You can’t beat Barcelona when it comes to the ultimate summer holiday destination. Summers in the city are luxuriously hot and sunny, perfect for days spent relaxing on the beaches and dipping into the Mediterranean Sea.
Barcelona combines its laid back pace, unbeatable cuisine, and rich culture to charm any visitor to the city. Whether your perfect holiday is spent poolside topping up your tan, or exploring every hidden gem that can be found, we can help curate the best trip.
This is our complete guide to the best summer holiday to Barcelona:
Activities and things to do
For art aficionados:
Barcelona is the place to be for any art lover. The city itself is a living museum of the Modernista style of architecture, with almost every street boasting an iconic building. The Catalan capital is jam packed with fantastic art galleries and museums; we recommend a visit on your summer holiday here to these spots:
- MNAC: National Art Museum of Catalonia – housed inside the breathtaking Palau Nacional building, this museum has over 5,000 permanent works dating from the mid-20th century onwards
- CCCB: Contemporary Cultural Centre of Barcelona – the CCCB is an arts centre with a core theme of city and urban culture, organising several exhibitions, debates, festivals, and concerts throughout the year.
- MACBA – Contemporary Museum of Art in Barcelona – contemporary art museum showing three periods of modern art from the forties to present day.
Take a look at our blog for more ideas of art galleries and museums to visit in Barcelona.
For history buffs:
Outside of the fantastic selection of art museums that are on offer, there’s also a wide variety of other history museums in Barcelona. There’s a museum for everyone’s tastes, whether you’re into learning the history of the city and region, or if you want something quirky and fun.
Here are our just a few of our favourites:
- FC Barcelona Museum: the most visited museum in Barcelona, and the perfect place for football fanatics. Learn the history of the successful Barça side, see their medals and trophies, and take a tour around the stadium itself.
- Chocolate Museum: the perfect trip for any sweet tooth, learn about the history of chocolate and its journey to Europe, see awesome chocolate sculptures and even taste the delicious delights on your way round!
- CosmoCaixa – an interactive science museum suitable for all ages, with nine floors each with their own theme: from a real-life replica of the amazon rainforest to a planetarium!
For more ideas of different museums to visit, take a look at our blog on museums in Barcelona.
For the sun worshippers:
On a summer holiday to Barcelona, it’s a must to get outside and soak up the beautiful weather! For those that just want to get every last drop of sunshine possible during their trip, we recommend the following activities:
Head to the beach!
There is over 5 km of sandy coastline in Barcelona and nine beaches in total. They pass through several districts, and each have their own distinct style – closer to the city centre they are livelier and more touristic, whereas the further beaches are more quiet and serene. Barceloneta is the closest to the city, and therefore usually busiest, but perfect if you want some fun and ambience. We recommend Mar Bella or Levant for a quieter experience, and for somewhere in between the two, try Nova Icaria or Bogatell.
Have a drink at a beach bar
After a day sunbathing at the beach, sit back and watch the sunset with a drink at one of the chiringuitos (beach bars). There are several excellent bars serving food and drinks with deckchairs on the beach, here’s a few of our faves:
- Xiringuito Escribà
- La Deliciosa
Check out our blog for a few more of our favourite beach in Barcelona.
Rent a private boat
The ultimate day of luxury in the sun is spent sunbathing on board your own private boat. Hire a boat for the afternoon, listening to music and drinking cava, to feel like a true celebrity on your holiday to Barcelona!
Barcelona is a true foodie’s paradise. Not only does it offer some of the best Catalan cuisine in the region, but thanks to its diverse, metropolitan population, you can find pretty much every cuisine on earth here too. Whether you want the fine-dining experience of a Michelin-starred tasting menu, or a light, street bite on your way to your next sightseeing spot, we’ve got you covered:
Best restaurants for tapas:
- Bodega Biarritz
- Bar Canete
- La Tasqueta de Blai
This is to name just a few of our favourites, for more suggestions and detail on these fantastic tapas spots, take a look at our blog on the best 20 tapas bars in Barcelona.
Take a cooking class
If you want to have a memorable experience on your holiday to Barcelona, why not try your hand at making the classic dishes yourself? Take a cookery course, meet some new interesting people, and come home with some new recipes to impress your friends and family with.
We recommend the following cookery classes:
- Bcn Kitchen in el Born – includes a visit to the market, and a cooking course of your choice lead by professional chefs.
- Cook & Taste – one of the first in Barcelona to start offering cooking classes over ten years ago, also includes a trip to the Boqueria market!
The Catalan capital is a popular destination for families, and the city has lots to offer for kids too! To keep your little ones (or big kids!) entertained, we recommend the following activities:
Tibidabo Amusement Park
Tibidabo is the oldest amusement park in the whole of Spain and can be seen up on the mountain overlooking Barcelona from all over the city. It’s not a white-knuckle style theme park but is an enjoyable visit for all ages with some spectacular panoramic views.
Home to Europe’s largest sea tunnel, where you can see sharks, rays, and moonfish swimming above and around you! The kids will love exploring the tanks and special exhibitions here.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
A fantastic spectacle that is a must-visit on your summer holiday to Barcelona. The Magic fountain is a nightly show that features a water fountain that dances to light and music, by the Plaça Espanya. Shows last about 20 minutes so are the perfect length to capture any little one’s attention
Where to stay
For any visitor to Barcelona, staying in the centre of the city will make accessing all the activities on your list far easier. There’s a great public transport network in Barcelona that makes getting around the city super quick and easy, but it’s even better if you can walk the streets to your next visit.
We recommend staying in areas such as the Gothic Quarter and El Born to have an authentic-feeling experience of Barcelona. Here you can find some of the city’s most historic buildings, with the largest and best-preserved medieval quarter in Europe being found here. What’s more, this is where you will find some of the best bars and restaurants in town.
In the summer, for those that intend on spending every day at the beach, we can’t recommend anywhere better than the Barceloneta neighbourhood. Be the first to arrive on the beach and the last to leave, staying just minutes away from the beautiful coastline.
Take a look at our blog about the best areas to stay in Barcelona where we go into more depth!
At AB Apartment Barcelona, we have over 500 apartments to rent in the city to suit your needs. Take a look through our website or contact our friendly team who will be more than happy to help you find your perfect apartment for your summer holiday to Barcelona.