BARCELONA IS NESTLED SNUGLY between pine-clad hills and the twinkling embrace of the Mediterranean Sea.
Along its boulevards stand numerous Gaudí buildings and UNESCO World Heritage Sites, exclusive shops, and eateries serving up some of the country’s most cutting-edge gastronomy. Tucked between the remnants of Barcelona’s time-worn Roman walls are clubs and concert halls offering a buzzing nightlife scene. A sunny temperate climate, in addition to a packed year-round calendar of festivals and events, keeps visitors returning.
Stroll the boardwalk from La Barceloneta beach to Nova Icària beach to glimpse Frank Gehry’s glittering fish sculpture, which splashes out from the base of Hotel Arts.
Arrive at La Boqueria, the city’s most famous market, as it opens for business. Find creamy Spanish cheeses, olive oil, pyramids of fruit, seafood, and delicate chocolate bonbons.
Order a traditional Spanish breakfast at La Pallaresa: Granja & Xocolateria, just off La Rambla. A plate of deep-fried xurros and a hot chocolate will get your day off to a sweet start.
Be wowed by La Sagrada Família, the most impressive Gaudí building in Barcelona. Begun in 1882, it’s still under construction, but visitors can tour its interior and model museum.
Lunch is the most important meal of the day in Spain and the best time to try paella.Beachside Barraca offers an ample selection of paellas and tapas plus vistas over the water.
Wander past Roman ruins and medieval homes in the labyrinth-like Gothic Quarter. Stop into the Barcelona City History Museum (MUHBA) on Plaça del Rei to walk Roman lanes from the 1st century BCE.
Peruse the many boutiques along Passeig de Gràcia, Barcelona’s high-end shopping strip, and stop to admire Casa Batlló and La Pedrera – two Gaudí buildings on the same boulevard.
Book a table in advance for dinner at Tickets, the city’s most avant-garde tapas restaurant, run by local resident and international celebrity chef Albert Adrià.
Catch a show at Jamboree jazz club on the historic Plaça Reial right off La Rambla. The venue showcases local and international musicians with concerts every night of the week.
Barcelona’s metro system is fast, safe, and easy to navigate. All major sites, such as Passeig de Gràcia, La Rambla, and La Sagrada Família have nearby stops.
Readily available in the city centre and a fast option outside of rush hour. All taxis run on meters.
A bus leaving from Plaça de Catalunya throughout the day gives a complete tour of the city, including the Montjuïc hillside and Futbol Club Barcelona Camp Nou, two places not easily reached by public transport.