The capital of the Catalonia region of Spain Barcelona is one of the most famous destinations in the country, drawing in travellers with its lively atmosphere, great food, and artistic flair. With Catalonia as the birthplace of famous architect Antoni Gaudí, this cosmopolitan city is home to many of his wacky creations, adding a unique sense of character to its streets.
A trip to Barcelona also has the added bonus of being both a beach and city break, with a long stretch of coastline running along the edge of the city, meaning you can easily transition between exploring the sights to relaxing on the sand. This makes Barcelona an all-year-round destination, suitable for both dazzling summers and crisp winter sun.
Gaudí's structures are dotted all over the city, and offer a modern variation on the many Gothic constructions that have stood in Barcelona for centuries. Perhaps the most famous, and impressive, of his creations is the Sagrada Familia cathedral. This epic basilica has been under construction since 1882 and isn't due to be finished until the centenary of Gaudí's death in 2026.
Casa Milà is another key example of the architect's work. This eye-catching building stands out for its wave-like surface, designed in defiance of traditional straight edges, standing out from everything around it.
For an alternative view of Gaudí's work, head to Park Güell - a 17-hectare park full of all sorts of weird and wonderful structures and sculptures to discover.
Other Gaudí spots to check out include Casa Battló, Palau Güell, and Casa Vicens.
Spain's second city is the country's capital of tourism for a reason, and has so much to offer every traveller. Walk down colourful Las Ramblas and dip into the Mercat de la Boqueria to explore the foodie produce of the area and pick up some fresh fruit or traditional cured meat as a snack.
Alternatively, take a stroll through the dramatic Gothic quarter, or head to the top of Mount Montjuïc in time to catch the sun setting over the city.
For beaches, hit up trendy Barceloneta and feast on the freshest seafood at one of the chiringuitos (beach shacks), or Nova Icaria beach is a great spot that's slightly more relaxed. Short train rides out of the city also offer some top-notch beaches, including in Sitges town, which is also a great place to grab a bite to eat or spend an evening.