Like many Spanish resorts, most people associate Barcelona with sun, sand and sangria, but this is far from the complete picture of a city that is rich in culture and year round sightseeing.
Barcelona benefits from a climate that sees hot summers and comparatively mild winters. But although Barcelona is a good beach destination, terms like “beaches” and “sunbathing” undervalue this amazing city.
To see the real Barcelona you need to leave the beach resorts and the seafront areas behind and explore the city that sits beyond these sun worshiping zones.
If you do this you will not be disappointed and you will experience a city that has something to see and do twelve months of the year.
What to see and do in Barcelona
Barcelona is one of Spain’s most culturally rich metropolises with masses of museums and galleries. These galleries range from the Caixa Forum and the Museum of Contemporary Art, to the Barcelona Football Club Museum.
For anyone with an interest in architecture or buildings, Barcelona will be associated with Antonio Gaudi and the modernist architectural movement that he pioneered.
Gaudi is a monumental figure in Barcelona and his breathtaking buildings can be found all over the city. These buildings stand out because of their unique designs, designs that saw Gaudi redefine structural beauty on his own terms.
Many are aware of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia cathedral, but a number of his other buildings like Casa Milla and Casa Batllo are as good, if not better.
Away from the modernist buildings, Barcelona has its fair share of narrow atmospheric streets, rustic stone houses and palatial mansions. This is a city with a bit of everything and something for everyone.
Barcelona’s catalaunian attributes continue with its parks and open spaces and these range from the city centre Plaza de Cataluna, to the city’s three main “green” parks of Guell, Montjuic and la Ciutadella.
These parks are truly outstanding in their scale and beauty and each has a different character. Parc Guell is Gaudi inspired and features many of his characteristic trademarks, whilst Ciutadella is a central city park with fountains, a lake and a zoo.
When it comes to shopping, Barcelona has chic boutiques like Zara and Mango plus many trinket and keep-sake shops to keep the tourists happy.
There is a massive Corte Ingles department store, the famous las Ramblas and the spectacular Mercat Boqueria. You will also see large shopping complexes like el Triangle and Maremagnum.
Barcelona has an active nightlife around the city centre and marina areas. Here you will find everything from bars and traditional Flamenco shows, to Jazz clubs, blues clubs and alternative music bars that cover almost every genre of music.
Eating out is always a pleasure in Barcelona and, during the evenings, the menus and atmosphere of most restaurants change from the informality of lunch time. Fish and seafood dishes tend to be the big favourites, but it is Barcelona’s tapas bars that offer the most varied dining experience of all. These tapas bars serve up a huge variety of snack sized dishes and you can eat as much, or as little, as you want.