Things to do in Barcelona

Lose an afternoon in El Raval

Despite its relatively central location, just to the right of Las Ramblas, the El Raval district has managed to retain its vibrant and sometimes seedy identity. Check out the street art daubed across shop shutters on Rambla del Raval or have a beer in Bar Marsella (tel: +34 93 442 72 63) where Picasso and Hemingway were said to have done some of their best drinking.

Become a mosaic master

Mosaic is synonymous with Barcelona (almost) as much as football, with both Gaudí and Picasso famously excelling in the art form. At Mosaiccos (tel: +34 93 295 57 17; they’ll teach you how to create multi-coloured patterns out of tile or glass like the best of them. You can choose either one or two hour sessions, and obviously you will be able to take your masterpiece home.

Explore the Gothic Quarter

The narrow, winding streets of the Gothic Quarter or Barri Gòtic contains an exemplary collection of gothic buildings from Catalonia's Golden Age in the 14th and 15th centuries as well as Roman ruins, squares and restaurants. Plaça Sant Jaume is the epicentre of the city's political life, overlooked by the Renaissance-style Palau de la Generalitat (location of the Catalan government) and the Ajuntament (city hall). Nearby, the Palau Real on Plaça del Rei houses the History Museum of Barcelona, Museu d'Història de la Ciutat. The museum admission fee allows access to the cellar and other beautiful medieval buildings.

Eat all the food in La Boqueria

Like London’s Borough Market, the reputation of La Boqueria (tel: +34 93 318 25 84; as a gastronome’s mecca both precedes it and is well deserved. Whether you’re looking to browse the myriad stalls or find a seat at one of the many restaurants inside, anyone who’s into their food won’t want to leave.

Create your own Cava

An hour outside Barcelona, the Penedes wine region is generally considered the country’s best wine-producing location after Rioja. A tour by Barcelona Life ( will take you around the vineyards and cellars (with lots of sampling going on) and then let you get involved in making your own cava, the country’s version of champagne.

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