Barcelona: the City Break Perfect for Everyone
Barcelona is quite literally the all-encompassing family holiday. When deciding on holiday destinations, my family are tremendously difficult to accommodate for. My brother’s main requirements being sun and a beach, where as my father couldn’t think of a worse holiday, prioritising walks, history, art and culture. My mother enjoys wine and fine dining. And me, well I like all of those things. So when I was assigned with the arduous task of finding a destination where we could all be happy I was well and truly stumped. And then I thought of Barcelona.
Situated on the north west coast of Spain, Barcelona is not only a vibrant, bustling city but it is located in the ideal place for heat and sunbathing, with many hotels that have pools on the roof and balconies specifically created for taking in some rays. Due to its coastal location, the city is lined with miles of white sandy beaches, and to top it off, is a short stop from the Pyrenees Mountains for nature lovers and those with access to a car. It’s also easily accessible from most British airports – result!
As for the culture side of things, Barcelona is brilliant, with daytime activities in abundance. Like so many others in Europe, the city is home to a beautiful old town, fun to explore, with winding alleyways and old-fashioned architecture.
The architecture, however, is not just limited to the old town. Barcelona is also famous for being home to one of the most daring architects in European history; Antoni Gaudi. The city is littered with his mosaic patterns, and remarkable designs, which really can be quite breathtaking.
If possible, it is a necessity to set aside at least two days to see his various houses around the city, the beautiful Gaudi park and perhaps his most impressive work; la Sagrada Familia. This gothic Basilica towers above the city, casting a haunting presence upon those who walk past it.
After reading ‘A Homage to Catalonia’ and learning the details of the Spanish Civil War shortly before going to Barcelona, I was excited to see the history and the Catalan culture in comparison to the remainder of Spain. Upon arrival, it is evident how proud the locals are of their Catalan identity, with their language differing from the rest of the country and many flags hung up around the city. Their history is proudly displayed and there are numerous historical sites to visit such as the Montjuich fort, which overlooks the city below, providing beautiful views and ample photo opportunities.
Food and Drink
If that wasn’t enough, the food of Barcelona is beyond exceptional. Situated throughout the city are many restaurants, all varied, featuring a range of cuisine catering to all tastes available. The restaurants that specialise in Spanish food are particularly remarkable, with many tapas and seafood restaurants, quite unlike anything you would find back home. The bars and nightlife of Barcelona are also lively and dynamic, with an energy similar to Europe’s best party cities.
The general feel of Barcelona is one of vibrancy and urgency. La Rambla, being the main street in Barcelona is full of street performers and artists, where you can waste the day watching them from one of the many cafés, bars or restaurants that line the street. Not only that, but the ease of getting around is remarkable. Nearly everything can be accessed by foot and the underground system is simple to follow. We found that everyone seems to speak English to some degree and are all willing to help but of course it’s also fun to learn Spanish, or even Catalan if you really want to woo and wow the locals.
In short, Barcelona is a city of hidden art galleries, culture and fine cuisines. It is quite literally a city for everyone.