Barcelona is full of elegance and sophistication as well as being the second largest and the most cosmopolitan city in Spain. This vibrant Catalonian capital leads Spain with outstanding architecture, haute couture and haute cuisine, particularly in the medieval and romantic Gothic quarter.
The Gothic quarter is where you will find street entertainers, flower-stalls and the excellent shops of the Ramblas and the majestic Romanesque courtyard of the Bishops Palace, a jewel of Catalonian Gothic civil architecture.
To start here's a rundown of Barcelona's top attractions. First on the list is the visionary architect Antoni Gaudí who is responsible for the city’s unique feel and main sights, from Park Güell to the Sagrada Familia. Second is the very popular main beach at Barceloneta with its three miles of golden shoreline, quickly followed by the touristy Las Ramblas and the great Picasso museum.
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Fly direct to Barcelona from major cities across the UK and Europe, including departures from London Gatwick, London Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester, Newcastle, Birmingham, Belfast and Liverpool airports. You can choose from flag carrier airlines like British Airways and Iberia to Low Cost airlines like easyjet flights, Eurowings, Wizz Air and Jet2.
Start with the mediaeval alleyways of the Gothic Quarter and its unique architecture, where the presence of palaces and Gothic churches reveal the city's fascinating medieval past. Stroll the charming narrow streets filled with relaxing picturesque squares, trendy bars, clubs and Catalan restaurants. Barcelona's most outstanding landmark is the Sagrada Familia one of the worlds most recognised and extraordinary churches. The emphatic decorative art of Antonio Gaudi is much loved in Barcelona and other examples of his work can be seen throughout the city at the Casa Battlo, Casa Mila and Parque Guell.
Barcelona is a shopping Mecca with its numerous boutiques and markets open late into the afternoon. The main shopping streets are the Paseo de Gracia which is full of large boutiques, jewelers and shopping centre's. The narrow streets in and around the Gothic area are worth exploring for souvenirs. Back to the The Ramblas, originally the site of the ancient city walls is now the major promenade area of the city 'where one goes to be seen'.
Museums worth visiting include the Picasso museum with works ranging from early sketches to later masterpieces. Also worth a visit is The Military museum, reached by the funicular to the top of Montjuich from where you can enjoy excellent views across the city.
Barcelona is not just handsome and exciting - it's also supremely civilised.
Barcelona can be easily explored on foot, alternatively hop on and off the Bus Turistic, which stops at 18 convenient tourist locations around the city and you can usually buy tickets from the driver.
For the younger traveller Barcelona never sleeps. The city has reached a well deserved reputation for the international electronic music scene and dances to the sounds of the world's top DJ's. For a more traditional nightlife experience, head to the Spanish Village for an authentic flamenco show, or treat yourself to a night of fiery Catalan style and flamenco at the Barcelona City Hall. For eating out it's back to the Ramblas, for its many tapas bars, chic cafes and restaurants specialising in local dishes. Popular dining times are between nine o'clock and midnight with vibrant festivities of the bars and nightclubs open into the early hours of the morning. Tip...beware the pick pockets.
Excursions: One of the most visited excursions is to the monastery at Montserrat, located 35 miles (56km) northwest of Barcelona. Founded in 1025 and housing over 75 monks, it has rapidly become one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Spain, the monastery sits on a mountain perch which is reached by cable car.
Barcelona Airport is located seven miles (12km) southwest of central Barcelona.
Airport Transport and Shuttle Services:
Rail - a convenient way to travel from the Airport to the city centre is by train. The RENFE train service runs approximately every 30 minutes to and from Barcelona airport and takes approximately 25 minutes. In Barcelona you can board the train at Passeig de Gràcia, or Barcelona Sants (otherwise known as Sants Estació), the airport stop is Aeropuerto.
Coach - the Aerobus is a fast bus service taking 35 minutes from Barcelona BCN - El Prat airport (Terminals 1 and 2). The route includes 3 stops at strategic points in Barcelona: Pl Espanya, Gran Via-Urgell, Pl Universitat.
Car Hire - all major car rental companies are represented, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz and Sixt. Car hire desks at Terminal 1 are located at the ground floor just after baggage claim areas. At Terminal 2B they are located at the main exit hall and also after customs.
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