Cultural break, seaside excursion or hedonistic holiday? A weekend in Barcelona means never having to choose.
Serious sightseers will love centrally located Hotel Omm (its rooftop pool and two restaurants are ideal for post-touring relaxation), while avid shoppers can stay close to the action at the boutiquey SixtyTwo Hotel on Passeig de Gràcia.
Splurge at Hotel Arts (named for its collection of contemporary Spanish art) and you’ll find yourself just a kiss away from the beach. Too cold to swim? Head to The Spa by Six Senses on the top floor for panoramic views of the Med. Or live like a local and make El Palauet luxury apartments your home away from home.
Cal Pep is a well-known tourist destination, but don’t let that put you off: catch-of-the-day tapas are worth the wait. Alternatively, try Passadís del Pep, a joint with no set menu but several courses of fresh seafood selected by the chef from the market that morning.
La Crema Canela is a cheap and cheerful spot where you can blend in with the crowd. And foodies won’t want to miss Senyor Parellada — an old-school Catalan bistro where small portions allow you to sample more food.
They might be Spanish brands, but there’s nothing at Zara or Mango that you won’t find at home. Instead, rummage around Els Encants Vells, an enormous flea market filled with vintage clothes and antique furniture. La Boqueria is a picture-perfect food market on the site of an old convent — go to eat, shop or simply absorb the sights and sounds. And don’t leave town without a visit to Oriol Balaguer. A former El Bulli pastry chef owns the avant-garde chocolate shop, so you’re sure to find something extraordinary.
The name to drop in the Catalan capital? Antoni Gaudí. He’s the man responsible for much of the city’s art nouveau architecture. Don’t miss his most famous works: La Sagrada Família, the spectacular church under construction since the late 1800s, and Casa Batlló, an impressive building decorated with colourful glass fragments.
Another Gaudí landmark, Park Güell, is a hypnotic wonderland filled with glossy tiles and whimsical statues and fountains. See where it all began at Santa Maria del Mar — the Gothic architecture of this 14th-century church is thought to have greatly influenced the man himself.
Can’t picture it? See our photo gallery for more inspiration.
Photos: Courtesy of Hotel Omm; Courtesy of Cal Pep; Courtesy of BCNTurisme; Courtesy of BCNTurism