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Sat on the Mediterranean coast, the Catalonian capital Barcelona is known as a vibrant cosmopolitan city with more than just a touch of that feel good factor that makes a destination so irresistible; the city is filled with the architecture of Gaudi – one of Spain’s most famous sons and creator of magical building that transport you to another place.
Visit the cultural old city for culinary delights and a sense of history that transports you to a different Spain, one that is filled with opera, maritime history and restaurants that combine the traditional flavours of the nation with innovation, creating something spectacular and echoing the very ethos of the city. Fill your senses with delight and make your next city break one that will stay with you long after the moment has passed.
Depending on your budget Barcelona has a great selection of accommodation, and although booking during the peak summer months is always recommended, great rooms can still be found at reasonable prices.For a stay that you’ll never forget book a room at either the Mandarin Oriental with its rooftop pool and Michelin starred restaurant or W Barcelona Hotel, the trendiest hotel in the city, offering spectacular views from its waters-edge location and a 26th floor bar that attracts all the shakers and movers; the more budget conscious might want to try Hotel Market with chic rooms that offer plenty for a modest price, whilst those wanting a more traditional place to stay will love Hotel Espana Ramblas with its fantastic period features.
Catalan food is filled with the fresh flavours of the region, with local produce favoured above all else, paella, black rice and masses of seafood are always to be found on the menu and all have that impossibly intense flavour that comes with the very best techniques; tapas are not traditional in Barcelona but have found their way here and are now seen as much a part of the cuisine as those foods that have been enjoyed throughout history.Bota Fumeiro is the place for seafood, always freshly caught and simply cooked, the flavours are always a delight to the palate, treat yourself to Mariscada, a platter filled with the treasures of the sea that elevates seafood into something spectacular. Can Ramonet as the oldest paella restaurant in the city can be exceptionally busy, but the food is always worth waiting for, whilst Quimet i Quimet embraces the new tradition of tapas and serves a changing menu of the best tapas in the Barcelona.
Barcelona is known for its many festivals and events, these take place throughout the year, and if you time your break just right you are rewarded by a city that explodes into a delight of parties and merriment; Notable fiestas include Cavalceda de Reis in January, designed to celebrate the 3 wise men with a fantastic float procession, La Merce the indulgent religious feast day that takes place during September, and the amazing Festes de Gracia, a weeklong party at the peak of the summer season that sees the city explode with fireworks and gatherings that last all night.You simply can’t visit Barcelona and leave without taking time to visit the architecture of Anton Gaudi, the highlight of course being La Sagrada Familia, started almost 100 years ago and yet still uncompleted, this stunning Church is the cities most iconic building and continues to grow as work continues. Gaudi left his colourful mark right across the city; Casa Batllo is well worth visiting with its newly opened rooftop terrace, as is Casa Mila, containing an exhibition of the great man’s life and works.
Barcelona enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate with long hot summers and mild winters, however due to its geographical location there are factors that create a cooler climate with more rain than is to be found in more southern coastal regions of Spain; Barcelona however doesn’t sell itself as a sun soaked destination and those visiting for a city break will find much to appeal throughout the entire annual calendar.The summer months are the most predictable weather wise with heat and sun without too many of the rain showers that can plague the spring and autumn months, however this is peak season and the influx of tourists to this most beautiful of cities creates a premium on both flights and accommodation, those prepared to take a risk on the other seasons are often well rewarded by a city break that offers great value for money.