City break in Barcelona | from Gaudi to gastronomic bliss

City meets beach in Barcelona, where you can enjoy the best of both worlds as you lap up the culture and sunshine.

When I first visited Barcelona it rained. It was still beautiful and there were plenty of sights to keep me occupied, but on my third day, when the clouds finally cleared and the sun began to shine, I discovered everything that is perfect about this cultural city on the beach. In Barcelona, not only can you drink in the endless sights, you can drink in the sunshine, and if you head to a beach-side cocktail bar, you can drink one of those too.

From traditional tapas to modern street food, from classic Barcelona hotels to contemporary residences, from iconic sights to the lesser known gems, I’ll take you through Barcelona so you can make the most of this artistic city, old and new.

SEE | Gaudí and beyond... Barcelona's classic and contemporary sights

Barcelona is all about the big architectural sights, but this artsy city has inspired lots of up-and-coming talent that you can discover too.

Hotels - Barcelona

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STAY | classic grand residences to hidden hotels in Barcelona

From old glories to new design marvels, the hotels in Barcelona are unrivalled.

Classic | Spanish townhouse with a roof terrace and film screenings


I’d love to take up residence in one of Barcelona’s old townhouses, and Casa Bonay allows you to do just that. A converted 1860s apartment block, this cool hotel has a Spanish townhouse vibe. Old mosaic tiled floors are blended with industrial features like whitewashed brick walls and high ceilings. Each room is flooded with natural light, and there’s a roof terrace that provides a slice of zen in the city. This is also where the hotel hosts film screenings and BBQs.

Hotel Casa Bonay

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (1055 reviews)

Classic | sophisticated antique-filled hotel with rooftop pool


Barcelona’s architecture is one of the things that draws me to the city, and grand old beauty Cotton House shows why this is the home of great design. Set in a neoclassical building – once a wealthy family home and then the cotton guild headquarters – it is crammed with antiques and original features that make me dream of being a fancy pants aristocrat on my holidays. Rooms are white and cottony fresh, and there’s a rooftop pool perfect for those steaming Barcelona summers.

Cotton House , Autograph Collection

Top rated
9.2 Excellent (334 reviews)

Contemporary | Scandi boutique hotel with views onto Casa Battló


As soon as I heard about Margot House I knew I had to visit. Not because of its position opposite the beautiful Casa Battló, not because of its intimate offering of just nine rooms and not even because of its pared back Scandi style interiors. This hotel was formed in honour of one of my favourite film characters, the Gwyneth-Paltrow-portrayed Margot from The Royal Tenenbaums. It borrows her refined personality to create a thoughtful and too-cool-for-school space in the heart of Barcelona.

Margot House

Top rated
9.4 Excellent (203 reviews)

Contemporary | hidden hotel for an intimate stay in the Gothic Quarter


Second on my list of must-stays was The Wittmore. With a hidden entrance down an alleyway in the glorious Gothic Quarter, it has a no photos policy and frankly, I was relieved to take a break from all the Instagram-instigated snapping. The Wittmore is a sumptuously designed dream of plush velvet and patterned wallpaper, with old countryside style rooms and topped off by the fabulously portrayed but not actually real Lord Wittmore. Spot his portrait in the hotel lobby.

The Wittmore - Adults Only

Top rated
9.8 Excellent (694 reviews)

EAT | classic cuisine to high art on a plate in Barcelona’s restaurants

Barcelona is a king of cuisine. It’s all about long and lazy dinners here, so take your time to dine and wash it all down with some sangria.

DRINK | the Green Fairy and a modern Old Fashioned

Some of the greatest artists used to drink in Barcelona’s old bars and you can either follow in their footsteps, or you can seek out a modern bar for cocktails.

DO | high style and high culture in Barcelona's barrios

Delve into Barcelona’s ancient neighbourhoods, then wash off the day with a paddle in the sea.