The famous stomping ground of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona is one of the world’s most captivating cities, a seaside gem adorned with fabled architecture, historic streets, world-class cuisine and a healthy nightlife scene. Vivaciously Catalan at heart, Barcelona is Spain’s second-largest city and offers a distinctly different flavour to the capital, Madrid. Here’s a guide to what you can squeeze into 24 hours.
8am Parc Guell
This whimsical hillside park is where nature interplays with the unique visions of Gaudí. One of the world’s most impressive man-made landscapes, wander the steps and winding paths to discover amazing buildings, eye-catching sculptures and no shortage of mesmerising mosaics within a verdant setting.
10am La Sagrada Familia
It’s the famous unfinished masterpiece of Gaudí that Barcelona is so famous for, a church still being pieced together to this day. Under construction since 1882 and Gaudí’s all-consuming obsession, the church is a medieval mammoth of detail, symbolism and undeniable vertical presence; its tallest spire will reach 170 metres.
A feast for the eyes, this is history in the making.
12pm Lunch in the Gothic Quarter
Stop for lunch in one of Barcelona’s most interesting areas, the Gothic Quarter. Full of tiny winding streets steeped in history, discover fascinating finds, from shops to peaceful squares and cathedrals. Wander for a while, then sit down to a meal at Plaça Reial – the bustling plaza is full of activity both day and night.
2.30pm Stroll Las Ramblas
Take a leisurely amble up the tree-lined pedestrian mall, Las Ramblas, which cuts through the heart of the city. Stretching over a kilometre, it’s vibrant and lively and offers fascinating insight into Catalan culture. As well as the nightlife spots, dining, hotels and shops, discover the Christopher Columbus monument, La Boqueria Food Market and a few other local attractions along the way.
4pm Visit Montjuic Castle
Perched 180 metres above Barcelona’s port, Montjuïc Castle offers amazing views over the city – the perfect way to top off the day, especially if you arrive in time for sunset. Admire the views, wander the surrounding gardens and visit the Magic Fountain, which took more than 3,000 workers to create. At night, a Magic Fountain Light Show brings the castle to life in a new way.
7.30pm Tapas and drinks
Spaniards don’t eat until late, with most restaurants opening around 9pm. So, sample a wonderful lineup of traditional tapas and drinks by the sea at La Barceloneta Beach. There’s no shortage of options, from relaxed and beachfront to fine dining.
Take advantage of the great seafood restaurants in the area while you’re by the beachfront. Restaurant Agua is our pick, for its cosy and fresh decor, great terrace looking over the sea and the casual, relaxed atmosphere.
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