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Lisa Mackinnon, Senior Short 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 multicultural 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
  • Beaches

Getting around

Whether you want to visit old or new, Barcelona is easy to navigate with an efficient subway, train and bus network. However, exploring the city by foot is effortless.

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

Shopping in Barcelona

There are two main streets for shopping, these are the Passeig de Gracia and Portal del Angel and they both begin at the famous Placa de Catalunya. The Passeig de Gracia is created for luxurious shopping, here you will find Chanel, Rolex, Swarovski, Burberry and Gucci. The Portal del Angel is the place to be for popular high street brands such as Pull & Bear, Zara, H&M, Mango and Bershka. There are also plenty of malls if you’re seeking to do some indoor shopping, there is the Diagonal Mar which is not far from the famous Mar Bella beach, the Centro Comercial Glories and Las Arenas Shopping Centre.

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 UK 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

Picasso Walking Tour

Discover Picasso’s Barcelona, including the Sala Parès where Picasso exhibited his paintings, La Llotja where the young Picasso studied, and the famous El Quatre Gats restaurant frequented by the artist and his friends. The tour ends on the medieval Carrer Montcada at the Picasso Museum where you can view the world’s most important Picasso collection.    

Gaudi's Modernist Legacy

Antoni Gaudi is Barcelona's best known architect and his works are scattered throughout the city. On this private walking tour you will discover some of his most famous masterpieces including La Pedrera and Casa Batllo on the elegant Passeig de Gracia. You will also stroll through the Eixample District where you can see other examples of the modernist movement before ending the tour at the magnificent Sagrada Familia (Entrance is not included).

Tapas & Culture Walking Tour

Eat your way around Barcelona, combining gourmet food and Catalan culture. Head down Las Ramblas to La Boqueria, Barcelona’s famous food market where you can try local hams and cheese.  Carry on through the Gothic and El Born districts, stopping at authentic bodegas along the way to sample some tapas washed down with a drink or two!  Your guide will give you insights into the history of the district and the origins of the dishes you sample. 

Sagrada Familia

Enjoy this iconic UNESCO World Heritage-listed cathedral with an experienced guide. Admire the stunning architecture and learn more about its creator, Antoni Gaudi. You will discover the history behind the awe inspiring interior, rich in symbolism inspired by nature. At the end of the tour you are free to stay and visit the museum at leisure

Montserrat Half-Day Tour with Tapas and Wine

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. Learn more about the area from your guide as you tour the atrium and the Basilica. Continue to Oller de Mas, a 10th-century castle now home to a successful winery. Enjoy a guided tour followed by wine tasting and a selection of tapas.

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.