Life
Adam Leyland 22 Jun 2017 02:52pm

Six of the best: things to do in Barcelona

The Catalonian capital of Spain is one of the few European cities to offer such an eclectic mix of beaches, gastronomic delights, stunning modernist architecture and a kaleidoscopic array of cultural events

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Caption: Gaudi’s Art Nouveau extravaganza is an absolute must for would-be visitors to Barcelona.

“Like a jewel in the sun”, is how former Queen frontman Freddie Mercury once sang when describing the city, and it’s hard to disagree.

With the cool Mediterranean sea offering a welcome respite from the current heatwave engulfing Europe, now may be the perfect time to grab your flip-flops and take a trip to the Mediterranean.

Scout around the Sagrada Familia

No visit to Barcelona is complete without a trip to this gothic masterpiece, designed by renowned architect and the face of Catalan modernism, Antoni Gaudí.

The Sagrada Familia, with its remarkable tripartite façade, will become the tallest religious building in Europe when the latest stage in its decades-long construction of raising six new towers is complete.

Construction of the church began in 1882 and is expected to be completed by 2026, the centenary of Gaudí’s death.

Online tickets are available for €15 (£13) here.

Bask on Nova Icària Beach

A short walk north of the famous Barceloneta Beach lies Nova Icària, its smaller and infinitely more laid back cousin, as such it's more popular with families and locals.

Enjoy a dip in the shimmering blue Mediterranean sea, a glass of sangria in one of its several bars or close your eyes and soak up the sun in peace and quiet.

Take a trip to Tibidabo

For the most spectacular views of Barcelona and the Mediterranean sea, look no further than Tibidabo, the tallest mountain in the Serra de Collserola.

Ride the vintage blue tram from Plaça John F Kennedy and take the funicular to to reach the top of Tibidabo mountain.

There, visitors will find the stunning Romanesque Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor (Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).

The church, along with its imposing silhouette, offers one of the most iconic sights in the Catalonian capital.

Beside that sits the Tibidabo Amusement Park. Adult tickets are €28.50, while children go for €10.30.

Tickets can be bought here.

Lounge on Las Ramblas

Walking down Barcelona’s most famous street, with its colourful array of flower stalls, restaurants and eager tourists, it’s difficult to imagine that the street was the sight where the opening shots were fired in what was to become the Spanish civil war in 1936.

Nowadays the beautiful mile-long avenue - which links the Placa de Catalunya to the Columbus Monument at the port – attracts 100 million people a year, and it’s easy to see why.

Whether you’re looking to pick up a souvenir, grab a bite to eat in one its innumerable restaurants or buy fresh produce, Las Ramblas has it all.

Among its many sights is La Boqueria, Barcelona’s most famous market, where visitors can find the best products from Catalonia in one place: including fruit, fish and an array of tapas bars.

Gawk at the Gothic Quarter

Sat beside Las Ramblas is the sprawling old town, which stretches from the Mediterranean seafront to Ronda de Sant Pere in the north.

Navigate the labyrinthine cobbled streets to Barcelona Cathedral, arguably one of the finest examples of gothic architecture in Spain.

Or give your feet a rest and rub shoulders with artists at the Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats), a neo-gothic bar dating back to the 1890s and famous for having held one of Picasso's first exhibitions.

Potter about in Park Güell

Gaudí’s Art Nouveau extravaganza is an absolute must for would-be visitors to Barcelona.

The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a perfect place to visit on a sunny afternoon, with its Disney-like gingerbread gatehouses, multi-coloured mosaic tiling and stone-made organic-looking columns.

This enchanting park is where Gaudi turned his hand to landscape gardening. The project, finished in 1914, boasts 3km of roads and walks, steps, two gatehouses and a plaza, and offers stunning views of the city below.

Tickets can be bought online for €7 here.