Catalonia’s colourful capital
Barcelona combines everything that is most charming about Mediterranean cities – a relaxed pace, months of endless sunshine, unbeatable food – with the cultural and design clout of almost any city in the cold north.
Its patchwork of architectural styles displays dark, Gothic façades next to the harlequin buildings of the Modernistas and the skyline-piercing constructions of Jean Nouvel or Herzog and de Meuron. A day spent admiring them can be topped off with a sundowner on one of the city’s many beaches before dinner at any number of Michelin-starred gastronomic temples or humble, family-run tapas bars. This is a city with a proud sense of identity and its language, culture and traditional festivals are fiercely guarded. Human pyramids, fire-breathing dragons and fibre-glass giants strolling the streets are in evidence most weekends if you look hard enough.