Barcelona

Barcelona

City break or beach holiday – you just can’t decide? Then Barcelona is what you’re looking for, because it has both!

Fitness & fun

An exciting city and sunny beaches, what more could you ask for? With the Mediterranean on the doorstep, you can lounge around on the beach, go for a walk or go running. Then a swim or a spot of windsurfing before finishing off the day in a beach bar – unless you’ve still got some energy! The palm lined promenade is perfect for skating. Barcelona’s skater society even organises proper tours on Friday nights with over a hundred skaters rolling through the city’s streets together.

With a bit of luck you can see the FC Barcelona players play a match in Europe’s biggest stadium. And even if you can’t, an interactive FC Barcelona Museum and a stadium tour through the dugouts and the pitch at the Nou Camp is worthwhile in its own right!

If you prefer to do a bit of sport yourself the Serra de Collserola mountains behind the city are great for mountain biking or hiking. Or you could climb up Barcelona’s “house mountain“, Montjuïc. Amongst other things you can find the Botanic Garden, the Olympics complex with the Estadi Olímpic Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium and the former main city cemetery, the Cementiri de Montjuïc. Art fans will also be interested in the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, the Catalan National Art Museum.

Good to know

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, one of 17 autonomous communities in Spain. These communities are characterised by the fact that they are allowed to make their own legislation. The Catalan people see themselves more like their own nation with their own history as opposed to as a part of Spain. Catalonia was incidentally the first region to ban the traditional Spanish bullfights and now hopes that the other communities will follow suit.

Peak season in Barcelona is of course summer. If you are not a fan of packed beaches it is advisable to travel at the end of spring even if it is still too cold to go swimming in the sea. After all, you can still visit the over 2,000 year old architectural treasures that can be found all over Barcelona.

Segways, the electric scooters for one person, are all the rage in the city and are ideal for anything you might want to do. If however you prefer to walk, don’t forget to pack some sturdy shoes for the cobbled streets! Beware of your valuables as well as Barcelona is known for pickpockets.

Art & culture

At the bottom of Montjuïc, which you can also get to the top of comfortably with the cable car, you can find the “magical” Font Màgica fountain. Built for the opening of the World Fair, around 2,000 litres of water have been flowing out of the 3,000 jets there accompanied by music and coloured lights to create an extraordinary spectacle since 1929.

Old city walls and underground passageways are just as common in Barcelona as the awe-inspiring churches from the Middle Ages, for example the Església de Santa Maria del Mar or the La Seu Cathedral in the Gothic Quarter. Antoni Gaudí was a famous artist and icon of modern architecture, who used curved lines, natural shapes and complex decorations in his creations. His most famous work and symbol of the city is the La Sagrada Família church.

Even over 80 years after his death it is still not finished, but nevertheless it draws vast crowds of tourists. No wonder! Anyone, who sees the sandcastle-like towers with their ornate spires, the countless pillars inside which seem literally to be ascending to heaven and the magical stained glass windows, feels like they have been transported to another world.

A few little facts

Gaudí’s Park Güell will also seem like a fairytale world to you. When building it he followed the hilly landscape, creating lots of twisting paths through the park, roofs that look like icing and lots of mosaics, his speciality. The dragon fountain and the huge wavy terrace area suspended on pillars are all finished in colourful mosaic tiles.

The futuristic Torre Agbar skyscraper is even more modern, designed to represent a plume of water. 40 different colours of paint were used, upon which a skin of tiny little glass slats were fitted. By angling the slats and with the different light shining on it depending on the time of day, the light reflexes change constantly, like in a jet of water. The building is lit up at nighttime and switches between fire red, purple and blue.

Because its viewing platform is unfortunately not open to the public you have to look elsewhere. There is a little secret tip to be found in the El Carmel district of the city: an old bunker, now covered in graffiti, offers a spectacular view of the city.

Local specialities

Catalan cuisine is considered one of the best in Europe and is celebrated by the locals with two meals. Breakfast is usually just a coffee and a croissant before lunch from 2 pm and dinner from 9 pm onwards. Fresh seafood, diverse tapas and unusual combinations of fish and meat are just as much a part of the varied cuisine as bread rubbed with garlic and tomato and drizzled with olive oil, the unofficial Catalan national dish.

The vegetarian community has also been growing for some time and is for example well catered for in the slightly bizarre, but lovely Cat Bar with their veggie burger creations. You can also satisfy your hunger meat-free in Juicy Jones with their sandwiches, salads, tapas and fresh juices, as the name suggests.

Shopping time

If afterwards you fancy a spot of shopping you are in the right place in Barcelona. Carrer de Sants, the longest shopping street in Europe, offers designer shops, whilst the unique Riera Baixa is the perfect place to search through the inviting second hand shops and then admire the gems that you have discovered over a coffee in one of the enchanting old cafes.

At the largest and oldest flea market in the city, the Mercat Del Encants, you can rummage through over 500 stands, or go and try some local delicacies at the Mercat de la Boqueria, where not just housewives, but also top chefs go to shop.

If at the end of your break you walk along La Rambla and look at the street artists and the people sat in the cafes on the edge of the boulevard that leads down to the sea, make sure you stop off at the Font de Canaletes drinking fountain. People say that anyone, who drinks from it will return to Barcelona. And you are bound to want to return after your amazing trip!