A Quick Guide to Barcelona

A staple for holidaymakers across the globe, Barcelona has everything to offer travelers from far and wide and on any budget. If you’re a culture vulture or a casual holidaymaker, this is the city that is on countless bucket lists, as it proudly sits along the Balearic Sea and demands you soak in its life-affirming qualities.

Famous for its striking cliffs and gothic architecture, Barcelona is steeped in history and is as one of the best destinations in the world for hardcore backpackers and casual roamers alike.

Should you decide to travel to Barcelona, you’ll be able to see such fantastical sights as La Sagrada Familia. Designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi and initially opened in 1882, the minor basilica is now a world-famous UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its striking stained glass features and the deeper meanings within every arch as well as hidden in every corner.

Be sure to take your time and watch out for pickpockets that are ever-present in all tourist sites – and learn all there is to know about this heavily-symbolic, religiously-inspired feat of architecture. Being one of the most-visited destinations in Spain, the best time to enjoy the sculptures and spires of Sagrada is first thing in the morning. Get there for around 9 am to avoid the crowds and make the most of your visit.

Elsewhere in the city, those lucky enough to catch a great bargain, are likely to want to take advantage of the fantastic shopping on offer at the Mercat de la Boqueria, where the fresh food and colorful stands are sure to keep you smiling. Europe’s biggest food market is believed to have been successfully supplying fresh fish, fruit, and veg since the city walls were erected (the first written mention being 1217 AD). It now hosts thousands of tourists throughout the year, with the most popular time being high summer (31st May- 28th September). Offering great prices and a unique experience, this is the market to visit in Europe.

Speaking of the culture and color of Barcelona, the more adventurous among you might be curious about the many flamenco evenings on offer throughout the city. These shows are considered one of the more quintessential Barcelona experiences and are popular with tourists and city-dwellers alike. There are hundreds dotted across the city, with the most popular currently being at Los Tarantos, in the heart of the Gothic Quarter. With three nightly showtimes at the ever-popular venue, you’re sure to be able to catch one of the 35-minute offerings of Spain’s most famous art-form.

Perhaps you prefer a more relaxed retreat? With many of the most beautiful areas in Barcelona being free to enjoy, there’s always plenty of parks to stroll through and appreciate.

From the open-air stage in Ramblas to the serene Jardí Botanic, Barcelona holds countless trails that can help soothe your sore eyes from the seemingly-endless sun that shines on the City of Barna (the local term for Barcelona).

However, no guide to Barcelona’s parks would be complete without mentioning Font Màgica and Plaça d’Espanya. The pièce de résistance of the city’s night-time offerings, the “magic” fountains of Barcelona, are one of the highest-rated attractions and for a good reason.

Located behind the Museu Nacional d’ Art de Catalunya, the water moves in time to a triumphant symphony, creating memories that are sure to stay with you for years to come. There’s no doubt that the Ciudad Contal offers something for everyone. From the winding paths of Turó Parc, where you can cast your eye over the surrounding sculptures to a backdrop of Barcelona’s buildings, to Parc de l’Estació del Nord in which childish frolicking and climbing are encouraged, the parks of Barcelona all offer an individual experience from a unique perspective – yours.

All of these can be a perfect way to enjoy a budget getaway to Barcelona. Especially since – as with all cities – some of the attractions can charge an entry fee. While clothing and accessories can be found at competitive prices, food and transport can quickly eat into your budget. Watch out for pickpockets, too. While violent crime is almost non-existent in the city, thieves are likely to be around the busier areas. Keep an eye on your belongings, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble. When in doubt, leave it at the hotel.

Temperatures reach highs of 30 degrees in the summer months. Even in the winter, the thermometer never dips below 14 degrees at its coldest. It’s easy to see why so many people choose Spain as their top choice for vacation. Be warned – the humidity in August is likely to border on sauna-like! It doesn’t rain much in the city, but be aware that overcast skies are highly expected in the colder months of winter.

No trip would be complete without a trip to the beautiful beaches of Barcelona. With the sun shining down on over 4.5km of golden sands all year round, you’ll be sure to find the perfect space to pop your towel down! Of this, there are three main beaches which are open and ready for tourists all year round. At roughly 20 minutes walking distance from the city, Barceloneta is the closest for most holidaymakers and offers mostly American-style bars and eateries.

Next, ready and waiting for the thrill-seekers, is the Mar Bella beach. Known for its watersports, cyclists, and rollerbladers, Mar Bella is perfect for those wanting to catch some waves while catching some sun! In addition to these is the Bogatell Beach. It hosts an extensive promenade that runs up to Nova Icaria, genuinely showcasing the Balearic Sea in all its glory – also running alongside are some of the best bars and restaurants of the city.

No matter what you choose – a fun-filled day of sightseeing or an emotionally fulfilling journey through time – with some fantastic Barcelona deals available, you can rest assured that you caught a great offer and a fabulous tan!

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