Barcelona

The capital of Catalonia, with its own language, character and story, Barcelona is Spain’s unique and somewhat eccentric tearaway, where lively, contemporary culture thrives in a 2,000-year-old city. Barcelona is given its unique and sometimes flamboyant identity by the unique and flamboyant Modernist architect Gaudí. His masterpiece, the iconic Sagrada Família Roman Catholic Church, looms proudly over the city, looking down on the hustle and bustle of life below.

Far from the ordinary city park, the garden complex of Park Güell is where Gaudi really let loose. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the colourful mosaics, brightly-coloured dragons and fairytale-like pinnacles piercing into the Catalan sky are the product of a surreal and extraordinarily creative mind at play. Take a break from wandering the park by taking a seat on the long bench that wraps around the main terrace in the shape of a sea serpent.

Beyond Barcelona’s wonderful and occasionally weird landmarks, take some time out on its stylish Mediterranean waterfront and enjoy a sangria or two in one of its restaurants or bars, or wander the winding streets of its medieval centre, dotted with outdoor markets, hidden squares, fountains and palaces. As night draws in be sure to catch an authentic flamenco performance.

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