Best picnic spot
Just a 15-minute train ride from Plaza de Catalunya (towards Sant Cugat) is Baixador de Valvidrera, a picturesque spot perfect for an out-of-town stroll. Pick up some alfresco eats from La Boqueria and take the steep path through the woods, which opens up into a beautiful green valley. There are barbecues in summer, so you can flame-grill your own steaks.
Take the little train from Estacion del Norte that runs along the beaches of Sitges, Platja Mar Bella and Sant Pol de Mar, stopping at each of the small towns along the route. Just hop off wherever takes your fancy.
Take the train to Baixador de Valvidrera (see picnics above) and head up to the Carretera de les Aigües for breathtaking views over Barcelona. This serene nature reserve is just 10 minutes’ drive from the metropolis and is riddled with delightful hiking, biking and nature trails. Alternatively, take the funicular to the top of Tibidabo and head towards the Torre de Collserola turning off down any of the colour-coded woodland paths. Offering enchanting views of thje city's port and by far the best place to soak in the sunset, La Caseta at Mirador de Migdia is the coolest place in Barcelona to spend an alfresco evening. Lined with trees and located behind the Montjuic castle, the bar under the stars has DJs spinning tunes at weekends and barbecues ablaze in summer.
Just five minutes’ walk from the apartments La Boqueria (www.boqueria.info) is the king of Spanish markets, selling everything you could conceivably want in your kitchen. If you need convenience rather than a leisurely browse, the basement of El Corte Ingles (617 Avinguda Diagonal) is the best-stocked supermarket in town. For breads and pastries, make a beeline for Panaderia La Mistral on (96 Ronda Sant Antoni) or the eco-conscious bakery Barcelona Reykjavik at 21 Carre del Doctor Dou. For designer labels, head for Paseo de Grácia.
Antoni Gaudí left an incredible legacy in Barcelona, from his undulating apartment block La Pedrera to his swan song, the Sagrada Família, still under construction. The city pays tribute to other great artists with the Museu Picasso and Fundació Joan Miró. The Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona focuses on 20th-century Catalan artists. The Gran Teatro de Liceu is up there with Europe’s great opera houses. Barcelona's a great cyclist's city – rent a bike take a cycle tour with Cruising Barcelona. Offering enchanting views of thje city's port and by far the best place to soak in the sunset, La Caseta at Mirador de Migdia is the coolest place in Barcelona to spend an alfresco evening. Lined with trees and located behind the Montjuic castle, the bar under the stars has DJs spinning tunes at weekends and barbecues ablaze in summer.
Don't be too alarmed if you exit the lift on the wrong floor and find yourself in an office – impenetrable planning regulations require one floor of the building remains office space (think the seventh-and-a-half floor in Being John Malkovich). Still, it's handy if you need to send a fax or make photcopies...