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 the 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.
6 reasons to visit Barcelona
- Food glorious food: Start your day with freshly baked bread drizzled in olive oil and smeared with tomatoes (pantumaca), before digging into vegetable stew (escudella) for lunch. As for dinner, it has to be coca! Resembling a mini pizza, this flatbread is usually topped with roasted vegetables and sausage.
- The perfect beach & city combo: If you want the best of both worlds, Barcelona holidays won’t disappoint. Think cutting-edge architecture, trendy fashion stores and narrow cobbled streets fronted by three miles of sun-soaked coastline.
- Awe-inspiring Gaudi architecture: No trip to Barcelona is complete without admiring the world-renowned Sagrada Familia (let’s face it, you can’t miss it!), quirky Casa Battlo and Park Guell, just some of Antoni Gaudi’s stand-out creations.
- Historic city centre: It’s easy to lose yourself in Barcelona’s Gothic quarter, and trust us, you want to! These maze-like streets hide some of the city’s oldest restaurants such as Can Culleretes, as well as cocktail lounges, a jaw-dropping 13th-century cathedral and one of Gaudi’s first projects (the street lamps decorating Plaça Reial, one of Spain’s grandest squares).
- An epic art scene: Whether you’re searching for Picasso masterpieces, murals by Miro or contemporary pieces by independent artists, you’re not short of exhibits to visit. From the Centre of Contemporary Culture to the National Art Museum of Catalonia.
- Football famous: The largest stadium in Europe with a capacity of 100,000, the atmosphere at Camp Nou is electrifying. Catch FC Barcelona in action or bag yourself an exclusive tour. But for trophies, memorabilia and football shirts worn by sports legends, be sure to make a pitstop at its museum.
Last minute Barcelona breaks
Desperate for a dose of Spanish sunshine? These 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 these amazing late deals we've sourced on your behalf.
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 onits 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 are 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 centuries-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 are 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 atone 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 (beach bars) 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.
Barcelona’s culture starts with its architecture. From medieval to modernist, 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 centrepiece 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.
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, aubergineand onions) or butifarra (a spiced sausage) for the most authentic dining experience.
More travel guides
We also have travel guides available for destinations, including: Balearic Islands | Canary Islands | Costa Almeria | Costa Blanca | Costa Brava | Costa Dorada | Costa del Sol | Fuerteventura | Gran Canaria | Lanzarote | Tenerife | Ibiza | Madrid | Malaga | Majorca | Menorca