Barcelona really does offer so much – lovely sunshine, unbeatable food, city vibe, glorious beach plus lots of culture – what more could you ask for?

Since 1992 when the city played host to the Olympics, it has really stepped up its act, becoming one of ‘thee’ Mediterranean cities to visit – and so easy to get to from Manchester Airport.

We were there for just a long weekend but still managed to take in many of the sites including the most impressive Sagrada Família

Begun by Gaudí at the end of the 19th century, this film-set cathedral is still  work in progress with its wax-like spires and angular  facades – it is so worth a visit.  A word of advice however- it gets very busy, so you might like to pre-book your tickets to avoid the queues.

One can hardly visit Barcelona without a trip to Gaudi Park where once again pre booking is advisable.

Occidental Atenea Mar, a delightful property with a beautiful sea-view.

Occidental Atenea Mar Interior

The brainchild of Gaudí , the Park was intended to provide attractive housing for the upper classes, based on the English ‘garden cities’.  It does in fact reflect a real fairy tale theme from and is quite magical, from the Gatehouse inspired by Hansel and Gretel to the columns that resemble palm  trees.   Both of these attractions deserve at least half a day each of your time.

We actually stayed away from the main ‘Ramblers’ area, with the many shops and tourists,   as we preferred a quiet seaview – which we had at the Occidental Atenea Mar, a delightful property with a rooftop pool – just across the road from the beach.  A bright, modern hotel which provided excellent service and was just a short walk from the metro

Barcelona is certainly one of my top European Cities to visit.

Sagrada Família: One of the most famous sites in Barcelona

During our stay we visited several amazing restaurants including the most fabulous tapas bar – Bodega Biarritz – what an experience!   We waited a half hour to get in, however was served a fabulous glass of Rioja as we stood outside enjoying the early  evening sunshine.  The bar was small and intimate with the most incredible display of tapas to choose from.  The whole experience was amazing, the cost very reasonable – and we will definitely return.

Bodega Biarritz

Travel Information

Hotel: Occidental Atenea Mar

Address:  Passeig García i Faria, 37-47, 08019 Barcelona, Spain

Nearby Restaurants: El Comedor, Els Peixaters de la Mediterrania, El Modernista, A Brasa Me, Restaurant Casa Isabel,

Top things to do: La Boqueria, La Sagrada Familia, Las Ramblas, Barri Gotic, Museu Picasso

How to get there:

Nearest Airport: Manchester

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