A day in Barcelona is like wandering through a dream – from the historic Gothic quarter to age-old architecture and sun-drenched beaches, there is simply something to please everyone in this mesmerising city. The boundless culture here is only topped by a world-class drinking and dining scene – so whatever you choose to do with your day, you can be sure to come away feeling enriched, inspired, and satisfied. Here’s just a few of the best places you could head to for a delicious meal or an invigorating activity…
Named for the enormous incense-burner which hangs in the nearby cathedral, this is one of the city’s top traditional seafood restaurants. The wood-paneled walls, crisp white linen tablecloths and flotilla of long-aproned waiters make it an elegant place to dine. The freshest seafood on the market is collected each morning from harbours in Catalunya and Galicia, and served up just hours later. This is Spanish seafood at its freshest and most traditional.
Els Quatre Gats
The Four Cats is worth visiting for its building alone – a handsome Modernista affair, by Gaudí’s contemporary Puig i Cadafalch. It also has a colourful history as a former watering hole of Picasso and other artists of the time. The tiled and galleried interior is just as stunning, and the Mediterranean cuisine served here will blow you away too. If you don’t feel like a full meal but are intrigued to see inside, you can always opt for a coffee in the bar.
This stylish and inviting café features exposed brick walls, simple wooden tables, low lighting and a jazzy soundtrack. There’s a huge marble table in the window, ideal for a big brunch with newfound friends, and a cute corner where kids can play with toys and a blackboard. The menu provides plenty of choice, from bistro classics such as burgers, quiches and salads, to more elaborate meals including fresh pasta with pumpkin or duck, all prepared with top-quality produce.
Things to do and places to go…
Bask on a beach
Barcelona has some wonderful beaches perfect for resting aching feet after a few hours of sightseeing. Barceloneta is the most popular, with its lovely sweep of golden sand and promenade backed with restaurants. For something less crowded and more unusual, walk further north towards the Fòrum area – this seawater swimming pool is part of an enclosed bathing area, which is paved and has no sand. Enter the water via the steps and make sure to capture a picture – it looks stunning in photos!
Get lost in the Gothic Quarter
Navigate your way through a warren of cobblestone alleyways lined with bars and quirky shops, dotted with quiet little cutlets, in the atmospheric medieval quarter of Barri Gotic. Eventually you’ll almost certainly surface on La Rambla, or the Via Laietana, which flanks the area on the other side. This centre of the old city has many peaceful squares to enjoy your surroundings, however if you venture into the heart of the district you’ll come across La Seu cathedral, which features a stunning courtyard full of plants – and geese!
La Sagrada Familia and Park Guell
No trip to Barcelona would be complete without visiting two of Antoni Gaudi’s most renowned works of architecture. Still under construction, the enormous basilica sits in the heart of the city centre, whilst Park Guell is located on Carmel Hill. Both offer enchanting sights, from the dominating spires of the beautiful basilica to the mosaic structures weaving their ways throughout the tree-covered hillside of the park.
Be enchanted at the Font Màgica
Built for Barcelona’s 1929 World Exposition, this water, sound and lightshow has been drawing tourists ever since. Sure, the Magic Fountain borders on the kitsch side – but what’s not to love about jets of multi-coloured water rising in sync to cheesy 1980s numbers and show-tunes?
Seek out street art
Barcelona’s graffiti artists are a proud bunch, and you’ll find some great examples of their work around town, particularly in El Raval and Poblenou. The city also has a long tradition of street art and sculpturing. Some better-known examples include Peix, a giant fish sculpture designed by Frank Gehry overlooking the beach, Roy Lichtenstein’s 15m-high Barcelona Head at the Port Vell, Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies’ Monument Homage to Picasso on the Passeig de Picasso, and Fernando Botero’s enormous cat on the Rambla del Raval. Seek them out or simply see if you pass any during your time here!
Time to set sail?
Take a look at our Deals section to see if there’s a sailing featuring beautiful Barcelona by clicking here. Alternatively, just give us a call for free on 0800 107 2323 – a member of our cruise team will be happy to help!