Mediterranean beach to bustling city: Barcelona is the best of both worlds

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Mediterranean beach to bustling city: Barcelona is the best of both worlds insurance

Barcelona’s unique location is why Irish holidaymakers prefer it to any other Spanish city.

Its Mediterranean beach combined with a vibrant city centre means this sun-soaked holiday hotspot has the best of both worlds.

Barcelona is located on the north east coast of Spain and lies close to the French border.

La Rambla is the most famous street in the city – a boulevard stretching for three-quarters of a mile which is bustling with tourists, souvenir stalls and theatrical street performers.

August is the hottest month of the year with temperatures typically soaring to 28C.

But remember – like many places – it’s not immune to pick-pockets so keep a close eye on your belongings.

Just strolling around this laid-back city in the sunshine is part of the appeal, so remember to pack comfortable shoes.

The alluring smells of fresh coffee and tapas fill the air and there is no shortage of sangria to go around.

The cost of food and drink is not far off Irish prices. A pint of beer costs around €5 while a cocktail could set you back €8.

Take a detour from La Rambla down one of the city’s charming side streets and you will discover so much more.

The Placa Reial courtyard in the Barri Gotic area is perfect for spending lazy days people watching.

And if you’re taking kids with you the Illa Fantasia water park is open from June to September with admission cheaper if you arrive after 2pm.

If you prefer to stay on dry land the 100-year-old Tibidabo Amusement Park sits on top of a mountain near the city and is open every day. It takes just over two hours to fly from Dublin Airport to Barcelona. Ryanair flies to Reus airport which is one hour’s drive from Barcelona.

Aer Lingus gives you the option of flying to El Prat Airport, which is just 25 minutes from the city.

With Barcelona such a popular destination you’ll have to book your flights well in advance if you want a cheap price.

The city is sprawling with hotels to suit all budgets and lots of them have rooftop swimming pools.

However, if you want to be beside the seaside in luxury surroundings the Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona hotel fits the bill.

This plush four-star is five minutes’ walk from the beach and less than half an hour from the city centre via tram or metro. It has two restaurants, a 24-hour gym, sauna, massage therapists and super comfortable rooms with stunning views of the glistening blue coastline.

The hotel’s deluxe Purobeach rooftop pool is decked out with pearly white sunloungers and a champagne booth.

Here, you can party like Paris Hilton until the sun rises at one of their swanky pool parties.

There is also a huge shopping centre with dozens of clothes stores and cafes right on its doorstep.

Prices at the Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona start from €140 per night when you book direct. The nearby Port Olympico marina is awash with delicious seafood restaurants and nightclubs but prices are at the higher end.

The best way to see the sights of Barcelona in a short space of time is by taking a hop-on hop-off open-top bus tour.

Tickets cost €28 for the two and a half hour journey.

The most famous building in this architecturally beautiful city is the church of Sagrada Familia.

The masterpiece is the work of architect Antoni Gaudi and it has been under construction for 134 years. Workers can be seen on scaffolding with a target completion date of 2026 – the centenary of Gaudi’s death.

Barcelona FC’s stadium and museum tour is also definitely worth getting off the bus for.

The Nou Camp is home to soccer superstars like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Prices for adults are €23 and children under six go for free, but queues can be long depending on the time of the year.

Put clothes shopping on your list and you won’t be disappointed. High street stores Zara and Mango were both founded in Spain and you will find the largest range here.

In short Barcelona has it all – so what are you waiting for?

FOR MORE INFORMATION:www.barcelonaturisme.comwww.hilton.com