Cheap flights to Barcelona
The enchanting city of Barcelona is a visual delight, and has an atmosphere that combines elegance and sophistication with provincial charm. In exploring its streets you'll discover medieval romance in its Gothic quarter and the awe-inspiring delights of the fantastic and sometimes outrageous Art Nouveau architecture of Gaudi and his contemporaries.
The funicular up to Tibidabo, or the cable car up Montjuic, both offer breathtaking views over this attractive city. Its skyline is perhaps most famous for Antoni Gaudi's masterwork, the still incomplete church of the Sagrada Familia, as well as the city's huge Gothic cathedral. The artistic legacy of Barcelona is one of the city's most appealing attributes, with museums containing extensive collections of the works of Miro and Picasso.
Barcelona is also a shopper's paradise, with the city's flair for style reflected in its numerous boutiques and markets, open late into the evenings. As the sun sets, and the city's many bars and restaurants open, the night truly comes alive. Dinner is served at any time between nine o'clock and midnight, and the festivities around the bars and nightclubs carry on well into the early hours of the morning.
Barcelona is the commercial centre of the popular holiday region known as the Costa Brava, the northern most Mediterranean seafront in Spain, as well as the Costa Dorada to the south. The coast is dotted with popular resort towns, many retaining their age-old charm, which can be easily reached from the city.
Barcelona's excellent transport system includes the metro, buses, trains, funiculars and cable cars; tickets for all (except night buses) are transferable across the system. There are a number of more economical multi-ride tickets available, including the targetavalid for 10 journeys, as well as three to five-day passes, or the Barcelona Card that combines transport tickets with discounts on selected tourist sights, shops, entertainment and restaurants. The Metro is the fastest and most efficient way to get around the city, except during the rush hour when it becomes very crowded. The bus network is extensive and is easy to master with a transport map. Night buses take over from about 10pm to 4am. During summer the hop-on hop-off Bus Turisticlinks all the main sights and tourist destinations. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive and are a good option especially late at night, but charge extra for a number of things - ask for a receipt. Make sure the taxi meters are only turned on when your journey begins as tourists are sometimes the targets of overcharging schemes. Hiring a car is unnecessary and frustrating within the city, but can be useful if planning daytrips outside the city.
With a lunchtime siesta, there's no excuse for not having enough energy to make it through a long night of partying up a storm on the streets of Barcelona. Alfresco dining is a good way to start an evening of revelry and has become a way of life in many of the city's squares. Good spots to sip on a glass of wine and people-watch are the Plaça del Sol in Gràcia and Passeig del Born, Plaça del Pi and Plaça Reial in the Old Town.
Barcelona is a trendy city with a fickle club scene that changes just about as often as its locals change their minds on what they'd like to drink. During the summer, chiringuitos(beach bars) open along the white sands of Barcelona's urban beaches, each with its own vibe and music, and are popular with both locals and tourists.
Key nightlife spots include Barri Gòtic, which despite its medieval atmosphere, boasts a great selection of bars and clubs to choose from, though it is best to keep your possessions close to your body as pickpockets operate in these areas. Las Ramblas is also full of party venues. This is where you'll find some of Barcelona's most popular and trendiest nightclubs and bars.
L'Eixample, north of the city, is the place to go to enjoy Barcelona's gay scene. Port Olimpic is great for night owls, with plenty of bars, clubs and great seafood restaurants, while the yacht marina is a great place to enjoy sundown on a warm summer's evening.
With the rest of Europe right on its doorstep, Barcelona is dripping with culture and there are plenty of regular performances of ballet, music, dance and opera at various venues such as the Joan Miro Foundation and the Greek Theatre, or the Liceu Opera House. And for a more relaxed evening, visitors can enjoy Flamenco at various venues throughout the city such as Tablao de Carmen and Travel Bar Flamenco Guide, which are both located in the old quarter's centre.
In 2002 Barcelona was awarded the title of most gourmandcity in Europe by the prestigious Le Guide des Gourmands, the first non-French city so named in the 15 years of the publication's run (at the time). Being the capital city of the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, Barcelona's restaurants specialise in the delicious Catalan cuisine, typically flaunting the extensive use of garlic, olive oil and fish for many kinds of meals. It is not uncommon to find fish mixed with red meat in a stew. The pa amb tomàquet(bread smeared in tomato and seasoned with olive oil and salt) is a signature Catalonian delicacy served with every meal in most restaurants. Tapas, now popular worldwide, originated in Spain, and these bite-sized treats are a firm favourite in the city of Barcelona.
Catalonia is a premier wine region for Spain and the birthplace of Cava sparkling wine. Dark red grapes in the region make for the darker 'black' wine, or vi negre, a stronger red concoction. Dry white wines come second to the Cava in popularity among tourists and locals alike.
Barcelona's restaurants usually open around 8am (if they are open for breakfast that is) and typically remain open until midnight. Supper hours are very late, with most residents opting to dine between 9pm and 10pm.
Barcelona enjoys a Subtropical-Mediterranean climate with long, hot summers and cool winters. Winters, between December and February, are mild and snow is rare. January is the coldest winter month, with temperatures averaging between 46°F and 63°F (8°C and 17°C) during the day and colder at night. The peak summer months are June to August, but Barcelona's summer really lasts a full six months, from May to October. August is the hottest summer month, with temperatures averaging between 77°F and 88°F (25°C and 31°C) during the day. April and November are transitional months, with more unpredictable weather. Barcelona doesn't get much rain, with only a handful of rainy days every month; the wettest months are September, October and May, with thunderstorms occurring between August and November. Although the city gets plenty of sun, it can get foggy and cloudy, with sea fog especially common in early spring.
The ideal months to visit Barcelona, the Costa Brava, and the nearby resorts of Sitges and Vilanova are May, June, July and September, when visitors can expect good, hot weather. In August, despite the shade in the tree-lined boulevards, locals desert Barcelona for the coastal resorts to escape the heat.