Barcelona is genuinely a 24-hour city, so if you’re a morning bird keen for sight-seeing or a party animal planning to club until sunrise, Barcelona is the place for you.
Make sure to get in a trip to La Rambla, the liveliest street of the city. Stroll down the tree-lined walkway, which connects the harbour to Barcelona’s main square Placa Catalunya, which is full of fountains and statues and connects all the major streets in the city. Jam-packed with street performers doing stunts, artists, stalls selling souvenirs and café’s, it’s an easy place to pass the day away.
Days can be spent exploring the old part of the city and the numerous art galleries and museums, or just relaxing on the gorgeous beaches.
Barcelona is also renowned for its food. Whether its fresh seafood caught from the Med, tapas or delicious meat, expect a Catalan twist on all of your favourite dishes.
While there’s easily enough in the city to keep you entertained for weeks, there’s also Salvador Dali’s hometown of Cadaques, with its picturesque white houses nestling around the bay a few hours away.
December’s a great month to visit, as Barcelona comes even more alive for the festive season. The ‘Fira de Santa Llúcia’ is a traditional Christmas fair that has more than 300 stalls, selling all manner of handcrafted Christmas decorations and gifts, along with mistletoe and poinsettias.
While you’re there...
1. Do the Gaudi tour
Visit the surreal creations of Spain’s most celebrated architect, including the world-famous but still unfinished Sagrada Família.
2. Visit a Flamenco show
Witness the rhythm and passion first hand in a real tablao – a place just for Flamenco – and let it inspire you to join in the dancing after the show.
3. Rent a bicycle
Explore the city in your own time and in your own way on a bike through one of the many companies offering this service.
Where to stay
The Hotel Arts (+34 93 221 1000, www.hotelartsbarcelona.com)
All the five star fixtures that you could hope for combined with breath-taking views and a spectacular Spanish contemporary art collection of more than 1,000 paintings and sculptures.
Hotel Diagonal Zero (+34 93 507 80 00, www.hoteldiagonalzero.com)
Close to the beach and the Diagonal Mar shopping centre, many rooms feature spectacular views of the Med. Unwind at the Panoramic Outdoor Pool overlooking the sea.
Hotel Bagués (+34 934817054, www.bagues.com/en)
Located in the historic Gothic Quarter with striking city views, every room is a work of art in this boutique hotel, owned by the high-end jewellery company of the same name.
Colombian beauty Shakira is dating Barcelona player Gerard Pique, so she’s a bit of a regular.