Barcelona City Breaks & Short Stays
It goes without saying that Barcelona is one of the world's best city break destinations - but we're going to say it anyway! Barcelona has got everything you want for a weekend break away from home, be it culture, fine-dining, all-night partying or simply laying on the beach that you're after. In fact the best thing about this spirited city is that you can combine almost every pleasure under the sun in one short holiday!
Culture-wise it's hard to look beyond the sacred spires of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia, or his beautiful landscaped garden, Parc Guell (the very same that featured in Vicki Cristina Barcelona and other famous films), but in fact with the Museum of Catalan Art, Joan Miro Foundation and Picasso Museum all to choose from you won't be bored. There's even a few rogue surprises like Barcelona's brand new Mammoth Museum! Whereas wandering around the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter reveals a million secrets (at least with the right tour guide!) from Roman remains to the last lingering scars of the Spanish Civil War.
Above: Palm trees and sunshine on Placa Reial
For eating and drinking we could write whole encyclopaediae of great restaurants, bars and nightclubs and no trip to Barcelona will be complete without tasting some Spanish tapas, or heading to one of the city's upmarket Catalan restaurants for some high class regional cuisine. After dinner Barcelona is famous as one of Spain's best places to party (and we don't say that lightly!) so be prepared for clubs that don't even get going until 2 or 3am!
The 1992 Olympic Games reshaped Barcelona's destiny by reshaping the city's coastline, and where once lay a dirty patch of wasteland now you'll find a string of beaches skirting the sparkling waters of the Mediterranean: prime recreation space for strolling, swimming, sunbathing, sailing, surfing, kitesurfing and even a bit of beach volleyball. The city beaches are a riot of action and activity (although day trips further afield, to picturesque coastal resorts such as Sitges, will transport you to quieter sands if you prefer!).
If you can find the time during your holiday in Barcelona, it's worth remembering that the city is no jewel in isolation! Around the countryside of Catalonia are all manner of national parks, cultural sights and historical treasures... the monastery of Montserrat is a breathtaking pilgrammage that few want to miss, whilst the vineyards of the Penedes region nearby (we're right in the heart of Spain's Cava country!) make for a more than pleasant stopping point to sample some sparkling wines!
Barcelona City Breaks Operators
An alternative to independent travel, booking your holiday in Barcelona via a specialist travel agent enables you to take some of the stress and hassle out of the boring bit of travelling - ie. actually organising your break! There are many operators who can arrange holidays in Barcelona and other parts of Spain for you, from finding hotels in central locations in the city, to providing the travel information that will ensure you get the most of your weekend (or hopefully longer!) away - plus of course your flights to and from Barcelona. For example The Ultimate Travel Company organise luxury city breaks to Barcelona and beyond. Apart from saving yourself a bit of time, more often than not the packages and holiday deals a tour operator can offer turn out to be much cheaper than doing it yourself, as they are often privy to some great deals! So there you go, just check your passport hasn't gone out of date and you're ready for a short break in Barcelona!
The alternative to a ready-made package break is to go it alone, which means greater flexibility, but it also means doing some research on everything from cost of accommodation to flights yourself. However the good news is that there are plenty of deals out there, especially if you book in advance - and securing the lowest price for a hotel or plane ticket will also ensure you've got some money left for exploring the city! Being the world's largest hotel comparison site, Trivago is the thinking (wo)man's option for comparing hotel prices and using their website you can compare over a thousand offers to find the most suitable hotels in Barcelona for your vacation. Meanwhile head over to our article on buying cheap flights to BCN for more advice on buying your air tickets!
Naturally the wise man (or indeed woman) doesn't set off from home without the peace of mind of the appropriate travel insurance documents in their back pocket/inbox. To cover your trip to Barcelona we recommend you book holiday insurance with a top provider before you go. Even though you hopefully won't need it, if you do fall victim to a pickpocket (sadly a common problem in these parts, so do keep a firm eye on your belongings at all times!) or a Spanish air traffic controller's strike at least you'll get your money back!
If you enjoyed this guide to short stays and are feeling inspired to come over to BCN with your partner, then you might want to check out our article on romantic breaks in Barcelona. If however the romance has already happened and produced a couple of sprogs, then we suggest you read up on visiting Barcelona with children. Finally business folk might want to bear in mind that the Catalan capital is also a fantastic destination for conferences and corporate events, with hosts of corporate hospitality providers and team building events organisers.
Such good shopping and sunshine and beatiful architecture. I came with my husband and we fell in love wholeheartedly
reviewed by Olga from Russia on Aug.20.2012