Accommodation in Barcelona

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Exploring Barcelona

A celebration of 2,000 years of history combined with stunning modernity, Barcelona is one of Spain’s favourite visitor destinations. Its highlights include the Ciutat Vella old city and the glorious Art Nouveau heritage buildings in Eixample district as well as Gaudi’s as yet unfinished Basilica Sagrada Familia and other examples of his iconic architectural designs. Nine lovely beaches, traditional Catalonian festivals and cultural events, museums, street markets and a world-class culinary and nightlife scene are all here.

Getting around Barcelona’s central districts with their hundreds of varied attractions is easy via the city’s metro, tourist bus and regular bus and tram services, and driving outside rush hours is a pleasant experience. Accommodation from budget to high-end is scattered all over the city, and the most romantic district for a stay is undoubtedly Cuitat Vella. Here you’ll find boutique lodgings such as the Hotel Barcelona Catedral and the historic Grand Hotel Central, and Eixample district boasts the exclusive Princesa Sofia Gran Hotel as well as a good choice of mid-range offerings.

Sights nearby

Exploration of Barcelona’s landmarks and attractions begins in the old quarter with its charming, winding streets, heritage buildings, elegant squares and elaborate churches. The heart of the city is vibrant La Rambla, a famous boulevard leading from the harbour through the old quarter to Catalunya Square, perfect for people-watching and admiring the street performers.

Basilica Sagrada Familia
Even in its unfinished state after over 100 years of construction, Gaudi’s masterpiece is one of the world’s most spectacular buildings. Its 18 soaring spires represent Jesus, Virgin Mary, the apostles and the evangelists and the incredible complexity of its design displays Gaudi’s genius as an architect way ahead of his time. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s expected to be completed during the next 15 years.

Ruta del Modernisme
This tour takes visitors around all the elaborately beautiful Art Nouveau-inspired buildings in the city. Routes can vary according to the Tourist Office’s pack and take from two hours upwards. Several more of Gaudi’s designs can be seen here, including La Pedera and Casa Batilo with its curved lines.

Montserrat
An hour’s scenic drive from Barcelona lie the saw-toothed peaks of Montserrat mountain with its Virgin of Montserrat sanctuary. Housed in a Benedictine abbey set on the heights, the Virgin’s image, one of Europe’s Black Madonnas, is linked to Holy Grail mysteries and is thought to have been carved in the early 12th century. The abbey museum holds works by Dali, El Greco and Picasso.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Barcelona’s dining options cover everything from Catalan to international cuisine including Asian favourites. From street food to upscale restaurants owned by celebrity chefs, the city is a gastronomic experience, provided tourist-aimed eateries are avoided. For authentic Spanish and Catalan dishes, restaurants favoured by local people are the best choice. Barceloneta district is known for its wide variety of seafood dishes, and Catalunya Square is good for tapas. The old quarter has a huge choice of Catalan eateries, with the Barri Gotic area the best for authenticity, and bars are found in almost every street in the quarter. Barcelona has its share of huge malls and designer boutiques, but its street markets are the most fun. Mercat des Encats is the largest, offering fashions, antiques, arts, crafts, home décor and more.

Public transport

Public transport in Barcelona is easy to use and comprehensive, with its Bus Turistic a useful service covering most of the city’s major sites. The inexpensive metro and overground rail service extend across the city, and a historic tram line connects with the funicular railway to the top of Tibidabo mountain. Transfers from the airport to the city are by the Aerobus shuttle service, suburban train or local bus.

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