Barcelona is brimming from head to toe in excitement, but open any tourist guide and we can guarantee Las Ramblas will pop out straight away. But that's just not a fair reflection, because hidden beyond that famous street is a hot-pot of culture, architectural styles, unbeatable food, and endless sunshine set to a relaxed pace.
What to see and do...
Indeed Las Ramblas is worth seeing, but nestled just off the beaten track is La Boqueria Market. Stall after stall of delicious ready-to-eat dishes from an assortment of nationalities, ready to be washed down by all the fresh juices you can imagine.
From there, dive into the city's Old Town & Gothic Quarter, and get lost amongst the winding narrow but charming streets, rolling between the host of bars, restaurants and boutiques hidden down even the most narrow of streets.
Or for those into football, you're barely a stones throw away from the Camp Nou - a sporting institution where the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Andrés Iniesta ply their trade. Take a tour around the stadium and soak up the atmosphere, imagining you're Lionel Messi about to step out to face fierce rivals Real Madrid.
If you're in town on either a Thursday through to Sunday, then we definitely recommend checking out the light show over at Montjuic. Performing since 1929, the Magic Fountain becomes ablaze with colour and vibrancy to pumping music and joyous crowds. And take a short ascent up the The Palau Nacional's steps, and there'll be breathtaking views over the city waiting for you.
One of Barcelona's unique qualities is that it's a coastal city, with a sprawling coastline of sandy beaches on the warm Mediterranean sea, providing the perfect tonic to those sore feet. Or for those with an aversion to sand, settle down at one of the many beach bars and admire the view with a cold jug of Sangria. However, the main beach can get incredibly busy, so for a quieter, more spacious relax, take the metro a few stops north and saunter down.
For dinner, it's a crime to go your stay without trying either Spain's native Paella or famous tapas. The two are widely available throughout the city, but that doesn't mean it'll be good. We recommend staying away from the beaten track, and trying your luck down an Old Town alley and you should find a traditional Spanish restaurant that's served them up all their life.
Once you're done below, it's time to make the trip up Mt. Tibadabo, and trust us, it's worth the journey. Serving up 360 degree panoramic views over the city, you can then point out all the major landmarks and places you've visited, while also spinning on a few rides at the theme park too.
Where to party...
Nestled in amongst the city, Barcelona has an array of festivals and parties that allow you to combine the best of both worlds, dipping into the city's heritage while losing senses to the finest electro or rock.
Possibly Barcelona's most popular export, Benicàssim is Spain's biggest music festival attracting names such as Arctic Monkeys, Primal Scream and more to the seaside. With the main music not starting till late evening, many tend to spend their days soaking up rays on the beach and cooling off in the sea. Although classed as a Barcelona festival, Benacssim is in fact around a 3 and half hour coach ride away, but we recommend adding an extra few days onto either the start or end of the festival to spend exploring the city.
Sonar on the other hand takes place right in the heart of Barcelona and is an electro fans paradise. The festival literally takes over the city, spawning a multitude of 'Off Sonar' parties which occur on every rooftop and beach, and in every bar, pool and club.
From one end of the spectrum to another, indie giant Primavera Sound drags rock's finest alumni to the coast and will be adding The Strokes to its wall of fame in 2015. Set against stunning sea views, Primavera is also just a few km north of the city centre.
If you're looking for a festival with a singer-songwriter vibe in majestic and beautiful surroundings then Vida Festival is for you, from the La Dauruda Beach club to a stage in a forest, Vida is a lovely seaside retreat.
And if you're still stuck for NYE plans, Barcelona has two very special events bringing in the new year. NYE Barcelona is covering the city for three days showcasing indie, electro, techno and pop in a variety of clubs, while Hidden NYE will be setting up on Mt. Montujic, with music from the likes of Pau Roca and Maurice Aymard while the fireworks roar below.
So there you have it, the perfect combination between city and music festival, all played out under the beating sun. Excelente!