From fine dining, to art, to history, Barcelona offers a little bit of everything. And, the hotels in Barcelona are as varied as the people. You can find everything from cheap Barcelona hotels to luxurious 5-star accommodations.
CaixaForum: This impressive private collection of contemporary art is housed in a former factory building and features constantly changing exhibits. The works are in a frequent rotation, and temporary exhibits are plentiful; no two visits to the galleries are the same. Included in the permanent collection are works by Antoni Tapies and Miquel Barcelo.
If you love art, travel back in time and follow the footsteps that Picasso took as a young boy. His family home has since been demolished, but you can spend hours strolling through the streets, taking in all of the sights, and imagine how they all influenced a young Picasso. If you want to learn more about Picasso's Barcelona upbringing, head to the Museo Picasso de Barcelona.
Museu Picasso: One of Spain's most famous sons, Picasso's influence on the world of art is undeniable. At the Museu Picasso - Barcelona's most visited museum - you'll discover the artist's works dating back to his earliest days. There's a particular emphasis on his famed Blue Period, impressionist-influenced works, and some of his later pieces from the 1950s.
Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona: Modern art lovers will be dazzled by the ever-expanding collection of contemporary works from the best Catalan, Spanish, and international artists. The exhibits are in constant flux, though some established names are featured prominently. You will be likely to see plenty of pieces by artists like Joan Brossa, Paul Klee, Ferran Garcia Sevilla, and Alexander Calder.
There's plenty to see outside the museums, too. And as you walk through the streets, be sure to take note of the architecture. Much of it was designed by the famous Antonio Gaudi. You don't even need to go inside to be impressed; the buildings in Barcelona are impressive enough just to walk past! Or stop by the Magic Fountain in Montjuic for a display of light, colour, music and movement on a lovely summer evening.
If you want to eat like the natives do, you will need to have at least one oyster before you leave. In fact, Barcelona's restaurants are home to some of the world's best seafood, so it's easy to dine on a quality catch of the day. But be sure to save room for dessert!
If you head over to Papabubble, you can watch cooked candy being rolled right before your eyes. Or, you can wander over to La Granja - a famous milk bar - for a cup of hot chocolate that simply can't be beat.
Sports lovers rejoice! Barcelona is a city that lives for sport and it has a proud tradition of professional and amateur athletic excellence. Obviously, football is king, but there are plenty of other activities going on around the city, away from the pitch.
The 1995 Summer Olympics gave Barcelona's sports venues a huge boost, and more than a quarter of the city's population report that physical activity is a part of their regular routine. Public squares, parks, and beaches are popular spots for exercise; Barcelona's City Council also works hard to promote all levels of sport for all citizens.
Spectators - you are sure to find the perfect place to show your team colours. The famous Conde de Godo International Trophy tennis tournament takes place here every April, and the Montmelo Formula 1 Grand Prix is held in May. There are countless football matches to take in, too.
If you'd rather break a bit of a sweat, there's ample opportunity to participate in sport while on holiday in Barcelona. Sailing and water sports are exceedingly popular because of the city's close proximity to the beach, while the mountains are home to some of the world's best skiing. For the truly ambitious, the city's annual spring marathon draws participants from all over the world. There are also many bike rental agencies, giving you an opportunity to see the sights from a two-wheeled perspective.
For those who love a good celebration, Barcelona does not disappoint. From spring to autumn, the city moves from one party to the next - music festivals, cultural fairs, street parties, and more.
Sónar Electro Fest: Held in June, this is Europe's largest electro-music festival. Locations and exact dates change each year, but if you can catch it you'll hear all the latest techno beats from some of the continent's biggest names.
Festa Major de Gràcia: This August street party is the biggest, loudest, and longest in Barcelona. More than a dozen streets in Gracia are closed and decorated, as residents compete for the most imaginative decor. Over nine days, visitors pour into the precinct to enjoy live bands, snacks, drinks, and much more.
Festes de la Mercè: The end of summer is marked by this authentic Catalan festival, complete with parades of giant heads and fire-breathing dragons, as well as some of the city's best live music performances. There's a fun run, a swimming race across the harbour, and a bevy of cultural events.
Festival Internacional de Jazz de Barcelona: In November, Barcelona warms up with the heat of great jazz. Most of the month is dominated by performances from some of the world's best jazz musicians, held at various locations throughout the city. The local bars feature great music played by the native talent.
Good Friday: The celebration of Easter begins with the floats and hooded penitents that make up the dramatic Good Friday procession from Esglesia de Sant Agusti.
1. Scale La Sagrada Familia. Spain's most visited site isn't even finished, but that doesn't keep visitors away. Part of the charm of this landmark is that it's constantly changing and growing. Lifts and stairs take you to the top of the building's several towers, where you can take in gorgeous city views and unparalleled glimpses of the structure below.
2. Stroll along La Rambla. The tree-lined boulevard at La Rambla is a popular spot to walk, day or night. The roadway is blocked to vehicle traffic, so you're likely to see a variety of entertainment and spontaneous performances as you walk. From street performers and flamenco dancers to fire-eaters and human statues, La Rambla has something for everyone.
3. Take a lesson in art history at the Museu Nacional d'art de Catalunya (MNAC). Focused on Catalan art from medieval frescos to Gaudi chairs, the MNAC is an education in Barcelona's rich artistic history. The highlight of this ambitious collection is the Romanesque frescos and other pieces that were salvaged from ancient medieval churches in the 1920s. These works are now preserved in reproductions of the church interiors where they were originally commissioned.
4. Wander the fragrant gardens at Montjuïc. It's no secret that Barcelona is a loud city, but there's a way to escape all the hustle and bustle right inside the city limits. The beautiful and serene gardens at Montjuic are home to several museums, which are perfect for spending a quiet afternoon. You'll also find breathtaking city views and ocean vistas; it's not uncommon to find visitors lounging in the grounds or catching a siesta under a shady tree.
5. Marvel at the eccentric Modernista works at L'Eixample. Keep your eyes sharp in this part of town, as there's no telling when an architectural gem will capture your attention. There are too many whimsical and peculiar building facades to count here, reflecting the lasting influence of the early 20th century's Modernista movement.
If you're looking for Barcelona hotels that are charming and close to the action, head to the city centre. Inside, you'll find a mix of history and culture. Of course, there are plenty of other options here, as well. From boutique inns and suburban B&B's to cheap and cheerful hostels or holiday apartment homes, you're sure to find accommodation that suits your needs and your budget.