How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Barcelona
A vibrant Mediterranean destination with over 2,000 years of history, Barcelona is a city like no other. From ancient ruins to experimental modern buildings, Barcelona has a truly unique cityscape. The city’s proximity to the sea lends itself well to its world-class cuisine, with delicacies like paella and seafood tapas to try. Barcelona has inspired artists like Pablo Picasso and Antoni Gaudí, making it a vivid and fascinating place to explore.
What to See in Barcelona
La Sagrada Família
The iconic, yet still incomplete church in the heart of the city, La Sagrada Família, is architect Gaudí’s most famous work. For over a century, construction has been in progress on this massive project. Currently, the cathedral is set to be completed by 2026, but construction began in 1882. Nevertheless, you can still visit the one-of-a-kind cathedral and marvel at its unbelievable intricacy and artistry. The price of your admission goes to finishing and maintaining this incredible masterpiece.
Another example of Gaudí’s influence in Barcelona, colourful Parc Güell overlooks the city from high on a hill. Originally intended as a housing development, the homes built in the park were meant to attract investors. When that never happened, Gaudí instead designed the public park you see today. However, he did live in a model home for years, which you can tour within the park. Parc Güell’s design invokes the irregularity and diversity of nature, which was a major inspiration for Gaudí. In fact, there are no straight lines in the park for this reason!
This museum located in Barcelona’s Gothic Quarter houses one of the largest collections of work by Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso. Here you’ll find over 4,200 of Picasso’s creations ranging from famous paintings to early illustrations and drafts. The museum details his life, evolution of his style, and long-standing relationship to the city of Barcelona. Jaume Sabartés, Picasso’s lifelong friend, initially commissioned a museum in Picasso’s honour to be opened in Barcelona. He also donated over 500 works from his personal collection given to him by Picasso to the museum.
A lovely green space in the city centre, Parc de la Ciutadella is a 70-acre park which includes the city zoo, the Palace of the Parliament of Catalan, and the Arc de Triomf. The Arc was originally built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair and remains one of the city’s most photogenic sites. Ciutadella Park is the perfect place for a midday stroll in the sun or even paddle-boat ride on the small lake within the park.
Where to Go in Barcelona
The most popular area in the city, La Rambla actually combines five different streets. The main strip of La Rambla is a pedestrian boulevard full of market stands, street performers, and pavement artists. It’s a bustling hub of Catalan culture, with theatres, distinct architecture, and restaurants and cafes lining the streets. Be sure to drink from the mythical water fountain, Les Canaletes on your visit to La Rambla. Legend has it that all those who drink the waters of Les Canaletes will return to Barcelona again one day.
The Gothic Quarter
As the centre of the old city, the Gothic Quarter is home to many of Barcelona’s landmarks and ruins. It’s easy to get lost wandering the enchanting alleys and side streets. Within the Gothic Quarter, you’ll find the remains of Roman and Medieval city walls, the stunning Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia, and numerous squares which open up from its narrow, winding streets. The whole area is largely blocked off from traffic, so it’s a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city’s major roads. Exploring the Gothic Quarter feels like magically stepping into the past.
Montjuïc is the name of the large hill overlooking the city and sea to the southwest. Aside from being an excellent vantage point to take in views of Barcelona and beyond, there are several major attractions on Montjuïc. For example, the ornate National Art Museum of Catalonia sits atop the hill with the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc just below it. The Magic Fountain makes for a great free activity, with its lively music and light shows taking place each night. Further, there is a breathtaking gondola ride to the top of Montjuïc via the Barcelona Funicular.
For a bit of sun during your city break, spend a few hours in La Barceloneta, Barcelona’s seaside neighbourhood. The area features a sandy beach and boardwalk lined with cafes, restaurants, and nightclubs. On a warm day, you can go for a swim in the blue Mediterranean waters or play sports on the soft golden sand. La Barceloneta is a fun spot for tourists and locals alike to escape the city and enjoy the outdoors.
Where to Stay in Barcelona
4* Gran Hotel Barcino
Located in the Gothic Quarter adjacent to Ciutadella Park, Gran Hotel Barcino offers a high quality stay with excellent access to the city’s main attractions. The hotel includes 61 rooms with comfortable, modern decor and a variety of amenities like room service, free Wifi, and air conditioning. You can start each day off with a buffet breakfast and take advantage of the helpful staff who happily share their tips on where to go and what to see.
5* Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel
The Eurostars Grand Marina Hotel is a hotel experience like no other. The building itself is in the shape of a cruise ship, and the hotel sits within Barcelona’s ever-popular harbour. The Grand Marina features 291 rooms, 47 of which are luxury suites. The rooms are sleek, with large windows overlooking the Mediterranean sea and city lights, and up to date with the most modern technology. In addition, onsite restaurants include the high-end Aire de Mar Restaurant and the incredible Black Marina rooftop tapas bar.
Are you ready to spend your next weekend getaway exploring beautiful Barcelona?