A city on the water, Barcelona is a major Mediterranean attraction because of its delightful dining, variety of art and architecture, fascinating history and active nightlife. The proud traditions of Catalonia preserve a language and culture in the distinct area around Barcelona.

Many come to Barcelona for food and drink; both items are a central part of life in the city. A meal is more than a perfunctory activity, it is a social ritual to be savored and enjoyed in the company of good friends. The food in the region differs from the rest of Spain, with a significant Mediterranean slant of fish, vegetables and a healthy dose of olive oil. Pork can be found in many forms, everything from cheese and cold cut platters to savory grilled fillets.

Art is a revered practice in the city and many traditions can be traced throughout its history. But the most significant names came to Barcelona in the 20th century: Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali. The first two masters have dedicated museums in Barcelona, while Dali’s lies north of the city along the Costa Brava. Contemporary art and design still thrive in what remains a creative and cultural center of Europe.

Barcelona’s skyline is populated with contrasting architectural styles. Visitors will find everything from medieval Gothic with its dramatic points, sheets of stone and heavy columns to ultra-modern buildings like the multicolored 470-foot tower, the Torre Agbar. City planners worked hard to prepare for the 1992 Olympic Games and developed an urban beach, marina, parks and many other improvements. One structure that dominates the image of the city is Antoni Gaudi’s Church of the Holy Family. Incomplete at Gaudi’s death in 1926, the awe-inspiring structure remains a work-in-progress today. 

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