Those wanting a shopping break with a difference should consider booking cheap flights to Barcelona, where a fantastic arts and music festival is currently taking place in the roof of the Las Arenas shopping mall.
A three-month event running until 16 February, the Arenas Festival of Art and Music proves there is more to the Catalan capital than football and the Sagrada Familia. With 175 performances and events fusing every style of music from pop to flamenco – with a detour into family musicals and theatrical plays along the way - it has set the benchmark for cultural entertainment in Catalonia, with something for every age group.
A Glittering Modern Shopping and Leisure Complex
The festival is being staged at La Cupula. Otherwise known as Sands Dome, this is a striking purpose-built leisure complex sited at the top of the Las Arenas stadium. This commanding circular building, which dates from the mid-19th century, was originally a bullring, but fell into disrepair as attitudes towards bullfighting changed.
Luckily, the city officials saw the sense in retaining this important piece of local history, and it was reopened as a glittering modern shopping and leisure complex in 2011. Although many of its original architectural features are intact, the Evil Dead musical being premiered at the festival is the closest Las Arenas gets to its bloodied past today.
Las Arenas occupies a central position on the Gran Via Catalanes, the longest street in Spain. Close to attractions like Montjuic hill and the Magic Fountain, it is the ideal base from which to go shopping or sightseeing. It will be music to many travellers ears that Jet2.com has cheap flights to Barcelona for much of the year.