Barcelona is a stunning city full of culture, art and grand architecture, and is perfectly positioned on the eastern coast of Spain. Famed for its beauty and modern design, founder Susie Marquis shares her hotspots and must-sees in this stunning Mediterranean city…
Situated on the north-east coast of Spain facing the sea, Barcelona benefits from a mild Mediterranean climate, with temperatures usually between 20 – 23 degrees in April and May, rising to 26 degrees in June and up to 28 degrees in August. Spring/early summer is a wonderful time to explore the city on foot, with its mild weather, fewer crowds, and plenty of cultural activities, including historical sights and architecture.The city is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites, seven of which were created by architect and designer Antoni Gaudi, who was at the forefront of the Art Nouveau movement in Spain. His work in Barcelona led to the creation of some of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Parc Güell, Palau Güell, Casa Milà (La Pedrera), Casa Vicens, and Casa Batlló. Gaudi’s masterpiece, the Sagrada Familia (Church of the Holy Family) is arguably the most popular historic site to visit in Barcelona. Casa Vicens is undoubtedly one of Gaudi’s top attractions to visit in the Spring, as is Park Güell, an enormous garden with architectural elements designed by Gaudi.
Best Neighbourhoods to ExploreThe Gothic Quarter is Barcelona’s oldest district with its narrow alleyways and cobblestone streets, and with many closed to traffic, this gives visitors a chance to explore the area comfortably on foot. As well as the historic centre of the city, the Gothic Quarter also offers plenty of atmospheric bars and restaurants. The Sagrada Familia, the large basilica is the only cathedral in the Gothic Quarter and is a must-see, and visitors can also enjoy the oldest parts of Barcelona city nearby, including remains of the city’s Roman wall.
Also one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Barcelona, El Born is located between Barceloneta and the city centre. Within walking distance of most city landmarks, including Basílica de Santa Maria del Mar, a Gothic church from the 14th century, and Palau de la Música, an art nouveau music hall and one of the best examples of Modernist architecture. El Born also offers a wide range of fine-dining restaurants, mostly offering Mediterranean and Spanish cuisine, as well as an endless choice of bars.
L’Eixample is a neighbourhood built between the 19th and 20th centuries, when Barcelona expanded beyond the Old City. L’Eixample is divided into Left and Right Eixample, as they are separated by Barcelona’s most exclusive shopping street Passeig de Gràcia, as well as some of the best restaurants and bars. Nowadays Eixample is famous for being home to the majority of Barcelona’s art nouveau masterpieces, and a high-class residential and shopping area with a number of international designer shops. There are also many art galleries along the Passeig de Gracia, as well as La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, two of Gaudí’s famous buildings. There is also the Fundacio Antoni Tapies which has a permanent collection of Antoni Tapies’ work, found just off the Passeig de Gràcia.
La Ribera is near the Gothic Quarter, and used to be the economic centre of Barcelona between the XIII and the XV centuries. Montcada Street here has five medieval palaces from that era, one of which is now Museo Picasso with over 4,300 artworks by Pablo Picasso from the period 1890 to 1957. Picasso used to live in this neighbourhood, and there is a walking tour available: Picasso’s Barcelona – La Ribera Tour.
As a Mediterranean city, Barcelona also benefits from excellent beaches and good weather, and sports excel exceptionally, particularly the Barcelona Football Club (soccer) which has also made the city a world-famous travel destination. Moreover, as a walkable city with a mild Mediterranean climate, it is a great place to visit at any time of the year. Overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and famous for Gaudí and other Art Nouveau architecture, Barcelona is one of Europe’s trendiest cities with the combination of local traditions and both historic and modern creativity.
Some recommended companies offering great experiences to enjoy during your stay in Barcelona:Barcelona by Road  Barcelona by Road is particularly helpful if you don’t know Barcelona very well and allows you to sit back and enjoy it all – from shopping, wine, food and local people to the wonderful landscape. The team here will listen to your requirements, and ensure you can enjoy some great tailor-made experiences, ranging from city tours to food and wine tours in the countryside. They can also offer exclusive access to special events taking place in the city. An example of a day-trip out of the city includes horseback riding, and a wine tasting and cuisine lunch overlooking the vineyards at Penedes Winery. The private driver will pick you up with luxury car from your holiday apartment in Barcelona.
Barcelona Slow Travel Experiences Offering gourmet tours, cooking classes in Barcelona, and also food and wine day trips from the city, Barcelona Slow Travel Experiences is one to explore. Visitors can meet the people leading the small-scale projects including organic farmers, boutique wineries, artisan cheese-makers and other experiences, and they also offer a Barcelona Gourmet Tour starting with a visit to a local wine bar, and a tasting of premium regional wines from small-scale organic producers, along with local delicacies. You will also visit a good tapas bar, and a dining restaurant offering excellent Catalan cuisine. Other experiences include Food and Wine day trips, and a Montserrat Tour with premium organic wines, and olive oil tastings. More recently, visiting a private farm cooking class can be arranged – a unique Farm to Table cooking class in Spain.
Jetset BarcelonaIncluding a butler, a personal shopper, private jets and yachts, and also VIP tickets for sporting and cultural events, Jetset Barcelona is the company you need if you are looking for someone to arrange a great service. They also have a fleet of Mercedes cars to take you to and from the airport, and arrange reservations for exclusive Michelin Star restaurants in and around Barcelona. Tours can also be arranged, such as a Gourmet experience with exclusive access to a private Wine and Cava Tour for small groups. A private full day wine tour with a local expert guide/sommelier can also be arranged, as can a personal shopper.
Recommended Apartments to Rent:Gaudi Apartment, 10 guests, 5 bedroomsThis lovely apartment is located on the famous Passeig de Gracia, with its exclusive shops, as well as two key sightseeing points: Gaudi’s Casa Battló and La Pedrera. In fact, the large living room is the focal point of this impressive rental, with excellent views of the famous Casa Batllo from the apartment’s Spanish balcony.
Rambla de Catalunya, 6 guests, 3 bedroomsHome to some of the best shopping and tapas restaurants in the city and situated on the Rambla de Catalunya, this apartment is also close to the famous Passeig de Gracia, which also offers fine retail shops and dining options.
Passeig de Gracia, 8 guests, 4 bedroomsThis apartment is In a unique location in the famous Passeig de Gracia with a wonderful direct view of Gaudi’s Casa Battló. The apartment is also historically important because the architect Buenaventura Conill Montobbio was a good friend of Antoni Gaudi. This apartment offers the perfect base for sightseeing, shopping, dining out and enjoying the very best that Barcelona has to offer.
Passeig de Gracia ll, 6 guests, 2 bedroomsThis stylish two-bedroom apartment is right in the heart of the city centre. With the famous Plaza Catalunya right down the street, you have easy access to the Ramblas area where you will find the Licieu Opera house, the famous Boquería and other sightseeing attractions. On the wide Passeig de Gracia you will have plenty of shopping options, as well as being just a short walk from the Casa Batlló and the Pedrera.
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