Barcelona Holidays & City Breaks

Overview 

Barcelona holidays are a fusion of laid-back beach days and vibrant city life. Set on Spain’s  northeast coast with a balmy Mediterranean climate, you're guaranteed sunshine too, making it the perfect setting for sightseeing or relaxing on its golden sands. It’s also home to centuries of history, so when you’re not exploring Gaudi’s modernist spectacles you could be getting lost in the medieval streets of its Gothic Quarter. Now throw in tasty Catalan dishes, one of the world’s most famous football stadiums and amazing green spaces, and you’ve got a city that ticks all the boxes.

Last minute Barcelona breaks

Desperate for a dose of Spanish sunshine? Our last minute Barcelona city breaks combine architectural marvels with sunbathing stints. 

The airport is just a short drive to the centre which means you can start exploring as soon as you land. Spontaneous couples will love jetting off at short notice, while families waiting to whisk the whole clan away can take full advantage of our amazing late deals. 

Weekend breaks to Barcelona

Barcelona has everything you need for a short break. Just over two hours’ flight time from London, you can be in this Spanish hotspot on Friday evening and back home by Monday morning.

Barcelona weekend breaks should give you enough time to see the best of what the city has to offer, whether you’ve come here to shop in its high street boutiques, tick-off its must-see architecture, or top up your tan from its sprawling sands. And if you’re holidaying as a family, you’re just a short train journey from PortAventura, one of Europe’s biggest theme parks. 

Things to do

Barcelona is the ultimate city break destination, surrounded by mountains on one side and the sea on the other. And there’s more than enough attractions to fill a long weekend. Walk streets perfect for shoppers and sightseers, where trendy boutiques sit close to Gaudi’s modernist masterpieces and century-old churches. It’s right by the Med too, so you can tick off the capital’s  biggest sights in the morning and hit the beach in the afternoon. Then, when you’ve had enough sun for one day, there’s plenty of waterside restaurants serving tasty Catalan seafood. Whatever it is you want from your next city break, Barcelona has it by the bucketload.

A vibrant beach scene

Cool off in the sea from one of Barcelona’s stunning beaches, which you can enjoy from March to November. La Barceloneta is the city’s answer to Miami’s South Beach. There’s always something going on along this four-kilometre-long stretch and its buzzing boardwalk is the perfect place to take it all in with restaurants, cafes and chiringuitos overlooking its sands. 

If you want to try some watersports on your Barcelona city break, look no further than Nova Icària. Windsurfing is a must on breezy Med days, while a SUP adventure is a great way to take in the city’s skyline from the water. Prefer your beach days a little bit more peaceful?  Then, hop on the metro to Bogatell. This Blue Flag beauty is great for relaxing dips and games of volleyball. Once your batteries are recharged, wind down with a drink in La Rambla or the Gothic Quarter.

Cultural treasures

Barcelona’s culture starts with its architecture. From modernist to medieval, the city is the perfect blend of old and new. Fans of Gaudi shouldn't miss a chance to see the skeleton balconies of Casa Batlló and his unfinished masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia. But the hillside Park Güell is like stepping inside the artist’s weird but wonderful imagination. From a dragon fountain to an elephant cave and his former home, this iconic green space is one of a kind. For more art-filled attractions, make sure you squeeze in a trip to the Contemporary Art and Picasso Museum. Over in Ciutat Vella (Old City) you’ll find some of Europe’s best-preserved landmarks. Standing high above the ancient streets, you can’t miss Barcelona Cathedral - the centerpiece of the Gothic Quarter. Besides its well-known buildings,  there’s no better way to see the city like a local than a shopping trip at at the Mercat de la Boqueria food market, or watching a home game at the 100,000-seater Camp Nou Stadium.

Catalan roots

Barcelona’s Catalonian origins are an important part of the city. From its own history, language and cuisine, there are so many ways to absorb this unique culture. Festivals are big here, with celebrations across just about every neighbourhood. Plan your Barcelona holidays in autumn and attend two of its biggest events; National Day of Catalonia (11th September) and La Mercè (24th September). Alternatively, food is another great way to get a taste of the city’s Catalan traditions. Look out for popular dishes like Escalivada (roasted red peppers, eggplant and onions) or Botifarra (a spiced sausage) for the most authentic dining experience

More travel guides

We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Balearic IslandsCanary IslandsCosta Almeria | Costa Blanca | Costa Brava | Costa Dorada | Costa del Sol | Fuerteventura | Gran Canaria | Lanzarote | Tenerife | Ibiza | Madrid | Malaga | Majorca | Menorca

 

 

Map of Barcelona

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10-24 ℃

Barcelona is a year-round destination with warm summers, cooler winters and no weather extremes. 

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Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is 13km southwest of the city centre.

Barcelona is best for...

Football fans: Home of the mighty Barcelona FC, there’s nothing quite like watching a game at Camp Nou. Even if you’re not a fan, the post-match atmosphere is amazing. While those who don’t manage to get tickets will be just as happy walking in the steps of icons like Messi with an all-access tour of this spectacular stadium.

Night owls: Barcelona city breaks have it all when it comes to nightlife, with each neighbourhood tailored to a different party scene. Soak up the sun from its portside beach bars, take in the skyline from its rooftop terraces, or hunt down those tucked-away cocktail bars. All before hitting its legendary clubs of course.

Art enthusiasts:  Whether you’re walking its streets or touring its galleries, Barcelona is bursting with art. See works from one of the most influential artists of the 20th century at Picasso Museum, or appreciate art through the ages at The National Art Museum of Catalonia, whose displays showcase everything from medieval to avante-garde pieces.

Fast facts for Barcelona

Language: The languages spoken in Barcelona are Catalan and Spanish.  Most people can speak both and will also have a basic understanding of English, particularly those who work in the tourist industry. But the locals will always appreciate any attempts at speaking Spanish, even if it’s just the basics.

Currency: The currency used in Barcelona is the Euro (€)

Local time: Barcelona is 1 hour ahead of GMT/UK time

Fly to: Barcelona-El Prat Airport (BCN) is 13km southwest of the city centre

Flight time from UK: 2 hours

Tourist information: Further tourist information can be found at the official website for tourism in Barcelona.

Visa / Health: Before you travel, check the latest advice from The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

 

Getting around Barcelona

By foot: Like a giant open-air museum, there’s no better way to get a feel for the city than by foot, especially those staying in its compact Old City. 

By tourist bus: The Barcelona Bus Turistic has three hop-on/hop-off routes that stop at all its major tourist sites.

By metro: The extensive metro system is efficient, affordable and air-conditioned. It’s also one of the quickest ways to move from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. 

By bicycle: You’ll find a number of cycle hire companies dotted around the city, with the option to explore at your own pace or book a tour.

By scooter:  Zip between sights on a scooter, vespa or even a segway.

Events in Barcelona

Sónar: Held across three days (and three nights!) in June, Barcelona hosts one of the world’s best dance music festivals. Tickets must be purchased well in advance.

Saintly celebrations: On 24 September, Barcelona honours its patron saint with live music concerts in its plazas, Catalan folk dancing, a parade and a firework display.

Nadal (Christmas): December’s festivities include the Fira de Santa Lucia, a large open-air market. Taking place around the main cathedral, this is a great opportunity to shop for handmade crafts and local decorations including traditional nativity figurines. 

 

Barcelona safety and security

For up to date advice on travelling to Barcelona, please visit the FCDO website.

Barcelona weather

Temperature: 6 - 29°C 

Barcelona’s Mediterranean climate means you can visit most of the year. Heating up in March and typically reaching the mid-teens by the end of the season, spring days are pleasantly warm when the sun is shining. If you’ve booked your Barcelona city break to take advantage of the beach, summer is your best bet with highs often peaking at 29°C and little chance of rain. Culture-seekers may prefer autumn when the city comes alive with music and food festivals. There is still plenty of sunshine late in the year, but it may start to cool down as winter approaches. Want to avoid the crowds altogether? Book your break in the winter. With average highs of 11°C, make sure you pack for the weather.

 

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