Barcelona | A city of art in architecture, food and lifestyle

Six kilometre beaches, stunning modernista architecture, Michelin star restaurants and tapas at ever corner ensure that there is something for everyone in this unique city.

Barcelona, Spain
Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona has a unique identity not found anywhere else in the world. Pictures of the city as so distinctly Barcelona they could not be mistaken for anywhere else in the world. This is largely thanks to early 20th century artists and architects, the likes of Antoni Gaudi. If you’re a food lover Barcelona is the destination of choice with 20 Michelin starred restaurants and tapas at every corner. With six kilometres of pristine beaches, this urban destination also makes a great summer holiday with all the advantages of the city.

La Sagrada Familia is perhaps Guadi’s best known work. He dedicated over 40 years of his life to the construction of this cathedral that is still not quite finished
La Sagrada Familia is perhaps Guadi’s best known work. He dedicated over 40 years of his life to the construction of this cathedral that is still not quite finished

Best spot for sightseeing

Just walk around the city and you’re sure to find works by the famous architect Antoni Gaudi. Perhaps the best known is the Sagrada Familia, as impressive from the inside as it is from the outside. Gaudi dedicated more than 40 years of his life to the construction of this cathedral, which is still unfinished. From afar it looks like a giant has spilled candle wax over the cathedral but on closer look, every protuberance to be an intricate sculpture of flora, fauna or human figure, combining to form an astonishingly moving stone tapestry depicting scenes from Christ's early years.

Gaudi’s other works are scattered all over the city. Some worth visiting are Park Guell, a space that's out of a fairy tale and emulates an English garden city, La Perdera and Casa Batllo, among others. 

The pièce de résistance at the Museu Picasso, is the complete series of 58 canvases based on Velázquez's famous 'Las Meninas', donated by Picasso himself
The pièce de résistance at the Museu Picasso, is the complete series of 58 canvases based on Velázquez's famous 'Las Meninas', donated by Picasso himself

Barcelona’s art is not only in her buildings. Barcelona was where Picasso spent his early years. Follow the footsteps of the artist and visit the landmarks that shaped his youth, from his family home to Els 4 Gats, the restaurant where artists like himself and Salvador Dali would meet up to chat over drinks and dinner. Don’t miss out on the Museu Picasso with more that 3,800 pieces of the artist’s early works, mostly donated by his friend and secretary Juame Sabartes. The pièce de résistance is the complete series of 58 canvases based on Velázquez's famous 'Las Meninas', donated by Picasso himself after the death of Sabartés, and now stretching through the Great Hall.

The market La Boqueria is jam packed with permanent stalls selling fresh fruit and veg, cold meats, cheeses, olive oils and fish and also has plenty of spots to indulge in tapas and cold beers
The market La Boqueria is jam packed with permanent stalls selling fresh fruit and veg, cold meats, cheeses, olive oils and fish and also has plenty of spots to indulge in tapas and cold beers

Best place to eat

Barcelona is a food lover’s paradise. With over 20 Michelin starred restaurants, the city is home to Ferran Adria, the mastermind behind the Catalan restaurant elBuli, that was the world’s number one restaurant in it’s hey day.

Rising stars also make Barcelona their home, with chefs like Jordi Curz of ABaC, who is famed for being the torch-bearer of Barcelona’s modern cuisine.

You can’t eat Michelin star everyday and this not the culinary area in which Barcelona excels. Almost every restaurant serves a variety of quality tapas, whether Catalan or from other parts of the world. Ten’s is Jordi Cruz’s interpretation of what a tapas bar should be. Expect tapas like squid with citronella aioli as well as dishes from ABaC. El Jabali is perfect for people watching on the terrace while sipping on some delightful Spanish wines and indulging in favourites like patatas bravas and cured sausage.

A trip to Barcelona is not complete without a stop at La Boqueria. Barcelona’s best food market is packed with permanent stalls selling fresh fruit and veg, cheese, cold meats and olive oils. These are all laid out around the central fresh fish market. La Boqueria isn’t all about buying and selling though, you can just as easily sit down for tapas and cold beers while taking in the Spanish delicacies.

The Gothic Quarter is a maze of narrow streets that open up onto sunny squares
The Gothic Quarter is a maze of narrow streets that open up onto sunny squares

Best place to stay

The best place to stay in Barcelona really depends on what you’re looking for in your holiday. The district of Barceloneta is where the city’s six kilometres of beaches begin. Expect to find lively beach shacks (xiringuitos) and upmarket seafood restaurants – perfect if you’re planning a beach holiday in the city. If you’re a Gaudi fan, then the place to stay would be the Eixample district, the construction of which coincided with the Modernista Movement. This is where you’ll find most of Gaudi’s buildings, such as Sagrada Familia and the Casa Batllo. This is also a great area for shopping with flagship stores of many of the high street and designer stores. Raval was once the haunt of the city’s lowlife, until a great modern art museum was placed in the centre. Today there are shops and restaurants all around the museum and though not as pretty as some other areas in Barcelona, it has a certain charm. The Gothic Quarter is a maze of narrow alleyways opening up into large sunny squares. This is where you’ll find the Catedral de la Seu. El Born was traditionally the textile and clothing district and is still home to plenty of atelier boutiques. This is the spot if you’re looking for elegant clothing or cool bars and restaurants and  Palau de la Musica concert Hall.

The promenades of Las Ramblas run all the way from the Placa de Catalunya all the way to the Colombus Monument at the waterfront
The promenades of Las Ramblas run all the way from the Placa de Catalunya all the way to the Colombus Monument at the waterfront

Best spot for shopping

Though Las Ramblas is avoided by many locals as it is a bit touristy, it is an experience that should not be missed. This sequence of promenades runs from Placa de Catalunya all the way down to the Coloumbus Monument at the waterfront. Lined with trees, this is the perfect place for a stroll through the city taking in the live statues, street performers, flower stands and bird sellers. On either side of the promenade you’ll find all the big names in shops from H&M to Zara and everything in between.

How to get there

Barcelona is pretty easy to get to from Malta. Just a two hour flight away, Barcelona is serviced by Airmalta, as well as low cost airlines Ryan Air and Vueling

Best time to visit

With it’s Mediterranean climate the best time to visit Barcelona is early summer or autumn when temperatures are mild. However even in the winter, days are cold though often sunny, making Barcelona a great city destination in the winter.

Currency

Spain is part of the European monetary union and uses the euro.

Visas

As part of the European Union, Europeans do not need a travel visa to get to Barcelona.

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