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.
Given Dia de Sant Jordi is upon us (see below), a bit of book hunting is in order. The atmospheric Llibreria Sant Jordi (41 Carrer de Ferran) peddles dusty second-hand tomes and seems to belong in a Carlos Ruiz Zafon novel, while the excellent Hibernian Books (17 Carrer del Montseny) serves English-speaking bibliophiles.
Every district in Barcelona has its own extended holiday during summer, but it's the Festa Major de Gracia (15-21 August) that always draws the biggest crowds. Each streets is decorated with a different theme, and tinto de verano (red wine and lemonade) is on sale for €2 a pop.
The August sun is not to be reckoned with, so escape his fury in the shade of some of Parc de la Ciutadella's many pines, poplars and palms. This lively green space in the centre of the city is full of slackliners, cyclists, picnickers and ping pong players, and is the perfect place for an afternoon siesta (21 Passeig de Picasso).
One of the most scenic coastal resorts in close proximity to Barcelona (just over an hour by train), Sant Pol de Mar has several golden beaches flanked by jutting rocks, a gothic church and a three-star Michelin restaurant run by renowned chef Carme Ruscadella (10 Carrer Nou, ruscalleda.com).