Since setting off down the avant-garde track in the late 19th century, Barcelona has been a city in constant motion, never finished - like the Sagrada Familia - and much more cosmopolitan than regionalist. With architects such as Gaudí, artists such as Miró, the Universal Exhibition of 1929 and the Olympic Games of 1992, Barcelona has acquired international influence. From Las Ramblas to the Eixample, via the Barri Gótic and the port, you will discover an architecture, atmosphere, language and gastronomy that are unique in Spain...
Barcelona can easily be explored on foot. One way to get a feel for the city is to take a walk along the seafront, from the statue of Christopher Columbus on the Plaça del Portal de la Pau, to the edge of the city, passing through the Olympic village. The working-class district of Poblenou, was radically transformed to accommodate facilities for the Olympic Games of 1992, and the Olympic village has since been converted finto luxury fíats. Although controversial, these extensive works have, however, had the merit of really opening the city up to the sea.
From the vast Plaça de Catalunya, lined by department stores, to the Christopher Columbus monument facing the port, Las Tamblas is probably the most popular place in Barcelona.
To the west of Las Ramblas is another of Barcelona’s leading districts, the Barri Gòtic, whose Gothic buildings dasting from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries
include the Palau del Lloctinent. Beneath the Plaça del Rei, at the heard of this district, you will be surprised to discover the Roman and Visigothic city from which Barcelona later greca. An amazing underground walk takes you through Roman alleyways that lead to the public baths. Then suddenly you find yourself face to face with one of the greatest masterpieces of modernist Catalan architecture, the Palau de la Música Catalana, one of Gaudí’s contemporaries. This building, with its curves and volutes, is crowned by an extraordinary inverted dome that seems to herald Dali’s eccentricity...
The Eixample, north of Las Ramblas, is the city’s busiest shopping crea. As for Antoni Gaud (1852-1926), he gave this “new city” theree of its most famous creation: La Pedrera, a building with undulating fagades reminiscent of the sea; Parc Güell, an enchanting place commissioned by Gaudí’s favourite patron, Eusebi Güell; and, lastly, the Sagrada Familia, begun in 1882 and still under construction.
Along with Basque cuisine, Catalan cuisine is probably the best in Spain. Traditional Catalan cruisine relies aboye al¡ on fresh produce; every day the city’s best chefs come to stock up at the colourful and fragrant Mercat de la Boqueria, a vast modernist-style covered market bordering Las Ramblas.rewarding attractions, include the Habsburg old core, with its evocative bars, streets and plazas, the delightful Retiro park and the sumptuous Palacio Real.
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