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Welcome to a world of travel, entertainment and culture, curated from a global collective of writers, photojournalists and artists. Each article of our award-winning magazine is sure to inspire, no matter which of our destinations you call home.
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Travel to Barcelona


Barcelona - Eat, Stay, Do

1 February 2015

Enjoy our guide to the Catalan capital

Barcelona truly seems to have something for everyone. Can’t choose between a beach holiday and a city break? Visit Spain’s second most populous city, and you’ll get both. On the one hand, there’s the modern city centre, with its luxury hotels, high-end restaurants, designer boutiques and, most importantly, the architecture of Catalan Modernist Antoni Gaudi. On the other, Barcelona has a thriving beach culture, with more than four kilometres of coastline. The city is a hugely popular surfing destination in Europe, and Barceloneta is regularly named as one of the best urban beaches in the world. 

Staying on dry land is just as rewarding though, especially if you decide to explore Barcelona on foot – you never know what you’ll stumble across. Las Ramblas is a great place to start; it comprises five boulevards, with Placa Catalunya at one end and the waterfront on the other. This famous promenade is populated by cafés, restaurants, shops and street performers, and is filled with locals and tourists at all hours of the day.


The brothers behind Spain's legendary (now defunct) El Bulli have thrown their expertise behind a new tapas joint. Ferran and Albert Adria’s latest spot is part restaurant, part circus ring; expect crazy but tasty twists to old classics, and finish with something sweet from the candy floss machine.

This two Michelin-starred restaurant is an amazing place to mark a special occasion – preferably with the 16-course tasting menu. At the helm is Jordi Cruz, the youngest chef in Spain ever to receive a Michelin star, who confidently serves up inventive international dishes using the best local ingredients. abacbarcelona.com 

Botafumeiros chef and owner Moncho Neira sources his ingredients from the early morning fish auctions in Catalonia and Galicia, so you’ll be tucking into some of the freshest seafood in the city. Sample as much as you can with a sharing platter, or opt for the classic seafood paella.


Mercer Hotel Barcelona
This romantic boutique hotel is located in a beautifully restored, centuries-old building, ideally situated in the heart of the city’s famous Gothic Quarter. Stay here and you’ll be well within walking distance of La Boqueria food market and close to the Picasso Museum too.

Hotel Omm 
Stylish yet laid back, this romantic hotel is a perfect base for couples who want to explore the city. As well as the lush spa, and trendy restaurant Moo, the star of the show is the sunny terrace, which has a swimming pool, bar and gorgeous views of Gaudi’s Casa Mila and the Sagrada Familia.

Hotel Majestic 
If money is no object, spend your euros at this iconic hotel in the Passeig de Gracia. Even if you’re not splashing out on the penthouse suites, you can still enjoy the city views from the rooftop pool, 24-hour personal butler service and meals from Michelin-starred restaurant Drolma.


Enjoy Gaudi's architecture
No visit to Barcelona would be complete without marvelling at the work of its most famous architect, Antoni Gaudi. As well as the iconic Sagrada Familia, be sure to see his two houses, Casa Batlo and La Pedrera, or Casa Mila as it’s also known. You could also stroll among his surreal structures in the Gaudi-designed green space, Park Guell.

Explore the Museum Trail
Barcelona is home to some truly astonishing museums, including the Picasso Museum, the Museu d’Història de Barcelona and the Musea Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. Many of them even have free entry on Sunday afternoons.

Visit Europe's biggest food market
La Boqueria is the largest food market in Europe, and a perfect place to sample authentic Catalan cuisine. It is located in the buzzing area of Las Ramblas. boqueria.info

Emirates Staff Tips

La Carretera de les Aigues
“To disconnect, go to la carretera de les aigues (Catalan for ‘road water’) for a wonderful view of the city. The road twists up a hill next to the city, where there is abundant greenery.“
- Sandra Alsamora Haro, Customer Service Agent, Barcelona 

Costa Brava
“Places near Barcelona that will leave you breathless include the villages along the Costa Brava coastline for amazing beaches, and la Cerdaña for mountain or skiing holidays.”
- Mite Sabaté, Senior Digital Content Executive