Barcelona: The gaudy jewel in the Spanish architectural-crown; a bustling Catalonian city thrumming to Flamenco, tapas and tide; a beautiful seaside resort, hemmed-in by the mountainous Serra de Collserola ridge.
As a holiday destination, Barcelona is all things to all men – providing almost every possible attraction for the full gamut of travelers and tourists. The airport is now Spain’s second largest, and cheap flights to Barcelona – coupled with a vigorous tourist industry that is ever expanding – make the city one of Europe’s top destinations.
Indeed, Barcelona is an extremely accessible and eminently affordable city break destination; short-haul flights and accommodation can be snatched up for very little on sites like Lastminute.com. Because Barcelona has so much to recommend it besides hot weather and beaches it also makes a great off-season destination, you might even prefer the prospect of exploring the city unhindered by the touristy bustle of summer.
Historically, Barcelona dates back to the 3rd century BC, and evidence of the city’s early Roman origins can be seen in the ruins beneath the Plaça del Rei. However, architecturally speaking, the dominant force in the city is certainly the buildings of Antoni Gaudi; the great modernist architect of highly individualistic buildings that bubble rise out of the cityscape like molten lava. His great, unfinished masterpiece, The Sagrada Família – a massive Roman Catholic church – is still under construction today, having been begun in 1882.
On other artistic fronts, Barcelona offers dazzling array of opportunities to indulge the sense: in one of the many art and antiquarian museums; in the Gran Teatre del Liceu opera house; the Teatre Nacional de Catalunya; the Picasso museum, or the Fundacio Joan Miro, to name a few.
Once your cultural palate has been quenched, you might want to sample some of the exquisite restaurants and bars Barcelona has to offer. Tapas and local specialities of stewed sausage and white beans, red peppers and aubergine, and cod with onions will hit the spot perfectly – washed down with a jug of cold Sangria. Or you could drink that on one of Barcelona’s four kilometres of beach, or in one of the 68 municipal parks…
Barcelona is one of the leading lights of modern, cosmopolitan Europe, an extraordinary and varied place with a vibrant culture, an astonishing heritage and a glorious landscape. Viva Espana, and viva Barcelona!