Destination insight: Barcelona
Barcelona attracts millions of visitors each year, both holidaymakers and business travellers alike. The Catalan capital offers a sightseeing extravaganza steeped in culture and history, beautiful beaches, delicious local cuisine and buzzing nightlife.
Things to see and do
1. Sagrada Familia
The most visited monument in Spain is Architect Antoni Gaudi's incomplete Sagrada Familia. Renowned for his work in Spain – and in particular Barcelona – seven of his works are designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Sagrada Familia is where Gaudi is buried and a must-see on a visit to Barcelona.
2. La Rambla
Barcelona is a city of narrow and winding streets, so La Rambla was a complete contrast when it was first laid out in 1766. It's always been a popular gathering place and is home to various street performers, bars and restaurants, as well as the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Boqueria Market.
3. Casa Mila
With not one straight edge on its exterior, Casa Mila or more commonly La Pedrera is the last civil work by Gaudi. Built between 1906 and 1910, it is considered to be one of Gaudi’s most eccentric creations.
4. Museo Picasso
With over 4,000 works by Picasso himself, the Museo Picasso has one of the most extensive collections of his artwork. Housed over five adjoining medieval palaces, this is the place to go to find out about Picasso's formative years and his close association with the city.
5. Font Magica
Font Magica is Barcelona’s largest ornamental fountain offering spectacular displays, water acrobatics and lights at the weekend, as well as hosting fireworks and laser show Piromusical at the end of the La Merce Festival. Designed by Carles Buigas in 1929 for the International Exhibition, it was renovated for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
How to get there
Barcelona’s main airport is El Prat and is located 16km outside the city. The Aerobús into the city takes around 35 minutes and costs just under €6, while a taxi should cost approximately €25. Nearby airports include Girona and Reus. Both are around 90 minutes away and have low-cost airlines flying in from the UK. Buses (timed with the Ryanair arrivals) take you into the city for €25 return.
Estacio Sants is the main railway station in Barcelona. It is the terminus for the High-Speed Train and many Spanish and foreign destinations, suburban rail and trains to Barcelona Airport.
Buses arrive into Estació d'autobusos Barcelona Nord and it's just a short walk to the metro linking to other areas of the city. You can also catch buses to other Spanish cities, Europe and North Africa.
Getting around Barcelona
The Metro costs €2.15 per journey, so it's well worth buying a Targeta T-10 (10-ride passes) for €9.95. Trains run from 5am to midnight, Sunday to Thursday, until 2am on Friday and 24 hours on Saturday. Find out more here: www.tmb.cat .
A hop-on, hop-off Bus Turístic, which leaves from Plaça de Catalunya, is handy for those wanting to see the city’s highlights in one or two days.
You can hail taxis on the street or at taxi stands.