Vibrant, vivacious and vanguardista, Barcelona has become famous as one of Europe’s most exciting and cosmopolitan cities. Basking in the balmy Mediterranean breeze, yet within easy reach of the slopes of the high Pyrenees, it is not surprising that the Catalan capital has long been considered Spain’s best city in which to live. The rich and beautiful have embraced a lifestyle that’s become known as ‘tropical chic,’ and every year almost four million visitors are lured here by an urge to sample the many charms of life in this Mediterranean playground.
Here are a few extra reasons why they keep coming back:
1 – The Barcelonacard is valid for 2, 3, 4 and 5 days and has been described as the best buy in Barcelona. It covers travel on public transport and gets you freebies and discounts at about 100 venues, sights and outlets around the city. You can buy online through www.barcelonaturisme.com and prices start at 33.30 euros.
- 2 – Sagrada Familia Basílica – Antonio Gaudí’s most audacious building is certainly one of the most astounding manmade structures on earth. With almost 3 million visitors a year it is, justifiably, one of Spain’s premier tourist draw-cards.
3 – Barcelona has no less than 55 museums, taking in almost the entire range of human interests…including the big three: there are museums dedicated to Chocolate (www.pastisseria.com), Football (www.fcbarcelona.com) and Sex (www.erotica-museum.com).
4 – It often seems that it is impossible to get from A to B in Barcelona without crossing the irresistably bustling congregation of street artists, mimes, jugglers, buskers, flower-sellers, fortune-tellers and tourists that gather day-and-night in La Rambla.
5 – Passeo de Gracia, Barcelona’s premier shopping-belt is arguably the trendiest shopping street in the whole of Spain. (see www.barcelonashopping.com)
6 – There are 40 theatres in Barcelona and 3 major auditoriums (with capacity for over 2,000). You can find out what’s on and book tickets through the central ticket agency Entrada (www.telentrada.com).
7 – A 1292m cable-car connects two of Barcelona’s most enchanting quarters: Montjuïc Hill and Barceloneta beach (www.conocerbarcelona.com/teleferico). A ticket is €15 return.
8 – Hop-on, hop-off transportation all over the city on the open-top ‘Barcelona Bus Turistic’ (www.barcelonabusturistic.cat) costs €23 for 1 day or €30 for 2 days.
9 – Barcelona offers an unusual opportunity to combine a citybreak with a beach holiday. There are 6 beaches within the city (5 blue flags for cleanliness) totaling 4.2km of white sand.
10 – Barcelona’s wonderful Olympic Museum (www.museoolimpicbcn.cat) is unmissable for sports enthusiasts.
11 – Montjuïc’s Fundacio Joan Miro (www.fundacionmiro-bcn.org) is one of Europe’s premier centres for contemporary art.
12 – Few people realize that Barcelona is home to Europe’s longest shopping street; Sants and Creu Coberta has over 350 shops, bars and restaurants. (see www.barcelonashopping.com)
13 – Museo Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (www.mnac.es) exhibits over 1,000 years of art but it is definitely Picasso who’s the main crowd puller here.
14 – Take a sporty little yellow convertible GoCar for a spin around the city. Tours start at €35 (see www.gocartours.es).