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Holidays in Barcelona

Stretches of sandy beaches, unrivalled Spanish nightlife, and rich Catalonian culture make Barcelona a longstanding holiday favourite. Escape to Barcelona and enjoy the expansive city views from atop Parc Guell and Montjuïc, wander down the colourful Las Ramblas or visit Gaudi's Sagrada Familia. 

Between the vibrant nightlife, stunning architecture and the delicious food on offer, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy on a holiday to Barcelona, in the heart of Catalonia.

Tasty tapas and stellar seafood

A quick bite in a tapas bar is the ideal way to pass the time until your evening dinner. And, you’ll find they’re very sociable places. However, the locals in Barcelona are quite fond of their own Catalan cuisine, so you’re more likely to find a traditional three-course meal. Barcelona is especially good for its seafood; we like El Suquet de l'Almirall for a top class dining experience – definitely try the cod fritters. The city is also proud to have over 20 different Michelin-starred restaurants, so you can indulge in style.

Buzzing nightlife

You’re sure to love the energy and excitement in Barcelona as it comes to life in the evenings. Head to La Rambla Boulevard, where street performers are ready to wow the crowds. As a bonus, there’s also an abundance of affordable bars in the streets nearby. If you’re looking to party, then a cheap holiday to Barcelona won’t disappoint as there are a range of club nights on offer; Razzmatazz is one of the biggest and best clubs in the city, playing a huge variety of music as well as hosting live performances. Most clubs won’t open their doors until 1am, so get ready to party through the night.

Exquisite architecture

Barcelona is renowned as a showcase for the work of its best loved architect, Antoni Gaudi. His magnum opus, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, shapes the Barcelona skyline with its striking towers and intricate facades. Go on a tour of Parc Güell and take in the vibrant mosaics while wandering around this beautiful garden. Stop by Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera (the quarry) to the locals because of its unusual, uneven stone surface. Be sure to head up to the rooftop terrace, where the chimney pots are styled like knights, in Gaudi’s unique fashion.

Catalan Culture

Get the most out of your holiday to Barcelona and immerse yourself in its culture. Visit the Picasso Museum for a comprehensive collection including some of the artist’s best works, or check out the Maritime Museum and experience life on a royal galley. Treat yourself at the Museum of Chocolate and admire the variety of displays crafted from chocolate. The artistically inclined will enjoy the Caixaforum art gallery, housed in a fantastic modernista building and home to a vast collection from ancient to contemporary artwork.

Things to do in Barcelona

Between the vibrant nightlife, stunning architecture and the delicious food on offer, you’re sure to find something you’ll enjoy on a holiday to Barcelona, in the heart of Catalonia.

  • Take a Gaudi tour - Antonio Gaudi is one of the most famous European architects of all, and his outlandish, surreal structures are dotted across Barcelona. From the one-of-a-kind weirdness of the Sagrada Familia, to the oddities in Parc Guell, you won't have seen architecture anything like this. 
  • Visit the 1992 Olympic Park - Perched on the hill of Montjuic above the ancient port, the 1992 Olympic site is full of things to do. You can see the Olympic Stadium, check out the fortress and its gardens, and browse artistic delights at the Fundació Joan Miró or the Museu d'Art de Catalunya. 
  • Watch an FC Barcelona match - 5 times winners of the Champions League, and Spanish champions on 25 occasions, FC Barcelona has a cult following across the world. During holidays in Barcelona football fans can watch Leo Messi and co show off their unbelievable skills, and simply soak up the atmosphere of the Camp Nou on match-day.
  • Stroll down Las Ramblas - Barcelona's most famous street, Las Ramblas is lined with street vendors selling everything from confectionery to live birds. Watch street performers juggle, dance, strum guitars, and perform puppet shows, before catching a show at the Liceu Theatre, or ducking into the Barrio Gotico for a bite to eat.

Top sights in Barcelona

  • The Picasso Museum - Tucked away on Carrer Montcada in the old town, the Picasso Museum houses over 4,000 works by one of the greatest painters of all time, including his Las Meninas series and plenty of works from the early Blue Period. Unmissable for art lovers.
  • Tibidabo - Situated on the hillsides above Barcelona, Tibidabo hosts a huge funfair with Ferris wheels and rollercoasters, along with the beautiful Temple de Sagrat Cor. But the views are the star attraction. Perched 500 metres above the Mediterranean, the park offers an incredible vantage point to see the city as a whole.
  • Sagrada Familia - Barcelona's cathedral remains a work in progress, and has been since 1882. When you visit, you'll see why. Few buildings are as ambitious and intricate as Gaudi's masterpiece. Love it or hate it, the Sagrada Familia always makes an impression, as do the views from the vantage point - a great place to take Insta-ready snaps of the city centre.

Best time of the year to visit Barcelona

Visit in spring and early autumn for mild weather and relatively few crowds. April and May are good months to book a trip to Barcelona, although September and October run them close. Mid-summer is hot - too hot for some - but the Costa Brava offers an escape hatch for beach lovers. If you want to catch some football, any time from September to May would work. And Christmas is a fun time to visit, too, with the festive Fira da Santa Lucia market and seasonal attractions like the La Fonda ice rink.

How to get to Barcelona

The best way for visitors from the UK to reach Barcelona is by air. Flights travel to El Prat Airport from Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Southend, Newcastle, Manchester, Bristol, Liverpool, Cardiff, East Midlands and Glasgow. Flight times are around 2 hours, so it's an easy trip. If you want to cut your emissions or enjoy the ride, you can book trains via Paris, while while cheap Barcelona holidays can be enjoyed via long haul buses. Before you reach your destination, remember that Spain is 1 hour ahead of the UK, so set your watch accordingly.

Barcelona is known for

When you think about culture-themed holidays Barcelona instantly springs to mind. The city is famous for its architecture, from the 19th century elegance of Poble Sec, to Gaudi's creations, and modern masterpieces like the Agbar Tower. It's an artistic hub, celebrating local heroes like Miro and Picasso, as well as a sporting destination - primarily due to the heroics of FC Barcelona. Food is another highlight, so don't miss specialities like bombas (filled potato croquettes), or escalivada (grilled vegetable sandwiches). And music is a local obsession, with major events like the Primavera indie festival and Sonar, which caters to the a techno and dance crowd.

Exquisite architecture

Barcelona is renowned as a showcase for the work of its best loved architect, Antoni Gaudi. His magnum opus, the still unfinished Sagrada Familia, shapes the Barcelona skyline with its striking towers and intricate facades. Go on a tour of Parc Güell and take in the vibrant mosaics while wandering around this beautiful garden. Stop by Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera (the quarry) to the locals because of its unusual, uneven stone surface. Be sure to head up to the rooftop terrace, where the chimney pots are styled like knights, in Gaudi’s unique fashion.

Buzzing nightlife

You’re sure to love the energy and excitement in Barcelona as it comes to life in the evenings. Head to La Rambla Boulevard, where street performers are ready to wow the crowds. As a bonus, there’s also an abundance of affordable bars in the streets nearby. If you’re looking to party, then acheap holiday to Barcelona won’t disappoint as there are a range of club nights on offer; Razzmatazz is one of the biggest and best clubs in the city, playing a huge variety of music as well as hosting live performances. Most clubs won’t open their doors until 1am, so get ready to party through the night. 

Catalan Culture

Get the most out of your holiday to Barcelona and immerse yourself in its culture. Visit the Picasso Museum for a comprehensive collection including some of the artist’s best works, or check out the Maritime Museum and experience life on a royal galley. Treat yourself at the Museum of Chocolate and admire the variety of displays crafted from chocolate. The artistically inclined will enjoy the Caixaforum art gallery, housed in a fantastic modernista building and home to a vast collection from ancient to contemporary artwork.

Tasty tapas and stellar seafood

A quick bite in a tapas bar is the ideal way to pass the time until your evening dinner. And, you’ll find they’re very sociable places. However, the locals in Barcelona are quite fond of their own Catalan cuisine, so you’re more likely to find a traditional three-course meal. Barcelona is especially good for its seafood; we like El Suquet de l'Almirall for a top class dining experience – definitely try the cod fritters. The city is also proud to have over 20 different Michelin-starred restaurants, so you can indulge in style.