One of my favourite cities on the planet, and a mere two-hour flight from the UK, a weekend trip to Barcelona should definitely be on your to-do list if European travel is your thing. I recently spent a few days in the Catalan capital and below are a few things that should definitely be on your to-do and to-see list…
You simply can’t go to Barcelona without a trip to Sagrada Família. Gaudi’s unfinished symphony is the Buckingham Palace of Barcelona. While you won’t find this church occupied by any royals, it draws in the crowds from dusk ‘til dawn and for good reason. If you can see past the scaffolding, or get a ticket to go inside, it is well worth a quick visit. There’s not that much to see or do in the immediate area, so this is a trip to be taken with an escape route in mind.
The Gothic Quarter
While Las Ramblas may steal all of the limelight with its imposing architecture and busy crowds, there is plenty more to see and do in the Gothic Quarter. The narrow, winding streets deserve a few hours of your time; there are plenty of restaurants, shops and bars nestled within the labyrinth of cobbled walkways, interrupted by the occasional plaça (or square) that is often occupied by the locals. The best time to head there is in the late afternoon; not only will you miss the crowds and the heat, the 4pm light that pours through the alleyways is absolutely beautiful.
Barceloneta and the Beach
Barceloneta is a neighbourhood of Barcelona which is all about the connection with the sea. While you won’t find the architecture of the Gothic Quarter here, it has a certain charm to it and is definitely worth navigating if you enjoy seafood and plan on making you way to the beach. If sand isn’t your thing, a few blocks over is the Marina at Port Vell; a sunset catamaran trip is a great way to welcome in the evening and provides a unique view of this incredible city.