Barcelona, basking on the shores of the Mediterranean, is one of the most popular cities in the world. It’s got a beautifully preserved medieval heart, full of narrow lanes and secret squares, scores of superb museums and cultural sights, plus a dizzying array of fabulous shops, bars and restaurants. Plus, the year-round sunshine bathes the city in a permanent golden glow. We’re hooked and you will be too! Check out these 5 reasons we love Barcelona!
1. Beach life
How many cities offer almost five kilometres of beaches? Complete with palm trees and beach bars, no less! We love getting our culture and shopping fix in the city centre – and then heading down to the beach to chill in the sunshine!
2. Gaudí’s unique buildings
Antoni Gaudí has left his imprint everywhere in Barcelona. His gorgeous buildings – like the Pedrera and the Casa Batlló – seem to come straight from the pages of a fairy tale. Rooftops are curved to look like the scaly backs of dragons, and ceilings swirl like ice-cream. Don’t miss the enormous (and still unfinished) Sagrada Familia basilica, which will eventually be crowned by the world’s tallest spire.
3. Dragons, giants and fatheads
Where else can you see dragons race down the streets in a shower of sparks and firecrackers? Or watch processions of giants and fatheads dance sedately around the old quarter? These are all ancient Catalan customs, which are celebrated with gusto during major festivals like the Mercé festival held in honour of the city’s patron saint at the end of September.
4. A style all its own
Barcelona oozes style. Check out the one-off boutiques in the Born, the hip vintage stores in the Raval or the inviting cafés and bars of the Sant Antoni or Gràcia neighbourhoods. If you’re looking for international fashion, you could always hit the glossy Passeig de Gràcia, but it’s the quirky, offbeat style of this Mediterranean city that sets it apart.
5. Food, glorious food
Catalan food is world-famous thanks to the likes of celebrity chefs such as Ferran Adrià or the Roca brothers, whose Girona restaurant has been voted the best in the world. Just visit a market – the Boqueria is the most famous, but there are dozens more – to see the huge variety of fabulous fresh produce on offer. Whether you’re tucking into some simple pa amb tomàquet (bread rubbed with tomato and a drizzle of olive oil) on a sunny square, or pushing the boat out at a fancy restaurant (Barcelona’s chefs have more Michelin stars than anywhere else in Spain), the food in Barcelona will linger long in the memory!