Barcelona is a brilliant holiday destination for all kinds of reasons. As well as having only 55 rainy days a year on average, it also boasts a beautiful beach for enjoying all of that sunshine, as well as the fascinating Catalan culture and more touristic sites than you could shake a stick at. That's why we've chosen Barcelona as the venue for this girl's guide. We'll be showing you around the best places to stay, eat, relax, and more. So pack your suitcases, we're off to the Costa Brava.
Stay at H10 Hotel Madison
Having somewhere really special to stay is an essential part of a luxury holiday experience. Barcelona isn't a massive city, but if you want to get around on foot then having a hotel that's slap-bang in the middle of the Gothic Quarter couldn't be more convenient. The H10 Hotel Madison is right around the corner from the famous 13th-century cathedral, meaning that you can view the towering turrets up close from the spectacular rooftop terrace. Whilst admiring the architecture you can also grab a cold cocktail from the bar, or pause your sightseeing to enjoy a dip in the rooftop pool. If the roof terrace isn't persuasive enough, you'll also enjoy the stunning interior of the hotel. All of the bathrooms are fully marble tiled, with spacious showers, or claw-footed tubs in the superior rooms. The rooms themselves have elegant high ceilings and feature beautiful views on whichever side of the building you're situated on. Finally, breakfast is a culinary delight of deli-style meats and cheeses, paired with fresh bread, pastries, and fruit from the local market. The perfect start to a busy day of sightseeing.
Get active at Paddle Barn
Caption: Paddle boarding is a great activity for a hot day
Once you've dropped your bags off at the hotel, there's going to be one place you want to go to more than all others and that's the beach. There are miles of golden sands and blue seas to enjoy in Barcelona, along with sunbeds to hire and people selling refreshments who walk up and down the length of the beach. Once you get settled in, there's really no need to move. However, there are lots of activities for more active travelers, too. In fact, paddle boarding is super popular, so much so that it's been added to the itinerary of the prestigious EPT, or European Poker Tournament. If you'd like to give it a go, then Paddle Barn is a great place to hire boards from. Not only is it as close as possible to your hotel, but they also offer classes for beginners right up to advanced-level paddle boarders. Those with particularly good balance can even try their hand at SUP Yoga; it's a real challenge, but so rewarding once you get the hang of it.
Eat at Can Culleretes
After you're all paddle-boarded out, it's time to fill up on some traditional Catalonian food. There are plenty of choices in Barcelona, but Can Culleretes is like walking back in time. The restaurant has been here since the 18th century, although the building has had a few different uses during that time. Walking inside, you'll find paintings and photos covering the walls. Some are of the celebrities that have visited the restaurant over the years, whilst others are paintings of the 'celebrities' of yesteryear. The title of the oldest restaurant in Barcelona is hotly contested between this and two others, but it's generally accepted that Can Culleretes is the oldest. There are all kinds of menus to choose from here but eating from the tapas menu means that you'll get the broadest culinary experience. Ibérico ham is a must; these special pigs gorge themselves on acorns, giving the ham a wonderful nutty flavour. The salt cod croquettes are also a favourite in these parts and provide a delicious, salty, crisp accompaniment to a cold beer. Make sure to leave room for dessert as their Crema Catalana is not only a regional delicacy, but a particular speciality of the restaurant too.