Barcelona, Spain Vacation Guide
Culture and History
From its 2,000-year-old roots as a small Iberian village to its modern culture of fierce independence, Barcelona offers the best of the Mediterranean with the unmistakable attitude of Catalonia. This is, after all, a region that tends to rely on its own unique traditions; you'll hear just as much Catalan being spoken as you will traditional Spanish, and the whole of the city feels propelled by a culture that aims to set itself apart from spots like Madrid.
As a result, Spain’s second city isn’t for the feint of heart. Influenced equally by its coastal location and cosmopolitan atmosphere, this Catalan capital thrives on sensory pleasures, and its unique personality covers hillside parks and all-night parties alike. Here, modern art and ancient history collide in a tangible way. From the seaside sculptures of Barceloneta to Anton Gaudi’s famously unfinished La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona attractions simply sizzle with energy.
It helps that the Mediterranean climate favours outdoor activity. Though you’ll certainly encounter a few chilly days if you’re taking advantage of the cheap deals and holiday specials in the winter, Barcelona vacation packages benefit from the sort of weather that’s made for sidewalk cafes and window shopping. Just be sure to give yourself a few days to adjust to the local schedule. This is a city that goes well into the wee hours, and it all but shuts down between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. in anticipation of the night’s revelry.
Things to Do
Of course, the daytime sights aren’t anything to sniff at. If you stay within city limits, abandon the hassle of renting a car in Barcelona, and hop on the metro to the Placa Catalunya station. Here, you’ll be at the head of iconic Las Ramblas, a pedestrian boulevard that threads through several can’t-miss sights.
Walk east to explore the medieval Barri Gotic with its cobbled streets, Picasso Museum and 13th-century cathedral. Head west to find the sprawling stalls of La Boqueria, the chic boutiques of El Born and Gaudi’s Palau Guell. This is an especially good spot for Barcelona hotel discounts; you won’t have to travel far after a night of carousing in Born’s tapas joints.
From there, you can either make your way to the Montjuic fortress to soak up its spectacular views or grab the metro for a change of scenery. Travel north to the hillside Parc Guell to see gardens filled with Gaudi masterpieces, venture over to L’Eixample for an upscale smattering of shops and restaurants, or veer into off-the-beaten-path territory for a glimpse of the charming Gracia village. With a Barcelona all inclusive getaway, the entire city is at your fingertips.