Wandering through the twisting, narrow streets of Barcelona’s Gothic quarter, with sunshine peeking through cracks in ancient walls, one can soon forget its the 21st century.
The stunning and decadent architecture in the Spanish city, some of which dates back to medieval times, transports visitors back in history.
Treading the labyrinthine street plan through beautiful squares, mind drifting to the people who walked the streets hundreds of years ago, it’s easy to lose yourself.
Barcelona is not only a city to dive into history, though. With a wealth of parks, restaurants, museums, nightlife, beach, shops, cafes, and markets, the senses can be filled in many ways.
For this trip, my partner and I opted for an Airbnb. The traditional, second-floor apartment, with kitchen, lounge, and balcony, was ten minutes walk from Las Ramblas – the lively, tree-lined boulevard which cuts through the heart of the city centre.
Always bustling with people and street performers, the vibrant promenade is packed with market stalls, restaurants, bars, and shops. Music, laughter, chatter, and the aroma of fine food fill its air day and night.
Visitors are advised to take precaution against pickpockets on Las Ramblas and in the Gothic quarter.
Our apartment was also close to the beach. Following a friendly and punctual flight with Jet2.com, relaxing on the sand, with the sunshine beaming down was truly glorious.
As with any city break – pack comfortable shoes. If you’re prepared to hike and bike around, you can get a real flavour and sense of Barcelona at your own pace.
We meandered along the beach, through the magnificent Ciutadella Park, under the Arc de Triomf, and out to the world-famous Sagrada Familia – the towering church designed by Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí.
Despite building work commencing in 1882, the impressive 560 foot structure remains incomplete to this day. When Gaudi died in 1926, aged 73, the church was reported to be just 15-20 per cent complete.
Another great area to explore is Sants Montjuïc. Starting from the harbour, you can follow a trail up the city’s Western hillside, passing through luscious, colourful parks and gardens – all packed with bright flowers, palm trees, sculptures, and water features. There are some spectacular views to bee seen on the steep climb too, over the city, harbour and out to sea.
And if you work up an appetite in Barcelona, that can’t be a bad thing. The seafood is straight from ocean to plate. The paella, pinchitos, chicharron, and really any cuisine you like, is abundant. You can discover amazing baked goods, great coffee and a plethora of restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Whatever you fancy, chances are you’ll soon see or be offered it in Barcelona.
One highlight was dining at Le Bouchon, a quaint restaurant in a Gothic quarter hotel with parts dating back 700 years. Chef Giuseppe Iannotti, awarded a Michelin star at his restaurant Kresios, in Italy, created an innovative menu of taster dishes, using the finest Spanish ingredients.
Upon indulging, exploring, partying, basking, and drifting, there was always appetite for more. The feast of Barcelona deserves to be on everybody’s plate.
Leading leisure airline Jet2.com offers friendly low fares, great flight times, and a generous 22kg baggage allowance to Barcelona from Manchester Airport.
Flights start from £34.20 one way. visit www.jet2.com or call 0800 408 5599