Barcelona is a city of fun contrasts – a hipster in a medieval church, dense city flanked by mountains and the open blue sea, modern buildings against storybook-like landscapes (have you seen Park Güell?) – the list goes on. Whether you are lost in the shadowy narrow alleys of the gothic quarter peering into 2,000-year-old buildings, riding the Barcelona cable car to Montjuic Castle, or viewing the city skyline from a paddleboard right off the coast, there is an abundance of culture to get lost in and views to be seen around every corner – good luck clearing out your camera roll. To get your vacation inspiration gears churning, here are a few things to do and places we’d stay in the sunny seaside city of Barcelona!
Pablo Picasso moved to Barcelona at the ripe age of fourteen and studied at the prestigious art academy “La Llotja” where his father was a professor. The Picasso Museum displays virtually all 4,251 works (omitting some of the biggest hitters as those live elsewhere) produced throughout his life in chronological order spread over five Gothic palaces. If you weren’t a Picasso fan before, you are guaranteed to leave with at least a strong appreciation of his varying styles and creativity told in a story-like format.
Whether you intend to or not, you are destined to find yourself staring in awe at Barcelona’s most emblematic attraction, world-famous Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi’s Roman Catholic Basilica regarded as his magnum opus. Holding the title of the world’s largest unfinished church, guests can wander the symbolic towers representative of the apostles, visit Gaudi’s tomb who was sadly hit by a tram leaving him unable to finish the project, and ride in an elevator to some of the highest parts of the structure where you’ll navigate narrow pathways and see gorgeous views of the city. The project is supposed to be done in 2026 (symbolic of his 1926 death), so make sure and visit before it gains its new status.
Explore Barcelona’s oldest and most picturesque market that dates to 1217 when tables were installed near the old city gate to sell meat. Sitting at the entrance of La Rambla, Barcelona’s most famous street, the market holds over 200 legendary food stalls selling treats ranging from cones of freshly fried seafood to exotic juices fit for conquering the day.
A short stroll from the historic Gothic District overlooking the Mediterranean Sea sits Hotel Arts Barcelona – self-described as “A blissful retreat, cultural hub and fine dining destination rolled into one.” Constructed in 1991, the hotel’s unique design has revolutionized the city’s urban landscape as an unmistakable icon that serves as a lighthouse along the coast while exploring the city. Luxury rooms, suites, and twenty-eight duplex penthouses, stretch up forty-four towering floors with 360-degree views, sophisticated design, and the transparency of glass – a signature staple. The exclusive, 43 The Spa, terraced gardens, infinity pool, collection of Spanish art, and five restaurants will give you an elegant taste of Spain in an unforgettable location.
Sitting in the heart of Montjuic, one of the most scenic hills in Barcelona, InterContinental Barcelona is in an ideal location for those wanting to explore a beautiful part of the city (only 650 feet from Barcelona’s magic fountain!) 273 rooms and suites, considered some of the largest in the city, are elegantly decorated to feel warm and spacious featuring muted tones and warm furnishings. Dining options abound from a luxurious coffee lounge to an earthy cocktail bar – but you cannot miss the 173 Rooftop Terrace. Here, guests have 360-degree views of the entire city from the Torre de Collserola to the Palacio Nacional, and a pool to top it all off. Whether you want to explore the city with the help of the concierge or disconnect and rejuvenate at The Spa signed by Natura Bissé, InterContinental Barcelona is the perfect place to explore, dine, and unwind in a neighborhood you don’t want to miss!
The properties shared above are a part of our Valerie Wilson Travel Suite Access™ portfolio. Learn more about VWT’s Suite Access program here.