EATING From restaurants such as Albert Adrià’s Tickets to his take on the Mexican oeuvre in eateries Hoja Santa, or Niño Viejo, Barça is a lush larder of decadent deliciousness. There is also an abundance of edible retail morsels to pick over. Make a proper meal out of Sunday picnicking in Parc de la Ciutadella (where you’ll also find a zoo, rowing boats and a grotesque fountain) with a basketful of tasty takeaway soupçons from the famous La Boqueria food market.
BEACHES Life’s a beach, or at least it can be in the capital of Catalunya, or very close by. The city’s most popular, La Barceloneta, sits alongside the neighbourhood of the same name – a working-class gem packed full of tiny apartments and family-run fish restaurants. Further afield, the rainbow oasis of Sitges is home to 17 individual lidos. Whether you seek small, large, quiet, busy, naturist, or family-friendly, you’ll find a playa to suit your choice of bathing/birthday suit.
GAUDÍ A true Modernist metropolis, the city is pierced with enough precious stones to pique even the snootiest 19th-century neophiliac’s interest. From the fantasy landscape of Parc Guell in the north of the city to the sculpted beauty of Casa Milá, Casa Batlló and Casa Figueres, Antoni Gaudí has made his mark all over town. Perhaps most impressive, yet still unfinished, the architect’s Sagrada Familia cathedral is a true monument of modernist construction.
MAGIC FOUNTAIN The fountain show at Plaça Espanya is the essence of Spanish spectacle. While the frequency of the event seems to change with the seasons – be sure to check out timetables online, beforehand – there is typically at least one daily evening show in the summer months. Light, colour, music, water, intensity and calmness are all there to be absorbed. Particularly cheesy, yet absolutely goose-pimpling, is experiencing the display when it’s accompanied by the beauty of Freddie Mercury’s Barcelona blaring in the background.
CAMP NOU Home to FC Barcelona since 1957, the Camp Nou football stadium is a verified city icon. With a capacity of nearly 100,000 it is also the most accommodating stadium in the country – take that Bernabéu, Madrid. Tickets to see the venerated Barça can be purchased online at fcbarcelona.es but, if you can’t swing a ticket to a game, the hour-and-a-half stadium tour is almost as exhilarating, from €25 approx.