Spotlight on Barcelona
Barcelona is a city with undeniable charm. It has fine Gothic and modern architecture, museums covering everything from art to football and some of th...Read more
Barcelona is a city with undeniable charm. It has fine Gothic and modern architecture, museums covering everything from art to football and some of the very best tapas, wine and vermouth to be found in Spain. This vibrant combination makes it one of our top three cities to visit after your cycling holiday.
History and architecture
No cycling holiday in Catalonia would be complete without adding a few extra days in Barcelona, the region's capital. The city is steeped in a rich history, both entwined with and set apart from that of the rest of Spain. Traditional Catalan Gothic design such as the stout and sturdy Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi church sits alongside breathtaking modern buildings.
The Sagrada Família is the city's most famous building for good reason. It is the largest unfinished Roman Catholic church in the world and was designed by Antoni Gaudí. Construction began in 1882, and it boasts a different architectural style on each side. Barcelona is almost a shrine to the great architect. Aficionados should spend an afternoon exploring the playful Park Güell, one of Gaudí's major works and home to the museum of his life.
Museums and galleries
Art lovers are well catered for. Step inside the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya to discover 1,000 years of paintings and sculpture from the region. Take in the treasures at the Museu Picasso and the Fundació Joan Miró, which features the artist's most striking graphic works. The contemporary art museum, Museu d'Art Contemporani, is not for the faint-hearted – it takes its art extremely seriously.
If art isn't your thing then head instead to Barcelona FC where you can see the hallowed ground home to so many game-changing matches. Explore the history of the club and take in the wealth of memorabilia at the museum. Back in town, there is an aquarium, where you can scuba dive with sharks, and a science museum.
Beaches and the great outdoors
If the aquarium inspires you, discover the local marine life by snorkelling or swimming at one of the city's numerous beaches. There's also jet skiing and other water sports on offer. The white sandy beaches are lined with bars: perfect for sitting back and relaxing in the warm evening sun.
There are plenty of day trips and hikes in the area. The Montserrat mountain range is there to be discovered and Tibidabo mountain has views over the city and coast. Both have a funicular for those whose legs need a rest. Tibidabo is also home to an eccentric theme park.
Food and markets
No visit to Barcelona is complete without browsing around Las Ramblas. The pedestrian street of market stalls connects Plaça de Catalunya in the centre with the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Its stalls sell everything from clothes and souvenirs to fruit and vegetables.
Finally, indulge in plenty of tapas. Local favourites include pa amb tomaquet (bread with tomatoes, garlic and olive oil), escalivada (smokey cooked vegetables) and fresh seafood. Authentic tapas can be found at Quimet y Quimet or La Cova Fumada. For a truly Catalan experience, round off your meal – and your holiday –by toasting this remarkable city with the delicious local vermouth or cava.Back To Blog
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