EUROPE is full of stunning cities, but few have beaches – making Barcelona an ideal place to make the most of a short break.
And from the Almanac Barcelona Hotel, a leisurely downhill stroll takes you to the delightful old town or further to the seafront for a midday drink or night out clubbing.
WHY SHOULD I GO? With summer temperatures reaching 30ºC but also a refreshing sea breeze, this magical Mediterranean city will satisfy most tastes. It has art and architecture for the oldies and boisterous parties for the youngsters.
ARE THE ROADS MADE FOR WALKING? Absolutely. The narrow streets in the picturesque old town are only accessible to pedestrians. But make sure the GPS on your phone is working if you’re determined to find a specific destination in this charming maze.
Getting lost is hardly a problem, as every twist and turn reveals a route full of enticing bars, tapas joints and specialty food shops in a city devoted to edible and liquid delights. Head to one of nearly 40 food markets to shop for delicious pastries and soak up the foodie atmosphere. The Sagrada Familia basilica, designed by Spain’s most famous architect Antoni Gaudi, is worth a visit.
SOMETHING UNUSUAL? You can reach the beach by cable car while enjoying a breathtaking panoramic view. Waterfront drink vendors walk around with trays of cocktails so you don’t have to move from your spot on the sand. But the more active visitor can hire bikes to see most of the coast, where domino-playing locals mingle with buskers and tourists.
This city is an art hub with galleries from Picasso to Banksy, while Gaudi left his mark everywhere, including the House of Bones, which has a roof like the back of a dragon, and the Case Mila, with its spooky statues.
WHERE SHOULD I EAT? Spain is known for tapas. But affordable lunch menus also showcase regional delicacies more typical of Catalan home cooking, like cod and tuna caught by the city’s fishermen.
Meals are enjoyed at a relaxed pace, and locals happily spend two and a half hours over their lunch. Taller De Tapas won’t disappoint on either price or quality as you savor succulent delights while people-watching in a pretty square. Residents recommend Tapeo for classics, while down-to-earth Bar del Pla is also known for traditional fare.
Meat and fish are revered in this region, but vegans can finally find a foothold in the food markets, while the Vegan Junk Food Bar in the El Born district is well worth a visit.
ARE YOU THIRSTY? Barcelona’s drunks are on another level. The long, rustic bars are always brilliantly lit and provide the perfect setting for sipping regional vermouth or local wines. Cocktail lovers should arrive early to avoid queues at Dr. to avoid Stravinsky. Beer fans can head to Ale & Hop, where lagers, stouts and IPAs are brewed. The friendly but small bar is also known for its food.
Wine lovers can enjoy a tour of the organic vineyard at Bodega Torello, a pleasant hour’s drive east of town.
WHERE SHOULD I STAY? The Almanac Barcelona Hotel is a must for foodies, just a few steps from Passeig de Gracia. The accompanying menu at Restaurant Virens, with a focus on plants, provides a fine introduction to the city’s culinary prowess.
The hotel’s Azimuth rooftop bar features an outdoor pool where you can take a refreshing dip before relaxing on the chic sun loungers. You can then warm up with a cocktail or three.
Ask for a higher-floor room for fantastic views from huge windows — decorated in muted tones with Nespresso machines and bathrooms with rainfall showers.
GET THERE: Ryanair flies from Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow and Stansted from £13 each way. See ryanair.com.
STAY THERE: Rooms at the Almanac Barcelona start from £250 per night.
A two night foodie package for two people is priced from £672 per person including breakfast, dinner at Virens restaurant with wine, Bodega Torello winery visit and city foodie tour and transfers to and from the airport.
For more information, see almanachotels.com/barcelona/special-offers or call +34 93 0187000.
MORE INFO: See barcelonaturisme.com.
https://www.thesun.ie/travel/8697025/spanish-city-cheap-tapas-rooftop-bars-barcelona/ The Spanish city of cheap tapas, rooftop bars and £13 flights