Helen Perrin, City Break Specialist

"As you ramble down Las Ramblas, be sure to take a sidestep into La Boqueria food market. The amazing colours and scents of the fresh produce will assault your senses, and it’s the ideal spot to people watch, as tourists mingle with locals selecting ingredients for that night’s dinner! It’s the perfect place to pick up a picnic, which you can then enjoy down at La Barceloneta beach or in Parque de la Ciudadela, Barcelona’s green lung, both about a 20 minute stroll away."

Barcelona at a glance

Barcelona is a feast for the senses. The vibrant and beautiful capital of Catalonia has a distinctly Mediterranean feel with a style and energy that is hard to beat. Originally founded as a Roman city, Barcelona was invaded and occupied by a variety of nations which no doubt shaped the landscape into the multi-cultural centre it is today. With the second largest population in Spain, Barcelona’s dynamic, cosmopolitan atmosphere continues to attract visitors worldwide.

The city’s most popular attractions can be found in the Ciutat Vella (Old City) where medieval structures arc skyward in striking contrast to the Ciutat Vella, with its 19th century, Modernist buildings. Barcelona is known for its extraordinary architecture, the most spectacular of which is courtesy of its famous son Antoni Gaudí.

Explore the city's many boardwalks and esplanades, guiding you to some of the most popular beaches of the world. With over 4 kilometres of golden sand to enjoy, every beach in Barcelona has its own unique flair, from sand artists and seafood eateries to American-style restaurants, volleyball courts and windsurfing. But sun worshippers are not to be disappointed when the sun goes down. At night the city comes alive, with each district offering a huge selection of trendy nightclubs and eclectic bars to suit every taste and budget.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Gothic and Modernist Architecture
  • Vibrant Nightlife
  • Modern Art galleries
  • A day or two on the beach

Getting around

Whether you want to visit old or new, Barcelona is easy to navigate with an efficient subway, train and bus network.

Dining in Barcelona

A variety of international cuisine exists in Barcelona. Although tapas is not native to the area, it can be found at many restaurants, as can standard fish based dishes such as paella. Alfresco dining is popular in good weather, with many terraced restaurants offering sea views.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Botifarra (sausages)
  • Arròs a la catalana (Catalan Paella)
  • Crema Catalana

Osprey Holidays top tips

If you get the chance, visit Gaudi’s Parc Guell on a weekday and avoid the crowds.

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Barcelona designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Barcelona hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 1,620,943
Languages Catalan, Castillian
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

La Boqueria market on Las Ramblas, with its huge array of colourful food stalls, is the place for extra special picnic ingredients.

Distance from airports
El Prat 14 km
Railway stations
Barcelona Sants Station

Things to do in Barcelona

  • La Sagrada Familia: Antoni Gaudí’s magnificent unfinished cathedral dominates the skyline and will take your breath away.
  • Parc Güell: Gaudí’s unique park is a riot of colour and quirkiness and has one of the best views of the city.
  • Picasso Museum: Barcelona’s most-visited museum is a fascinating insight into the life and work of Picasso housed in a beautiful medieval mansion.
  • Las Ramblas: a stroll down Las Ramblas is essential for visitors, to see Barcelona life in all its vitality.
  • Barrio Gotic: Explore the oldest part of the city, just off Las Ramblas, with its winding streets and alleys.
  • Joan Miró Foundation: an unforgettable experience, the gallery houses many of Miró’s best works.
  • Casa Batlló: an incredible and fantastical residence designed by Gaudí at his hallucinogenic best.
  • La Catedral: a magnificent gothic building, with its main façade decorated with gargoyles and intricate stone sculptures.
  • Parc de Montjuïc: Site of the 1929 International Exposition and the 1992 Summer Olympics.
  • Font Màgica de Montjuïc: there are free daily light and music shows at the impressive illuminated ‘Magic Fountain’ of Montjuïc.

Tours and Excursions

Antoni Gaudi

Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona's best known architect and his works are scattered throughout the city, from the lamp posts of Placa Reial to his masterpiece, the Church of the Sagrada Familia. His stunning architecture was influenced by nature and religion, and is recognised for its organic geometric forms and intricate detailing. He began work on the Sagrada Familia in 1883 and construction was barely started at the time of his death in 1926. Building work continues to this day based on Gaudi's original plans. We offer a variety of tours that focus on his distinctive buildings, including The Best of Gaudi which includes a walking tour of Parc Guell, the outside of Sagrada Familia and Passeig de Gracia where Casa Mila 'La Pedrera' and Casa Batllo are found. You may also choose to add entrance and a guided tour inside Sagrada Familia or book Skip the Line entrance for Parc Guell. 

Montserrat

Montserrat is a rocky and dramatic mountain range located to the north west of Barcelona. It is part of Spain's first national park and home to Santa Maria de Montserrat, a Benedictine abbey perched on the mountainside. Visits to Montserrat include entrance to the abbey, an audiovisual exhibition and a tasting on traditional liquors.  

Dali, Figueras, Girona Day Trip

Two of the most interesting towns in Catalonia. Figueres was home to Surrealist, Salvador Dali, and provided inspiration for many of his works. A Surrealist object itself, and a must-see, the Teatro-Museo Dali is dedicated to his works and the artist is actually buried there in a crypt below the stage! Girona is full of character and history, with ancient fortifications, cathedrals, Gothic and Art Nouveau buildings. it also has one of the best preserved Jewish quarters in Europe.  The tour includes transport, services of a local guide, entrance to Teatro-Museo Dali, entrance to exhibition 'Dali Joies', guided walking tour in Girona.

Helicopter Tours

Feeling adventurous? Why not book a helicopter tour over Montserrat and Barcelona city centre, offering a different perspective on the sights and breathtaking views over the mountain range. Alternatively, tours go over the city and along the coast.

We would be happy to arrange an excursion for you. To discuss options with a member of our knowledgeable team or to book, please contact us on 0131 243 8098.