The Mediterranean City
Hugging the Mediterranean coastline in Northern Spain, Barcelona is a unique, sun-drenched city full of wild, inspiring modernista architecture, a swath of World Heritage sites, golden beaches and lush-green municipal parks spread right throughout the city.
Dominated by the works of architect Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona itself is one great masterpiece; in fact the city won the 1999 RIBA Royal Gold Medal for its architecture, the only time a city has been a winner, and not an individual architect. The highlights of Gaudi's work are the imposing, La Sagrada Familia Cathedral, Parc Guell and the quirky Casa Batllo. In contrast to the modern, Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) has a high concentration of medieval building and monuments.
There's more to Barcelona than just buildings; by day you can stroll down Las Rambles, the shopping and dining precinct, or soak up the sun at the beaches, dine along the waterfront in La Barceloneta, or take the Montserrat cable car to Benedictine Monastery for unsurpassed views of the city and coastline.
- Make the Most of it: Many of Barcelona's top museums offer free admission at least one day a week, there are also numerous parks, such as Park Guell, waiting to be explored.
- Experience the Atmosphere: Las Ramblas is a kilometre-long street lined with shops, restaurants and bars, but beware of inflated prices here!
- Head to the Hills: For some great views of the city, the harbour, and Castell de Montjuic, head to the top of Montjuic.
- More Than a Club: Like their closest rivals Madrid, Barcelonians are football crazy, with FC Barcelona one of the most successful European football clubs.
- The Hottest Ticket in Town: Ferran Adria, the gastronomic genius from El Bulli, has recently opened a tapas bar in Barcelona called Tickets.
- The Magic Fountain: The Magic Fountain of montjuic offers evening displays of lights, music and aquatic acrobats during the summer.