No matter how brief your visit, whether you have 24 hours in Barcelona or 72, there is plenty to see and do in the Catalan city. Here are a few of our favourite discoveries…

At the end of last year, DT flew to Barcelona for a busy week at IBTM World to manage the press office (of over 260 journalists!) for the annual global event for the meetings and events industry. At the end of a busy couple of days at IBTM World, we were lucky enough to explore the city of Barcelona to sample all that the beautiful city had to offer – from Guadi to Sangria and Tapas, we were spoilt for choice.
To kick-start your day, we recommend you spend your mornings visiting the picturesque square of Placa Reial, with tapas restaurants and bars lining the outside whilst the centre is filled with water fountains, palm trees and plenty of street performers. Each morning we found ourselves coming back here to enjoy a coffee and a pastry in the winter sun. Located just off Las Ramblas, Placa Reial was the perfect breakfast spot as it is extremely central and close to all transport links, the ideal start to a day of discovering.

Make sure you pack some comfy shoes – the best way to discover the hidden gems of the city is on foot, walking around and exploring all that Barcelona has to offer. Some of the best places that we found were the ones that we just stumbled across. But if walking isn’t for you, then don’t worry. Barcelona’s public transport is faultless. We bought a 48-hour travel card for €12 which allows unlimited travel on all public transport including, buses, metro, and trams.

barcelona streets
barcelona market
La Boqueria food market – a foodie’s heaven! Located just off the La Ramblas in the old town you can find fresh fish, meats, pastries, fruit, the list goes on. You will find lots of stalls and some where you can sit and eat. We sat and enjoyed a kilo of Parma ham along with a jug of sangria and relished in the buzzing atmosphere of La Boqueria.
Make sure you hop on the Montjuic cable car, where you can enjoy an aerial view of Barcelona. The cable car takes you up the mountain to the Castle Montjuic where you can walk around the castle walls and see Barcelona from the sky… just make sure you go on a clear day.
Barcelona Cable Car view
You must visit the renowned The Sagrada Familia, which makes Barcelona famous, (if you are a football fan, we apologise) as Antoni Gaudi, is one of the most iconic figures of Catalan culture and world architecture, who spent over 40 years designing the Temple of the Sagrada Familia. Work on the temple has been ongoing for 136 years, and isn’t due to be finished until 2036. It is an utterly breath-taking piece of architecture and no words can ever describe how beautiful it is. Just to note, your neck will ache – we didn’t stop looking up at the stained-glass windows and hand carved statues. If you’re planning a visit, make sure you buy your tickets online so you don’t have to queue and try and book onto a sunset tour, as the light through the stained-glass windows is magical.
Visiting at this time of year meant the Christmas markets were in full swing, so we headed to the La Sagrada Familia Christmas market, which was full of incredible local produce, hand crafted gifts and of course churros (…and plenty of them!)

In the evenings, we recommend visiting The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona. Here you will find endless amounts of traditional tapas bars and restaurants among some of the oldest architecture in the city. One hidden gem that has to be tried and tested is La Alcoba Azul, it translates to The Blue Alcove. A narrow, darkened bar lit with a copious number of candles and a very well stocked bar.

To end your time in Barcelona, we’d suggest visiting El Nacional, a new culinary concept where there are four different restaurants and bars under one roof. You can choose from a meat, fish, tapas and deli restaurant, alongside bars specialising in beer, wine, cava and cocktails. An immersive and indulgent experience that is not to be missed in Barcelona.

Accommodation wise, we stayed a 5-minute tram ride away from the city centre, where things are little bit quieter. If you are booking a hotel room be sure to request a city centre view if you can and watch the incredible sunsets over the city.