On the northern Mediterranean coast of Spain lies Barcelona, set on a plain rising gently from the sea to a range of wooded hills.
Barcelona inspires many thoughts: the famous Las Ramblas shopping district; its wonderful museums; its seaside location; or sporting credentials. But one thing it has unique to the city is the world-renowned, flamboyant architecture of Antoni Gaudí.
Gaudí’s architecture is admired the world over as being one of the most unique and distinctive architectural styles. You’ll notice that his work was heavily influenced by various forms of nature, rather than other architects, and that’s what made him so different.
Gaudi’s work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona architecture and you’ll see stunning examples all around the city centre. A visit to Gaudi’s visual and colourful Guell Park and the remarkable La Sagrada Familia is a must.
Primary influences for his creativity are reflected in the use of the naturally curved construction stones, twisted iron sculptures, organic-like shapes, and colour – all of which are characteristic traits of Gaudí’s architecture.
Barcelona is Spain’s second largest city and steeped in a rich history. It’s the capital of the autonomous community of Catalonia, the fiercely independent ‘nation’ within Spain which has its own language, flag and customs, and a total population of around 7.5 million people. The locals are very friendly and will make you feel welcome to the city.
Nowadays comprising four provinces (Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona), and bordering France and Andorra to the north and the Mediterranean Sea to the east, ‘Catalonia’ was first mentioned historically in the 11th century, and at that time also included an area now part of southern France. The people of Barcelona proudly uphold Catalonia’s traditions and, indeed, the first language in Barcelona is Catalan rather than Spanish.
A holiday to this most interesting part of Spain could also include a panoramic coach tour of Barcelona and a guided walking tour of the old town; as well as excursions to the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat, the symbolic heart of Catalonia, and for those who appreciate the surrealist art movement, visit Figueres, the home town of Salvador Dalí.
Topped off with its own beaches, Barcelona really has it all for those who are looking for more than just a sunny holiday.