A cultural capital of Europe, Barcelona has earned itself UNESCO World Heritage status following the fantastic, iconic architectural works of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner that are dotted around this vibrant city.
References to the work of Gaudi are constant throughout the city, but most notable is the sometimes controversial La Sagrada Família.
Still in construction over 100 years after it first began, the structure became Gaudí's obsession. Despite still being surrounded with scaffolding, it has become one of Spain's most-visited monuments, with restorations taking place on older parts despite the entirety still awaiting completion. Gaudí's work is continued through Park Güell, Gaudí's Garden. It was developed over 14 years from 1900 - positioned on the El Carmel Hill, it has views over the city as well as Gaudí's famed intricate mosaic work throughout.
Being home to one of Europe's top football clubs means Barcelona has a massive sporting culture. The Camp Nou grounds were enlarged for the 1982 World Cup and is now one of the world's biggest stadiums, holding 99,000 people.
A must-visit while in Barcelona is La Rambla, a mainly pedestrianized street flanked by narrow, parallel roads. The strip is lined with trees and famed for street performers, ranging from pavement artists, living statues and entertainers. There are many cafés and bars dotted down the road, while the bottom plays host to tasteful market stalls with handmade crafts and jewellery.
Hamilcar Barca reportedly named the city Barcino in the 3rd century BC, after his family. Around 15 BC, the town was redrawn by the Romans as a military camp (castrum) with Mons Taber as the focal point for the Roman Colony. The typically Roman grid-like plan can still be seen today, around the Barri Gòtic, the Gothic Quarter, the historical centre of the town.
The climate is typically Spanish with temperatures peaking into the 30s throughout the summer season. There are beaches on the edge of the city centre to take advantage of this, lined with great bars and restaurants to take in the evening's ocean views.
Last updated: 14 March 2014