Spotlight on Barcelona: What you need to know

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Spotlight On Barcelona: What you need to know
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With flights coming in at just over two hours from all London airports, there’s really no excuse to not add Barcelona to your travel wish list immediately.

Operators like Easyjet and Ryanair offer flights from as little as £29.99 at regular intervals throughout the year and with the cost of living generally being more affordable than in London, this Spanish gem makes an affordable weekend getaway.

Brimming with culture, including several masterworks by architect Antoni Gaudi, museums dedicated to a number of Spanish artists and of course a thriving culinary scene, those who love a cultural getaway will feel right at home in this cosmopolitan city. Add in miles of pristine beach and 2524 hours of sunshine per year and it’s no wonder so many of us are jettig off to this Catalonian paradise.

If you’re scrambling to book flights already then let us look after the itinerary for you.

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Visit the Casino Barcelona

If you’re arriving on a late flight then a quick stop at the Casino Barcelona to kick off your weekend is the only way to start proceedings. This swanky spot is open 24 hours a day, meaning it’s the perfect spot for one last hurrah after a night out, or indeed after a couple of hour’s travelling. Certainly the most well known casino in Barcelona, this beach front spot is perfect for whatever kind of casino gaming you like.

Whether you’re into the offerings of SlotsLV including video slots and traditional slot games, or you prefer a table game, you’ll be well catered for here. There are all different kinds of poker and roulette not to mention sports betting as well. It should go without saying that there are huge screens for watching the sport and if FC Barcelona are ever playing, you’ll be greeted by a full and enthusiastic crowd.

On some evenings there are special events like salsa or sports nights, so if you time your holiday right then you might be able to join in on that action. Once you’ve played a couple of games or hit the bar, it’s time for the final stop of your first evening, your hotel.

Check in to Hotel Casa Fuster

There are plenty of neighbourhoods to choose from in Barcelona but one of the most up and coming surrounds Passeig de Gracia. Your hotel sits right on this street as is a modernist gem. It was designed by Lluis Domenech in 1908 and was truly pioneering for its time.

With sumptuous curves, stunning windows peeping out as though from caves and a staggering rooftop terrace, it’s no wonder that the Hotel Casa Fuster earned World Heritage Site status thanks to a ruling from UNESCO. Although it underwent extensive renovations in 2004, they were incredibly sympathetic to the building, preserving the grandeur of the exterior whilst totally revamping the interior to create a modern, stylish and decadent space.

The rooms are all furnished in a contemporary manner and every single room benefits from natural light thanks to those carefully placed windows. Some rooms feature a balcony and others their own sauna. Whilst the rooms are undoubtedly beautiful, the big selling points, for us, are the communal areas. The roof terrace is stunning and is used every Thursday afternoon into evening for live jazz performances.

There’s an outdoor pool too, with a bar right next to it that does exceptional cocktails. All of this is made better though by the staggering views of Barcelona. Pull yourself up a sun lounger, order a pina colada and soak in those views as you wait for a couple of plates of tapas to arrive, you won’t be disappointed.

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Enjoy Lunchtime tapas at the Placa Reial

Once you’ve had a good night’s rest, it’s time for the day’s activities to begin in earnest. Take a stroll through town until you make it to the Placa Reial. Slap bang in the center of the Gothic Quarter this is the ideal place to have a little lunch and prepare for the afternoon’s sightseeing. The square is a stunning sandstone plaza that’s surrounded on all sides by restaurants.

Some are slight tourist traps, but others are real gastronomic greats and Les Quinze Nits is one of the latter. Ask for a table outside and enjoy the palm fronded midday sunshine. The menu here is what one might consider modern European, but there’s a focus on Spanish produce, in particular that from Catalonia. There’s also an exceptional wine list, so if you’re not aversed to a lunchtime tipple then it’s well worth treating yourself.

The paella is a particular favourite here with the mixed meat and fish dish being exceptionally good value. However, it is essential to share between two, so solo travellers might instead choose a selection of starters in a tapas style. Truffled croquettes are cheesy, deeply truffly and crisp on the outside, whilst their patatas bravas are genuinely explosive, just as the menu promises. You really can’t go wrong here so order generously and take your time to discover what Catalonian cuisine is all about.

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Watch the sunset at Montjuic

After an afternoon of roaming around the Gothic Quarter, not forgetting to check out the unexpected geese at Barcelona Cathedral, it’s time to take in one of the most magical views that the city has to offer.

Those who still have a bit of gas in the tank can walk up the Montjuic hill, but it’s also possible to take a cable car, which we’d strongly recommend as the hill is no joke. Once at the top, you can stroll the Barcelona botanical gardens, or wander around the Montjuic castle. Once you’re satisfied that you’ve explored all that the hillside has to offer, find yourself a space to sit down and look out over the city.

This hill is particularly lucky that it faces the setting sun meaning that you get the kind of exotic sunsets that you’d expect from a Jamaican holiday. As you watch that huge orange orb set over the horizon you’ll be truly enchanted with this city, not to mention amazed that you’re only two short hours away from the streets of London.

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