24 hours in Gràcia: A perfect day in Barcelona's hippest 'hood
City breaks in Spain
Once a village, now part of the city, Barcelona's hippest 'hood is worth a trip in itself, says Nicola Brady.
10am: See the Park Güell
If you want to see Barcelona as the locals do, spend a day exploring Gràcia. With the feel of a hidden Catalan village, the neighbourhood is a tumble of streets filled with pretty, pastel facades, twisted iron balconies and mosaic tiles. Begin your day with an amble around Park Güell, the Gaudi-designed garden... the city views are stunning.
How: parkguell.cat; tickets from €7 online.
2pm: Mercat de la Llibertat
Want to wander through a market like La Boqueria, but avoid the crowds on Las Ramblas? Mercat de la Llibertat is a smaller, calmer spot in Gràcia, and has occupied its Modernista home since 1888. Meander between the stalls and pick up some fresh bread, Jamón Serrano and Manchego for a picnic in a nearby park. Bring an appetite!
How: The market is open from 8am-8.30pm (or 3pm on Saturdays, closed on Sundays). See mercatsbcn.com.
5pm: Shop on Carrer Verdi
If you're after a bit of retail therapy, avoid the big brands along Passeig de Gràcia and take a stroll along Carrer Verdi. Here you'll find quirky boutiques, great vintage shops and any number of bars and cafés.
There's also an art-house cinema, and Verdi Park, if you fancy a little breather. Finish up in the sleek Elephanta - a gin bar with so many G&T combinations it'll make your head spin.
How: See cines-verdi.com; elephanta.cat
8pm: Schmooze in Plaça del Sol
There's no better way to spend an evening in Barcelona than drifting between bars in this buzzing city square. If you're lucky, you'll nab an outside table and nibble on tapas as you indulge in some A-Grade people watching. Stay at El Palauet, a palatial Modernist mansion with a rooftop spa and terrace.
How: Suites at El Palauet (eplivingbarcelona.com) start at €499, sleeping up to four.
Ryanair (ryanair.com) and Aer Lingus (aerlingus.com) fly to Barcelona. See spain.info and barcelonaturisme.com for more. All prices subject to availability.