Top Things to do in Barcelona

By Michelle Connolly Thursday 16th Feb, 2017

Barcelona is one of Europe’s most vibrant, exciting cities. An enchanting seaside hub with boundless culture, fabled architecture, and a world-class drinking and dining scene, there’s something for everyone to explore.

Stay at…

The Wittmore. The ideal spot for a dapper stay, the interiors of this elegant hotel are reminiscent of a Mayfair style club, with grown-up furniture, blazing fires, heaving bookshelves and a Sinatra style soundtrack. Grab a freshener on the rooftop terrace in the summer or enjoy a decadent meal from celebrated Catalan chef Albert Ventura. This is definitely a hotel you’ll have to drag yourself out of if you want to enjoy the rest of the city’s delights.

Eat at…

The masters of molecular gastronomy – Albert Adrià, Carles Abellan et al – are part of the long and celebrated tradition of Catalan cooking. Simple, flavourful ingredients – seafood, jamón (cured ham), market-fresh produce – are transformed into remarkable delicacies and then served up in captivating settings. Basque-style tapas bars, Galician seafood taverns, avant-garde Japanese restaurants and sinful chocolate shops are all essential parts of the culinary landscape. Our pick is the newly opened La Barra for some truly exciting tapas.

Go out in…

Start with sunset drinks from a panoramic terrace or dig your heels in the sand at a rustic beachside chiringuito. As darkness falls, live music transforms the city: the rapid-fire rhythms of flamenco, brassy jazz spilling out of basements, and indie-rock at vintage concert halls. Take your pick from old-school taverns adorned with 19th-century murals, plush lounges in lamp-lit medieval chambers or boisterous cava bars. If you’re still standing at 3am, hit the clubs and explore Barcelona’s wild side. Our pick? Moog near Palau Güell is a hit any night of the week.

 See the…

Relish strolling the cobblestone lanes of the Gothic quarter, and take in the curves of the buildings. An unusual blend of gothic and more modern structures, tranquil plazas and soaring 14th-century cathedrals. Towering temple columns, ancient city walls and subterranean stone corridors provide a window into Roman-era Barcino. In other parts of town bloom the sculptural masterpieces of Modernisme, a mix of ingenious and whimsical creations by Gaudí and his Catalan architectural contemporaries, for which this city is so well known. Barcelona has also long inspired artists, including the likes of Salvador Dalí, Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, whose works are in bold display in the city’s myriad museums.

Visit the…

Park Güell. One of the ‘must see’ places in Barcelona, it’s where Gaudí created his landscape of masterpieces overlooking the entire city in spectacular fashion. The trip is worth the walk, with Hansel-and-Gretel gatehouses to greet you, and majestic mosaics at every turn. Intelligent, nuanced elements like the Banc de Trencadís, whose curves capture rainwater and filter it through to an underground reservoir. Think smart and book a ticket ahead of time to avoid the crowds.

 Don’t miss…

Make sure not to miss the immense Sagrada Famìlia, the awe-inspiring masterpiece of Antoni Gaudì. Still under construction – due to finish somewhere around 2040 – this is the most visited monument in Spain, but don’t let that put you off. Inside you can climb high up into the four towers, and the attention to detail never wanes. Asked why he spent so long designing each spire so delicately when people couldn’t see it, Gaudì replied “The angels will see them”. And so should you.

 Try out…

Something a little un-touristy. Sun-drenched beaches make a fine backdrop to a jog, bike ride or long leisurely stroll along the seaside – followed by a refreshing dip, of course. You can also enjoy the view from out on the water while kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or taking it easy on a sunset cruise.

Looming behind the city, the rolling forest-covered Collserola Hills provide a scenic setting for hiking, mountain biking or just admiring the view. Closer to the city centre, hilltop Montjuïc offers endless exploring amid botanic and sculpture gardens, an old castle and first-rate museums with panoramic views at every turn.

Whatever you do in Barcelona, you’re sure to do it well. We’d like to thank Avis Car Hire, the easiest way to get around when you get away.