Along with London, Paris, and Rome, cosmopolitan Barcelona has emerged as one of Europe’s must-see cities for honeymoon couples and other romantics. To many, Barcelona on the Mediterranean is Spain's top city. With its famous Las Ramblas street, its Gaudí architecture and numerous art galleries, the Catalan capital draws lovers of art and architecture, food and music, modernism, and the sea. In fact, Barcelona has become a popular cruise port as well.
Discover the Art & History of Barcelona
Barcelona’s history has long been part of its appeal. Its Gothic Quarter, Europe's best-preserved medieval area, dates back to 27 B.C. and the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus.
The preserved historic center houses thirteenth-century Barcelona Cathedral, the royal palace where Columbus had his initial audience with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. The area's civil and cultural institutions include the Picasso Museum. Joan Miró and Salvador Dali, born in Catalonia, also reflect the passion, creativity, and intellect of the Catalan spirit.
Admire Barcelona's Architecture
Yet it is the bold Art Nouveau works native son Antonio Gaudí constructed a century ago that give the city its inimitable profile. From the neo-Gothic Palau Güell (pictured) in Las Ramblas, the city’s famous promenade, to the epic, sinuous, yet-unfinished Sagrada Familia that can be seen for miles, Gaudí’s artistry is synonymous with Barcelona.
Taste the Tapas
Honeymoon couples can savor twenty-first century Barcelona in tapas restaurants where cava—Catalonia’s sparkling wine—flows, and along the city’s exciting new waterfront. The city also boasts more than three dozen food markets, where the freshest food feeds the city. The best-known is La Boqueria on Las Ramblas.
Head for the Barcelona's Hills
Montjuïc, one of Barcelona’s famous hills, has been transformed into a popular destination thanks to distinctive museums—including the National Museum of Catalan Art and Fundació Joan Miró—plus numerous galleries, nightclubs, an open-air theatre, parkland, and the stadium and sports facilities built for the 1992 Olympics. Visitors can even see Mies van der Rohe’s original Barcelona chair on display in a replica of the architect’s eponymous pavilion from the 1929 International Exhibition.
Shopping in Barcelona
Although there are many places for honeymoon couples to shop for antiques and vintage clothing in Barcelona, a favorite place is the El Corte Inglés department store, which is like the Macy's of Spain. There's something fascinating about browsing brand-new wares in another country. Depending on which location you shop, El Corte Inglés may also stock traditional Spanish embroidered shawls and elaborate hair ornaments so you'll be finely turned out for a night of flamenco dancing.
Choose a Romantic Hotel in Barcelona
Sophisticated Barcelona welcomes honeymoon couples at outstanding hotels that include the Mandarin Oriental Barcelona (check rates), the resort-like Gran Hotel La Florida (check rates), which first opened in 1925 and underwent a $42-million transformation a few years ago; the luxurious and modern Hotel Majestic (check rates) in the best and most convenient part of the city, and Hotel Arts, a Ritz-Carlton property (check rates) boasting panoramic views of the city and the sparkling Mediterranean Sea beyond.
Is Barcelona Safe?
It's as safe as any big city in Europe. However, be wary around Las Ramblas and other areas popular with tourists; it's also popular with pickpockets.