REAL TOUR DE FORCE
FC’s footballing heroes for a blessing. It was also great to cycle through the old Olympic park with its wide-open spaces, great views and fascinating modern sculptures.
I love Spanish food and was delighted to stumble upon La Fonda restaurant just off the famous La Rambla.
Their well-priced three-course menu includes the tasty regional dish fideua negra – noodles dyed black with squid ink – or a hearty paella for just £16.
Kids have their own menu for £11 and you can add a litre jug of sangria for under a tenner.
The hop-on-hop-off tourist bus was a great way of visiting other sights, such as Gaudi’s awe-inspiring unfinished cathedral La Sagrada Família, his ambitious landscape garden project Park Güell and, of course, Barcelona FC’s illustrious stadium Camp Nou. And we couldn’t resist grabbing our buckets and spades and heading to the sandy beaches, one of Barcelona’s unique draws.
Several operators offer tours along the coast and we went for a two-hour sailing trip, booked through website Viator before we left home.
Our captain, a friendly Barcelonaborn skipper called Frank, met us on the waterfront then – armed with carrier bags of beer, water, Coke and crisps – led us to our beautiful 12m yacht then out along the coast.
The skyline from the sea was incredible and Frank picked out some of the places we’d visited then encouraged the kids to help him steer.
There’s a much-loved phrase in the football-crazy city that Barcelona FC is more than just a club.
Well, Barcelona is more than just a great city break destination for adults – it scores with families too. GRAN CANARIA: Enjoy seven nights’ B&B at the five-star Melia Tamarindos Hotel in San Agustin. Pay £482 and fly from Gatwick on December 1. Pay £473 to fly from Manchester on December 2. See travelrepublic.co.uk. FUERTEVENTURA: Explore Caleta de Fuste with seven FESTIVE AMSTERDAM CRUISE: A three-day cruise to Amsterdam on board MV Columbus is from £259. Includes two nights’ GREECE: TRAVEL with experiences at the core was one of this year’s major trends but 2019 will take it even further. “Doing” will be equal with “going”, and almost two thirds of travellers value experiences more than possessions. The places travellers eat and sleep, shop or watch sports will be chosen to create memories. Meanwhile, two fifths plan to visit a destination that makes them feel like a child again. TRAVELLERS will add more purpose to breaks next year with an increase in volunteering and skills-based vacations across all generations. NASA will start construction of its Lunar Space Station in 2019 (launching in 2022). Pushing the limits of where travel will take us, the prospect of space tourism – such as Virgin Galactic’s sub-orbital flights, left – won’t seem such a giant leap. But until space trips become a reality, there will be an increased desire to explore uncharted territories on Earth. Six in ten travellers said they wanted to stay under the sea.
■CITY OF WONDERS: Amazing views are around every corner. Above, Fiona’s kids SINGLE-USE plastic will continue to be a hot topic but in 2019 environmental concerns will turn into action. Travellers will look for sustainable experiences while accommodation providers will increase TECHNOLOGY will make an impact in 2019 with more keyless room access via smartphones, personalised travel tips and robotic concierges which communicate with guests in their mother tongue. Use of real-time luggage tracking through mobile apps will be on the rise as well as apps for planning and booking.
nights’ all-inclusive at the three-star Broncemar Beach Hotel for £316. Flight from Stansted on November4. Hit alpharooms.com or ring in0114 407 0241. full board, on board shows and entertainment. Depart December 11 from UK pick up points and set sail from Tilbury. See shearings.com.Explore Athens with a week’s B&B at the three-star Aristoteles Hotel for £154. Leave from Luton on November 28. Hit travelsupermarket.com.
MORE than half of global travellers plan to take more weekend trips in 2019. Bite-sized breaks with curated itineraries will be more feasible thanks to increased flight routes, cheaper prices and better public transport options.