Top five things to do in Barcelona


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Whether a culture vulture, culinary connoisseur or sports lover, it’s fair to say Barcelona is a city that can sate almost all appetites. Here, we pick five memorable things to do in the Catalan capital.

Take a tour of Gaudi’s masterpieces

If architecture is your thing, then Barcelona may prove to be your paradise. Without question the work of Antoni Gaudi is one of the city’s highlights, with the Catalan’s unique style a tour de force in the world of modernist design. The great thing about Barcelona is despite the fact it is a big city, it can for the most part be navigated on foot. So if you keep your eyes open, you’ll more than likely spot several of his important works without the need to spend half your time consulting a guidebook. The Sagrada Familila is his magnus opus, a breathtaking church that combines gothic and Art Nouveau forms.

Fill up on tapas It seems every major city in the world right now is awash with tapas bars but for the real deal, Barcelona remains king. The tradition of sharing small dishes is a way for food to be as much about being social as it is fuel. The choice can be overwhelming and the quality can vary drastically, but pick wisely and you’re in for a culinary treat. Time Out’s guide to the best Barcelona tapas bars is well worth a read. Once you’ve had your tapas fill move onto pintxos, plates of bite-sized treats served atop a piece of bread.

Visit La Boqueria Once you have acquired a taste for tapas the next stop is to visit the market where many of the city’s best bars and restaurants pick up their fresh produce. La Boqueria is Europe’s biggest food market and conveniently located centrally in the middle of La Rambla. It can get crowded but the swell of people only adds to an intoxicating experience that appeals to all the senses. The best time to visit though is the morning, when all the vendors have just set up but before the crowds arrive.

People watch on the beach The indomitable Ian Brown once sagely remarked that the only thing Manchester doesn’t have is a beach. There’s a similar DNA to the two cities – civic pride, obsession with football/music, former textile industries now faded, a history of radical politics, the list goes on – but where Barcelona has the edge is that it houses a beach. City beaches by their very nature can be endlessly fascinating, so whether you are a sun worshipper or just intrigued by stumbling across sand where you’d least expect it, a stroll on the popular Barceloneta and Sant Sebastia beaches can provide just the tonic when an urgent dip is required.

Go to the football

No trip to Barcelona is complete without sampling Camp Nou. The current Spanish and European champions are one of the greatest club sides in history and to see their talisman Lionel Messi in the flesh is surely worth the price of a plane ticket alone. Take a quick look at the current La Liga betting odds and it quickly becomes apparent just how good Luis Enrique’s Blaugrana are at present. The key to ensuring a ticket is secured, at a reasonable price, is all in the planning. Tickets can be bought directly through the club’s official website (the best option) and picked up on the day of the game, or alternatively from ticket sites such as Ticket Master. If you are a planning a trip to Barcelona in the close season, a tour of Camp Nou is well worth an afternoon of your itinerary.