A city break in Barcelona never disappoints. A great setting, good weather, fantastic food and lots to see and do...
For those on Barcelona city breaks, it can be difficult to know where to begin. The Gothic Quarter of Las Ramblas is a good starting point for your exploration of the area. Stroll down its winding lanes and admire the majestic beauty of the Barcelona Cathedral's pointed spires and the distinctive contours which have made Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia Church a favourite with architects and artists alike.
Children can roller-blade along the scenic promenade of the Barcelona Marina, whilst parents sit back and relax in the sun and watch the world go by on one of the only city beaches in the country. As the sun sets, you can go for a gentle evening stroll up to the impressive Olympic Port as the cable cars in the background make their way up to the hills of Tibidabo and Montjuic.
For football fans, there's nowhere better to spend an afternoon in the city than the FC Barcelona Nou Camp stadium, where you can admire the vast size of the venue and learn more about the football players and the history of the game in Spain.
For art lovers, the entire city is a treasure trove of beautiful works and the Miro Foundation, a modern-art gallery, is an absolute must-see.
Anyone who wishes to indulge in some retail therapy will feel perfectly at home in Barcelona. All of the big Spanish fashion labels, including Mango and Zara, can be found in the shopping centres and the department store El Corte Ingles is particularly great for clothing.
For evening entertainment, the nightlife in Barcelona is legendary. There is a huge range of nightclubs and bars, as well as a fantastic selection of restaurants serving everything from traditional Spanish cuisine to international dishes.
Getting into the city from Barcelona's El Prat Airport is easy. Step on to the train at the airport station and hop off at the Metro Underground stations of Barcelona Sants, Passeig de Gracia or Clot, from where you can connect to most of the central areas.
Alternatively, take one of the regular and express buses that run from the airport and stop at a couple of central places, or take an official taxi from the airport rank and pay around 20 euros to get into central Barcelona, though be aware that traffic can extend your journey at peak times.
Once in the city it's easy to get around. Use Barcelona's Metro system - it's cheap, covers a lot of ground and is a doddle to use. Public buses are also cheap and frequent, though they can get snared up in traffic. Night buses run after hours. You can even hire a bike - Barcelona is a bicycle-friendly city and designated bike lanes enable safer cycling. There are a number of handy spots from which to hire bikes during your break.
Barcelona is a year-round holiday destination, with daily non-stop flights from the UK taking around two hours...
It's worth noting that it will be at its hottest and busiest during the months of June, July and August. Some may prefer the cooler temperatures and slightly quieter ambience of the city from September until May.
Barcelona rarely gets very cold, with the average temperature hovering at about 23C. At its coldest it is approximately 12C. Rainfall is rare during the summer months and infrequent during the rest of the year.
Barcelona has a constant run of events, openings and fiestas. Here are some of the best on offer...
Feria de Abril de Catalunya; April: This is a sprawling, joyous, week-long event, which involves rows of colourful marquees, music, dancing and plenty of sherry for the adults and candy floss for the kids.
Montjuic de Nit; July: A dusk-till-dawn celebration consisting of dance, cinema, theatre and music. The museums of the city stay open until 4am or so.
Fiesta Major de Garcia; Third week of August: The Fiesta Major de Garcia includes a street-decoration competition, in which residents dress their streets up to look like pirate ships or rain forests. There are bouncy castles, concerts and street dancing during the festivities, making it perfect for families on city breaks to Barcelona.
For some more fun things to do, why not try some of our recommendations?
Families: For stunning views, plenty of picnic spots and the odd mosaic lizard, head to Park Guell on El Carmen Hill. The famed Antoni Gaudi designed this stunning beauty spot and it's a wonderful place to escape the city buzz and enjoy family fun time.
Active types: You'll feel like a hipster in Los Angeles when you strap on a pair of roller blades and swish along the beach-side promenade in La Barceloneta. Or visit the Olympic Park on Montjuic Hill and pretend you're a world class athlete.
Relaxing: Cool off with a journey through the works of one of Spain's greatest artists at the Picasso Museum, which is housed in five interconnected Catalan homes that are centred on a tree-strewn courtyard. It's a fascinating and hushed break from the buzz on the streets.
Romance: Grab a bottle of Cava and claim a prime spot to see the changing colours of the Magic Fountain, which is in the Montjuic neighbourhood. The jets spray in time to music and you can't help but be captivated as you sit under the night sky with your loved one at your side.
Nightlife: Cool clubs and groovy bars are waiting for you when the sun sets, though you should follow the lead of the locals and go out late, snack on tapas, drink beer or Cava around Las Ramblas and the Gothic Quarter, and wait until later - much later - when the night-time action really heats up.