The capital of Catalonia is one of the European cities most loved by tourists from all over the world, rich in art and cultural events and with a vibrant nightlife. This creative spirit is best represented by the eccentric works of the visionary architect Antoni Gaudì, an icon of the city: the Sagrada Familia, above all, but also Parc Güell, Casa Batllò and La Pedrera.
Take a flight to Barcelona to discover the countless faces of a unique city: working-class, intellectual, ancient and modern. Visit Gaudì's masterpieces, take a stroll along the heaving La Rambla street, get lost in the streets of the Gothic Quarter that have inspired artists of the calibre of Picasso, Dalì and Mirò, or observe the city from the heights of Montjuïc. There are so many things to do and see during a trip to Barcelona. Below you can find a short list.
Gaudì's most famous creation and the most visited monument in the whole of Spain. The exterior of the basilica, which is still incomplete, is characterised by a Modernist style that was the trademark of the brilliant Catalan architect. The facades are decorated with intricate and meticulous details from Biblical scenes, while inside an array of colours and plays on light dazzle the senses, representing the wonder of man when faced with the divine. The sense of disorientation increases inside its two towers thanks to the cleverly arranged spiral staircases. It is an incredible feat that is scheduled for completion in 2026 to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the artist.
The other most famous Gaudì creation, which he left to the city of Barcelona, is Parc Güell. In this immense garden, mosaics made from fragments of pottery and tiny pieces of coloured glass merge in with the surrounding nature, creating images of imaginary trees and fantastical animals, including salamanders, lions, serpents and octopuses, as well as religious, Masonic and zodiac symbols. Inside the park you can also visit the very house where Gaudì lived before he relocated to the building site at the Sagrada Familia, and which has now been transformed into a museum.
CASA MILÀ AND CASA BATLLÓ
There are two other works of art from the Catalan architect, once bourgeois residences, today transformed into museums open to the public. They are two extraordinary and very different works. Casa Milà is nicknamed La Pedrera (The Stone Quarry) for its significant use of stone, particularly on the facade and the balconies, while Casa Battlò resembles a sleeping dragon thanks to its unique undulating roof, with a chimney pot that many believe depicts the sword of ‘Sant Jordi’. It is a tribute by the artist to the patron saint of Catalonia: the legend of Saint George and the dragon.
It is the famous avenue that leads from Plaza de Catalunya to the Mirador de Colom, the large statue dedicated to Christopher Columbus situated just a few meters from the sea. The street is the city's main thoroughfare, which means it is packed night and day with tourists, locals and street artists. You can find various interesting attractions along the street, including La Bouqueria - the largest market in Spain, the Mosaic del Pla de l'Os by Mirò, the Placa Reial, the Barcelona Wax Museum, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, the Font de Canaletes and the Casa Bruno Cuadros.
THE GOTHIC QUARTER
The picturesque heart of the Catalan city, noted for its Gothic architecture and the ruins of an ancient Roman town. Its distinctive medieval streets will offer up views to capture with your camera, while the thousands of shops and restaurants dotted around are perfect if you want an original shopping trip or to taste the typical local dishes. The most significant monument in the area is La Seu, Barcelona Cathedral.
Barcelona's hill offers breathtaking panoramic views, incredible gardens, an enchanting castle and the Poble Espanyol, a small town that was built for the International Exposition in 1929 and that recreates all of the major Spanish architectural styles. The principal attraction in Montjuïc, however, is the Magic Fountain, which is found at base of the hill. A spectacular show of water, light, colours and music that is not to be missed.
The especially mild climate means you can visit this city at any time of year. If you book your flight to Barcelona for the summer season, you will be able to enjoy a wide array of events, including the Fiesta de San Juan, which is held on 23 and 24 June to celebrate the arrival of the summer with bonfires, parties and fireworks. 11 September, on the other hand, is the National Day of Catalonia, a regional festival with concerts, songs and local dances, the best way to immerse yourself in Catalan traditions.
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