Barcelona, Catalonia’s capital and Spain’s second-largest city, has it all – effortless cool, history, culture, magical architecture, one of the world’s biggest football clubs, beaches, and, the underpinning of any successful trip, a local population with an unquenchable thirst for a night out.
Its standing as a must-visit city means that there is no shortage of cheap flights to Barcelona. The international airport is 13km southwest of the city.
Two very different artists define Barcelona. One is Picasso, who lived in the city from his teenage years to his early-20s. The Picasso Museum, spanning numbers 15-23 Montcada, has 3,500 of the artist’s works, from sketches to paintings and collages. The other artist is Antonio Gaudi, who imagined all those melting, morphing, bubbly buildings (the stunning Sagrada Familia, started in 1882 and still not finished, and Parc Güell, with its resident smiling dragon).
The Gothic quarter has some of the best-preserved medieval streets while the new part of town is around Montjüic hill, from which there are panoramic views of the city.
The tree-lined Las Ramblas sweeps down from the Plaza de Catalunya to the water, a lively area of cafes, market stalls and lots of street theatre.
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On the shores of the Mediterranean, Barcelona has hot summers and cool winters. July and August are the hottest months with the temperatures occasionally pushing 37 degrees (Celsius). January is the coolest month when temperatures are usually in the 10s. May and June are sunny and warm, and in September the heat starts to cool down to comfortable ranges.
Barcelona is Spain’s most popular tourist destination, and summer is the peak season. Many of the locals depart for the beach in August and leave the city to the visitors.
Ideal times to search for cheap flights to Barcelona and visit are May, June, and September when the weather is warm but not sizzling hot.
Between tourists and business travellers, Barcelona is busy year-round. September has fewer tourists, and October has lots of rain. Although the winters are mild, make sure your room is heated.
Public transport is efficient and it’s a great way to get around Barcelona. Once you’re in an area, walking is a very nice way to explore. The metro is best and buses will take you to the airport and out from the centre of town.
The double-decker Bus Turistic makes stops at popular tourist destinations in the summer. Save some money by buying multiple-ride tickets. The Barcelona Card gets you discounts at various restaurants and tourist attractions. You can also rent mopeds and bicycles, or hail a taxi.
Taxis are reasonably priced, but it’s always a good idea to make sure the meter is running. Note that fares are more expensive at night.