Whether you're into art, sport, or simply people watching with a few tapas dishes and a glass of cava, you are bound to love Barcelona...
Possibly one of the most beautiful, fashionable and cultural European cities, Barcelona has it all and it is so easy to get to from the UK. An itinerary could include everything you could wish for in a weekend break or short holiday.
Art lovers will be kept happy at a host of museums across Barcelona, the most popular being the Picasso and Miro museums (what is it with abstract surrealism and Catalan artists?).
Then there's Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan and adopted son of Barcelona. His influence is everywhere - from the undulating façade of Casa Mila (also known as La Pedrera) in the district of Eixample, to beautiful Park Guell, and on to the still unfinished church of Sagrada Familia - one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Spain.
Sports lovers will be kept happy in the Olympic host city of 1992, mostly with world-class football at the Nou Camp from the boys at FC Barcelona, simply known as Barca.
Hiking routes are popular on Tibidabo Mountain, which overlooks the city, and the kids will enjoy the mountain top amusement park.
More sedate pleasures in bountiful Barcelona can be found by simply strolling the city streets to discover the cathedral in the Barrio Gotico (Gothic Quarter), and Las Ramblas, a great stretch of the city that is just for pedestrians and lined with market stalls, shops, street performers and cafés in which to order your tapas and cava.
Flying to Barcelona could not be easier, with plenty of flights and some great deals if you compare prices...
Barcelona flights are frequent from the UK, and take around two to three hours.
EasyJet has flights to Barcelona from London's Gatwick, Luton and Southend airports, as well as Belfast, Liverpool, Bristol and Newcastle. Ryanair flies in from Stansted, East Midlands, Birmingham, Leeds Bradford, Liverpool, Edinburgh and Prestwick.
British Airways and Iberia have flights from Heathrow and BA also flies in from Gatwick. Monarch flies in from Leeds Bradford, Birmingham, Gatwick and Manchester, and Jet 2 also has flights from Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester, with flybe operating from Exeter.
Using a price-comparison site and booking ahead is the best way to find bargain flights to Barcelona. Peak season is during the hottest months of July, August and September, though cool sea breezes can keep the claustrophobia of the heat at bay. Cheap flights to Barcelona can be found outside of these months, and the city is a real delight at any time of the year.
Barcelona airport is one of the busiest in Spain, but luckily there are plenty of transfer options...
Once you arrive in Barcelona you'll want to get straight into the city centre and enjoy all it has to offer. Luckily, you have quite a variety of transport options from Barcelona airport to Plaça de Catalunya - central Barcelona. All of them are reliable, efficient and clean, and they all take more or less the same length of time.
The Aerobus service is an express bus service that links Barcelona airport to the city centre. This service normally runs between every 6 and 15 minutes. You can catch the Aerobus from outside both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and it takes about 35 minutes to get to the centre.
There is also a regular bus service, but this does not run a handy night service.
The train is another good option - the RENFE train service runs approximately every 30 minutes to and from Barcelona airport to the city centre. Travel time is approximately 25 minutes.
Taxis are very convenient but you will be charged an excess for each item of luggage and a tax for exiting the airport grounds.
As one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Barcelona is blessed with wonderful hotels and places to stay...
There is a huge number of accommodation choices in Barcelona - from luxury hotels that cost hundreds of Euros a night, to charming, family-run budget guesthouses that will throw in free tapas with your evening beer!
Barcelona is quite a compact city so no districts are out of bounds for tourists. However, along the coastal path is an increasing number of serviced apartments and seasonal apartment rentals which often prove a great choice for couples and families looking for flexibility.
Prices for accommodation do tend to increase at weekends owing to Barcelona's popularity as a weekend break destination. However, if you head out of the centre slightly, great deals can be had.
However, being at the heart of the action remains a priority for most first-time tourists who wish to stay in the centre, so opt to stay around La Rambla or Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter). This area also has some of the best transport connections in terms of buses, metro and trains via Plaça Catalunya station, which is at the top of La Rambla.
Barcelona is serviced by the brilliant metro underground and staying near one of its central stops is always a convenient and popular choice.