Barcelona

As the Catalonian capital of Spain, Barcelona is a vibrant city, famous for its music scene, cuisine, sporting teams and as a designated world-class city. Located on the north-east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, facing the Mediterranean Sea, visitors to Barcelona can expect to see Moorish influences throughout the cities architecture. A bilingual city, Spanish along with Catalan is widely spoken throughout Barcelona. The promotion of the Catalan language has seen Catalonian culture embraced across the city, making it one of the best destinations for tourists to experience this unique ethnic community that has existed since the middle ages. The landscape of Barcelona is particularly dramatic in that the highly-developed city built on a plain, with the Besós River to the north and Llobregat River to the south is surrounded by the rocky Montserrat mountains, giving the city a rugged backdrop.

A cosmopolitan city, those booking a getaway to Barcelona can expect to stay in one of the city’s countless stylish hotels. Many of the hotels embrace the rich artistic culture of the region, including the luxury boutique Hotel Neri, forming part of a once mansion dating from the 17th century, centrally located next door to the Barcelona Cathedral. As one of the newest luxury hotels in the city, the Cotton House Hotel set in the heart of Barcelona’s historic centre, was once the headquarters of the Association of Cotton House Manufacturers and a part of the buildings history that can be seen throughout the hotels character. Boasting luxury suites, contemporary cuisine in the hotel’s restaurant & Bar and an outdoor pool, the Cotton House Hotel is widely known as one of THE places to stay in Barcelona. A completely different option is to choose a self-catering apartment in the city centre, for a great location with easy transport links throughout the city. These modern style apartments feature balconies and state of the art facilities to ensure a comfortable stay during your trip to Barcelona.

A city break to Barcelona would not be complete without trying its world-famous Catalan cuisine. Known for its variety of fine produce and ingredients, traditional Catalonian cooking often features dishes that combine both seafood and meat, known as ‘May Y Mantagna’ ( ‘sea & mountain’ aka ‘surf & turf’).The Mediterranean climate of Barcelona, coupled with its fertile soils make it the ideal location for growing high quality fruit and vegetables. One of the most popular staples enjoyed in Catalan cooking is the simple pa amb tomàque (bread with tomato’s), a tasty combination of toasted bread, rubbed with tomato’s, olive oil, garlic and salt. Not only is the city known for its traditional cooking, Barcelona is also famous for its contemporary cuisines from around the world and features a wonderful array of Michelin starred restaurants. These include, amongst others, the Japanese Koy Shunka restaurant featuring the finest Japanese cuisine made with only the best Mediterranean ingredients, where the food is prepared in front of you for an added theatrical element to your meal.

Featuring the best preserved Gothic quarter in Europe, this labyrinth situated in the heart of Barcelona’s old city features both the remains of the city’s roman wall and a host of medieval landmarks. Other attractions of architectural note in the city include some of Gaudi’s masterpieces, Casa Batlló and Palau Guell, as well as the Maritime Museum of Barcelona, housed in the Drassanes Reials de Barcelona building, formerly used for shipbuilding between the 13th and 18th centuries. If shopping is the reason you have booked a city break to Barcelona, you won’t be disappointed with the myriad of shops the city has to offer. From traditional markets selling the freshest Mediterranean ingredients, quaint workshops producing traditional handmade gifts and furnishings, to stylish fashion boutiques stocking the latest trends and luxury pieces.

With its typical Mediterranean climate, Barcelona experiences warm summers with temperatures reaching highs of 38 degrees Celsius during August, coupled with mild winters.Visit in the high summer and you can make the most of the celebrations and range of free events that take place across the city for tourists to enjoy. However, if you would prefer to avoid the crowds, there is still plenty to see and do during the winter months, with the opportunity for you to enjoy a true Catalonian experience, with fewer tourists in the city. To make the most of the mild weather and quieter times, the periods leading up to and winding down after the main tourist season between April – June and September – October are known to be some of the loveliest times to visit the city.