Cultured yet trendy, Barcelona is one of Europe’s great cities. The Mediterranean Sea is just minutes from the center, its streets are filled with Modernist and Gothic treasures and the food is simply divine. Shop in bustling markets, take a stroll through the old city, stay up late and party with the locals and visit one of the city’s many world-class museums and galleries.
Be wowed by Barcelona’s eye-catching collection of architecture. Start in La Rambla, the famous tree-lined pedestrian street, which features flower stalls, sidewalk cafés, creative buskers and interesting shops, before delving in to the labyrinthine alleys of the Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). Among the 14th-century buildings sit treasures such as the spectacular Santa Maria del Mar Church and the grand Barcelona Cathedral, where gargoyles peer down from the ornate façade.
Spend some time in the Museu d'Història de Barcelona. Its exhibits bring to life the city’s long history. The impressive building is located on Plaça del Rei, where concerts are often held.
It is impossible not to notice the artistry visible in Barcelona’s public spaces. Gaudí, Picasso and Miró have left their indelible marks on the Catalan capital in monuments including the fantastical twisting turrets of La Sagrada Familia cathedral and the fantastical modernist sculptures and mosaics adorning Park Güell. Barcelona-born Joan Miró is honored in the Fundació Joan Miró while Picasso’s works are on display at the Museu Picasso.
To enjoy Barcelona’s nightlife like a true local, don’t even consider going out until midnight. Start with a late dinner in one of the city’s fabulous restaurants. Opt for acclaimed Michelin-starred restaurants or venture into El Born to find tiny tapas bars heaving with hip locals. Discover everything from jazz venues to nightclubs pumping out techno, or sip cocktails in alfrescobars.
Barcelona is one of Europe’s aviation hubs and welcomes flights from around the world. Explore the city on foot to really soak up the architecture and get to know the locals. Among the best places to people-watch are at the city’s busy markets such as La Boqueria.