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Barcelona Holidays

A city full of architectural gems

It’s a good thing the sun shines on Barcelona, as it’s likely you’ll spend more time admiring the brilliantly ornate exteriors of the city’s buildings than wandering around inside them. And with Antoni Gaudi’s unique architecture around every corner, who can blame you? That said, if you do need respite from the heat, the epic cathedral of the Sagrada Familia makes for an unmissable pitstop.

Barcelona holidays are perfect for those seeking a cultured getaway – the city features everything from bijou art galleries to ancient markets, where traders beckon with authentic dishes and antique treasures. It also pulsates with music when festival season hits, and even the parks are architectural masterpieces. But those looking to relax are catered for, too. Unwind with friends on one of the many sandy beaches or catch the funicular up the mighty Montjuic mountain, where you can enjoy sweeping vistas of this exceptional region.

And of course, holidays to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without a stroll up Las Ramblas before making the most of the city’s thriving restaurant scene. Whether you’re here to eat your weight in tapas, prop up the bar during ‘vermouth hour’ or to spend your days soaking up the city’s rich artistic heritage, it’s easy to see why visitors to the colourful Catalan capital struggle to put their cameras away.

If you wish to book a summer holiday, head to our summer 2022 holidays page or summer 2023 holidays!

Explore our map of Barcelona

Exploring Barcelona

Your Barcelona questions, answered

For comfort, you'll probably want to visit Barcelona from May to July, or September to November. The weather is temperate enough for sightseeing and the sea will be warm enough to swim. July and August are the hottest months when temperatures will reach 30ºC and you'll have to sunbathe with care. The beaches will be thronged with local life and there are lots of festivals, with parties, parades, outdoor concerts and fireworks. December to February are a good option for sightseeing tours as it's usually cool but sunny, and you can enjoy the Christmas fair and lights.
Gaudi, football, beaches and food. Fashion, flamenco, art galleries and parks. From the works of its most famous modernist architect, Antoni Gaudi, to its Olympic port, Barcelona has it all. It's also the capital of Catalunya, that not-quite-part of Spain that people are still arguing over. Its football team is world-famous and you'll love its sandy beaches and the shopping heaven of Las Ramblas. The Romans lived here and you can still see the remains of a temple and ancient walls. Picasso spent much of his youth here and you'll find thousands of his early works in the Picasso Museum.
Antoni Gaudí’s unfinished masterpiece has been under construction since 1882 and is still not complete. The city plans to complete it in time for the centenary of the famous architect's death in 2026. Barcelona's monumental modernist basilica was only a quarter complete when Gaudi died and nine architects have tried and failed to complete the project because of its many problems. These include lack of money, vandalism by civil war revolutionaries and the raising of huge spires. Construction is temporarily on hold, adding to the local running joke that it's never going to be finished.
Park Guell was originally intended as a housing development and was under construction from the late 19th century until the outbreak of WWI. It's on the site of an ancient fortress, with the surrounding parkland functioning as a green lung for the city. Gaudí collaborated on the project and, when it fell through, lived there from 1906 until his death. Its main attractions are the colourful Gaudi artworks, a set of vivid designs inspired by nature. The fluid organic curves and slanted lines mimic plants, trees, rocks and shells and follow the contours of the mountain.
Barcelona’s famously wide, grid-like streets were designed to help ease traffic congestion, encourage air circulation and provide plenty of room for green spaces.
The international airport El Prat is just 13 kilometres south of the city, which means you can be in the centre of Barcelona within 30 minutes.
If you fancy soaking up the sun away from prying eyes or just want to escape the crowds, the laidback sands of Platja de la Mar Bella come with a naturist section for adults.
You'll find plenty of beaches around Barcelona, to suit both the peace-lovers and the fun-seekers alike. There are nine sandy beaches along the city coast alone, including Barceloneta municipal beach. It's probably the busiest but it's easily accessible and lively, with lots of food options and entertainment. Not only can you swim here but try windsurfing, kitesurfing and other water sports. Nova Icaria is a more peaceful beach, ideal for relaxation or family fun. With over 400 metres of sea and sand, you'll also find restaurants and bars and a game area with volleyball courts and a ping-pong table.
Barcelona is a great location for families. You can choose water sports or quieter family fun on its nine sandy beaches and there are plenty of city sights that offer family reductions. You can go on walking tours that stop for snacks that kids will love, or enjoy the interactive exhibits at the chocolate museum. In Ciutadella Park, you'll find several museums, a zoo, and rowing boat rentals on its small river. On a hill overlooking the city, you shouldn't miss the Tibidabo amusement park, with a range of family activities and attractions that will keep you there all day.

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