Barcelona is often referred to as one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. It's not hard to see why — travelers flock from around the world to see the iconic Sagrada Família church and other modernist landmarks designed by Gaudi, such as Palau Güell and Casa Mila.
Ciutat Vella, the gothic quarter of Barcelona, is the oldest part of the city. It includes Las Ramblas, the famous tree-lined boulevard that cuts through the heart of the city. The La Boqueria Food Market is a wonderful place to sample local delicacies. Barcelona is home to numerous museums, such as Gaudi House Museum, the Picasso Museum, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, and Poble Espanyol, the open-air architectural museum. All offer unique experiences.
Barcelona has a host of green spaces and parks, too. Filled with vivid colors, decorative walls and murals, and great views, Park Guell is also home to flocks of monk parakeets. Parc de la Ciutadella features plenty of picnic areas and a stunning fountain; the magic fountain of Monjuic is another great spot — it’s lit up at night for a Technicolor experience you won't forget. If you like to hike, the Sants-Montjuic park area offers amazing city views from the top of the mountain. Climb to Sagrat Cor on the summit of Mount Tibidabo for more fantastic views of the city and impressive architecture.
Paella is often reserved for important celebrations. This seafood and rice dish is served across the city in a variety of ways. Bombas is a typical tapas dish that is accompanied by two delicious sauces and represents the handmade grenades thrown during the Spanish Civil War. Finish off any meal with mato, a soft, sweet cheese often served with walnuts and honey.
Barcelona is a very walkable city and offers bikes that you can rent for a few hours or for the day. Taxis in the city are some of the most affordable in Europe, but Barcelona also has a Metro system with eight lines. It can get you to almost anywhere in the city.
After the sun sets, Barcelona comes alive. Las Ramblas is as busy by night as it is by day, with late-night tapas bars and street performers to surprise and delight. Tucked away in the Gothic Quarter, Milk Bar serves delicious cocktails and nearby Plaza Real hosts traditional flamenco dancing.
Poble Espanyol is an architectural museum not far from the Magic Fountain of Montjuïc. For a lesson in the city's history, walk through the museum's 117 buildings from the 15 autonomous regions of Spain. Visit the Gaudi House Museum for a glimpse into the man behind some of the most impressive architecture in the world, plus more about his life in Barcelona. Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya is the national museum of Catalan visual art with an amazing Gothic art collection.
Barcelona's coastline is around a 10-to-15 minute trip by Metro from the city center. Barceloneta is the most famous, attracting street artists and musicians, as well as tourists. For a more relaxed and quiet stretch of sand, Bogatell Beach is perfect. If you are happy to venture a little further, Garraf Beach is a five-minute train journey from Castelldefels and has a picturesque seaside town attached to its peaceful cove.