Known for its art and culture and the fantastical architecture of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona, is the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region. This trendy city is a hub for new trends in fashion, culture and cuisine. Strolling around the city’s streets you will discover the major brands in iconic stores set in characteristic buildings such as the Paseo de Gracia or Avinguda Diagonal one of the city’s most important avenues. Barcelona’s sites and how to travel around and see them are virtually endless.
In 1883 the architect Gaudí agreed to take on the project of the Basilica de Sagrada Familia, which he worked on until his death. The first architect originally planned for a neo-Gothic building, however when Gaudí took it over after his death he stamped his own distinctive style on the building while conserving the original design. Unfortunately, he only finished the first Chapel of San José, the Crypt and the door of El Nacimiento before his death. The façades and the entire exterior have a glorious profusion of brilliantly coloured decorative elements and there is a cryptogram over the La Pasión door. Work still continues today to finish Gaudi’s vision.
Other Gaudi sites dot the city including the Park Güell composed of gardens and architectural elements located on Carmel Hill, Casa Batlló a gem of Art Nouveau and Casa Milà, known as La Pedrera (the Quarry), a UNESCO World Heritage Site and also the architect’s final residential building.
Las Ramblas is one of the most popular tree line pedestrian streets in the city centre, stretching from Plaça de Catalunya to the Christopher Columbus Monument at Port Vell. Other sites of interest include the traditional markets of La Boquería, the Picasso Museum and the National Art of Catalonia to relaxing on the city beaches or the numerous pavement cafés in the Old Town.
Montserrat in the heart of Catalonia is a multi-peaked mountain range with huge grey shaped rocks. At the very top of this massif stands the statue of the Virgin of Montserrat, the patron Saint of Catalonia. The area around Montserrat is classified as a nature reserve and is covered with pine and holm oak woods. Sitting at the top is the majestic sanctuary dedicated to 'La Morenata', the 12th Century Romanesque style statue of the Virgin Mary. The architectural site comprises of the 16th Century Basilica, numerous squares and a hostel for pilgrims and tourists. Nearby is the beautiful Benedictine Monastery with its chapterhouse and neo-Romanesque cloister and refectory. It is also houses the works by artists like Picasso, Dalí and El Greco.