Cheap flights to Barcelona
If you're looking for a city that's got it all you couldn't do much better than choose the Catalan capital Barcelona, Spain's second city, and one that's bursting with life at every turn. Whether you’re looking for a party town, laid back beach resort, or a cultural oasis in which to lose yourself this city has activities to keep everyone happy.
Not many European cities steeped in culture can also boast beautiful beaches literally right on their doorsteps, but Barcelona is no average city. Explore out-of-this-world buildings courtesy of famous local architect Gaudi, head down to Las Ramblas to find crazy street performers and market stalls selling everything from fruit and flowers, to birds, bunnies and snakes in cages or join the bikini set at Barceloneta Beach, a 15-minute stroll out of town and finish your day enjoying nightlife to rival Paris or London. This city has it all.
For fancy footwear, as modelled by Ralph Laurent, Penelope Cruz and even Salvador Dali (back in the day), pop along to La Manual Alpargatera in the Gothic Quarter. Their iconic espadrilles are considered responsible for making the sandal an essential accessory everywhere from here to the USA (7 Carrer Avinyo, tel: 93 301 0172, lamanualalpargatera.es).
Over 100 shops, restaurants and hotels on and around the Passeig de Gracia take part in Barcelona's Shopping Night at the end of each November. Venues provide live music and DJs, treats (such as cocktails and chocolates) and other diversions, as punters are invited to max their credit cards 'til late (date for 2013 TBC, theshoppingnight.com).
Castle Montjuic (66 Carretera de Montjuic, 93 256 4445)
Located atop Montjuic hill is this elegant castle. Built in the 17th century, the architecture is exquisite, as are the views across the whole of Barcelona.
Situated in a leafy valley 50km outside of Barcelona, with its waterfall and Romanesque chapel, the abbey of Sant Miquel del Fai is a picturesque alternative to exploring the more famous (ie more touristy) site of Montserrat. Public transport is infrequent so it's best to hire a car.