Barcelona is one of those cities that visitors falls immediately in love with, and it's easy to see why. This sophisticated city offers an intriguing mix of architectural styles and is one of Spain's cultural, design, and gastronomic centers. So much of the city life takes place in the streets, but you'll want to spend time exploring Barcelona's top museums before heading to the beach for some sun.
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- The city's best introduction is a walk along the Rambla, which is teeming with life and street performers. The Gothic Quarter is a warren of alleys and old palaces.
- Have a Gaudí day and try to take in as many of his masterpieces as you can: the Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família, Casa Milà, and Park Güell.
- Explore the Eixample, home to some of the city's greatest Art Nouveau (or Moderniste) buildings. Highlights include the Casa Milà and Casa Lleó Morera.
- This design-conscious city is an excellent hunting ground for antiques or contemporary clothes and housewares.
- The International Music Festival kicks off in September.
- In May, the Sant Ponç festival celebrates fresh produce.
- Montserrat, 30 miles (48.3 km) west of Barcelona, houses a shrine to the Black Virgin.
- Sitges beach, 27 miles (43.5 km) southwest, offers an excellent beach and plenty of people watching.