which sweeps you across the inner harbour from Montjuïc to Port Vell. Then soak up marina or beach views with a drink in hand at an outdoor table in La Barceloneta, the old fisherman's quarter.
After cold beer and tapas in up-and-coming Sant Pere, dine in Catalan style at La Ribera’s Senyor Parellada. Stick around in El Born after for late-night drinks and lively happenings – this old part of town is known for its nightlife. Find an intriguing bar or two and join the party . If you can’t stay out late now, when can you?
After checking out of your hotel, there’s time to make one more art pit-stop. Take a walk through the tight-knit medieval streets of La Ribera to Museu Picasso, one of the city’s must-sees, aptly situated in the city where the master artist developed his inimitable style.
You can’t believe your weekend is nearly over. But there’s time for one last taste of the city – grab a casual bite at one of La Ribera or Barri Gòtic’s cafés. If you’ve got time before your flight, wander over to the city’s favourite park, Parc de la Ciutadella, and have a relaxing stroll around its palmhouses and gardens.
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