Barcelona is known for its art, culture, beaches and stunning blend of Gothic and modern architecture. You can stroll down cobblestone streets and hidden alleyways while admiring the imposing structures in the Gothic Quarter. Quaint cafés and shopping districts run across the city, while on the beaches you can find locals playing Bocce and revelling in the sun.
The historic centre, with many of the oldest and most impressive structures, is known as the Gothic Quarter. Lose yourself among the region’s beautiful streets and feel the history contained in the medieval and ancient Roman buildings that surround you. Relax at a café on one of the many plazas and be sure to photograph the quintessential Spanish architecture - this city is a favourite for photographers.
The yet unfinished Basilica de la Sagrada Família is undoubtedly Barcelona’s most recognisable icon and one of Europe’s architectural wonders. Construction began in 1882 and famous architect Antoni Gaudí joined the project 1883. Book a trip up the tower for a breathtaking view of the city. For the best photos, capture it in the evening when it’s illuminated in a warm glow.
You’ll find another Gaudí masterpiece nearby at the Casa Batlló. Constructed at the turn of the 20th century, the building will probably be the strangest you ever see. You can tour the extraordinary house and enjoy the view from the charming roof terrace. Admire the innovation of Gaudí’s modernist design with colourful mosaics and a bizarrely arched roof that looks like a dragon or dinosaur.
See more of Gaudí’s creativity on a trip to Park Güell, which is full of unusual sculptures and artworks. It is a hub for artists and photographers. Soccer fans will love to watch a match at the Camp Nou which seats almost 100,000 supporters. If there are no games you can tour the stadium.
A stay in Barcelona is not complete without a trip to the beach. Soak in the warm waters of the Mediterranean Sea after sunbathing on tranquil Bogatell Beach. For a lively afternoon, head to Barceloneta Beach to hear live drum performances and sit at a café while you people-watch.
Try traditional Catalan foods such as the delicious escudella stew with meat and vegetables. Taste local wines, sangria and cava - the Catalan equivalent of Champagne.
The city has a pleasant climate year-round, with mild winters and hot summers. Although you can practise your Spanish easily, most locals speak Catalan as a first language.
You can fly into Barcelona International Airport, 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) south of the city centre. If you prefer a scenic route you can arrive by ferry from several Mediterranean destinations such as Rome and Tangiers. Once in the city, use the metro or taxis to make your way around. If you like exercise it’s a great city to walk.