Catalonia Holiday Planning Guide
The fierce spirit of Catalonia region and its inhabitants has shaped the history of Spain and, often, the rest of Europe. Its diverse land is home to the metropolis of Barcelona and numerous smaller urban centers, villages, and resorts, many of which are packed with sightseeing possibilities and tourists year-round.
Despite commercialization and urbanization, much of Catalonia has managed to retain the wild, unblemished beauty that initially drew visitors to Spain. Its main geographical feature is the mighty Pyrenees range, dominating a landscape of green valleys dotted with sleepy rural communities, ancient monasteries, and working vineyards ideal for day trips.
Places to Visit in Catalonia
Barcelona: Spain’s second-largest city and the capital of Catalonia, Barcelona is a vibrant center of culture, arts, and breathtaking architecture.
Costa Brava: A very popular tourist destination, the coast offers seaside relaxation and some of the best opportunities for sightseeing in Catalonia.
Costa Dorada: Miles of sandy beaches, scenic countryside, and charming towns and villages make Catalonia’s “Golden Coast” a perfect getaway destination.
Girona: The city where history comes alive, Girona lets you experience the true Catalan spirit while wandering through cobbled streets and admiring medieval structures.
Salou: With its golden beaches, countless activities to choose from, and a lively nightlife scene, the town is a great spot for a summer holiday in Catalonia.
Sitges: Combining a selection of beaches, rich cultural life, and cozy atmosphere, Sitges serves as a true seaside oasis just outside Barcelona. The town’s open-minded atmosphere makes it one of Europe’s favorite destinations for LBGT visitors.
Olot: Renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and rich cultural heritage, this historic town is surrounded by volcanic peaks that provide breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.
Tarragona: From ancient monuments to gems of modern architecture, Tarragona offers an opportunity for travelers who want to experience all the perks of Barcelona but in a more tranquil package.
Lloret de Mar: One of the most popular resort towns on Costa Brava, Lloret de Mar showcaseslong, open beaches and secluded coves perfect for diving and snorkeling, as well as several historical sights worth visiting.
Things to Do in Catalonia
Popular Catalonia Tourist Attractions
La Sagrada Familia: Gaudi’s masterpiece and one of the most famous buildings in the world, the basilica is the must-see symbol of Barcelona.
Park Güell: Admire the views and wander through this magical complex of gardens, mosaics, and architectural features designed by Gaudi.
PortAventura World: Experience a huge selection of thrill rides spread throughout various themed areas at one of Europe’s largest amusement parks.
Casa Batlló: Known locally as “The House of Bones,” this famous Gaudi work is one tourist attraction in Catalonia that you shouldn’t miss.
El Barri Gòtic: The historic heartland of Barcelona, this area provides the perfect place to get lost in a labyrinth of winding streets and admire the buildings and squares dating back to the Middle Ages.
Dali Theatre-Museum: Located at a former theater in Salvador Dali’s hometown of Figueres, the museum was partially designed by the painter himself and houses a great collection of his works.
Camp Nou: The home of FC Barcelona and one of the world’s most famous grounds, Camp Nou is the perfect addition to any soccer fan’s Catalonia itinerary.
El Cafè de la Pedrera: With its recognizable curvy lines and unique details, this building serves as a stellar monument to Gaudi’s genius.
PortAventura Caribe Aquatic Park: Taste the Caribbean spirit at Costa Dorada with slides, splash pools, and activities for visitors of all ages.
Magic Fountain (Font Magica): Admire the show of lights, music, and water at one of the major sights of the Montjuic neighborhood of Barcelona.
Planning a Catalonia Vacation with Kids
Places to Visit in Catalonia with Kids
There are few Mediterranean destinations better-suited for a family vacation than Catalonia. Towns and hotels across the region feature facilities specifically designed to accommodate the youngest visitors, and you’ll find an endless supply of places to visit in Catalonia with your family.
Apart from the remotest villages, almost every town in Catalonia offers enough attractions to keep you and your family entertained. Even the popular tourist resorts, such as Lloret de Mar are peaceful enough for a family vacation, and then, of course, there’s Barcelona, a bustling metropolis that is certain to captivate visitors of all ages.
Things to Do in Catalonia with Kids
Whenever you plan to visit, you’ll find an abundance of things to do in Catalonia with kids. In the summer, the beaches alone offer an endless amount of fun for families, with soft sand, calm water, and plenty of facilities. A visit to PortAventura World provides water rides, shows, and aquatic playgrounds of all kinds. If you’re traveling to Catalonia in winter, try Rialp, where you’ll find some of the best and most family-friendly ski resorts in all of Spain.
Probably the greatest hub of tourism in Catalonia is its capital Barcelona, where the whole family can admire the magical works of Gaudi and enjoy an array of activities. For soccer fans, both young and old, a tour of Camp Nou will be an unforgettable experience (but be prepared to pay a hefty price if you attend a match or want to purchase memorabilia).
Tips for a Family Vacation in Catalonia
Catalonia is generally a very safe and convenient destination for traveling families. Many towns, cities, and attractions feature many amenities and are easily navigable with a stroller. Just keep an eye on the kids while walking through the historic quarters, because they might get lost in the crowds and winding alleys. Beaches are some of the main tourist attractions in Catalonia, but not all of them have lifeguards. With the hot summer weather, make sure your family is well protected from the sun.
Shopping in Catalonia
Keen shoppers traveling to Catalonia will discover that the local selection of shops is more than ample for most visitors. Naturally, Barcelona, the region’s largest city, is also the shopping capital of Catalonia. Here you’ll find anything from large shopping malls to the small independent stores, and goods that include the world’s largest brands to the products of local craftspeople and designers. In addition to being popular with the locals, some of these stores have become true attractions of Catalonia. This is especially the case with local markets such as La Boqueria, where you can experience a whole world of local tastes, shapes, and colors in one place. A true treat for both kids and adults, Barcelonines makes traditional Catalan rag dolls. Bargain hunters in Catalonia will find numerous antique shops to browse through, and art enthusiasts can discover a selection of galleries, including Galeria Tarraco.