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Barcelona holidays really do have it all. If you can't decide between a beach-going short break, a hiking holiday or a cultural trip in 2020, you don't have to in Barcelona.
Most major cities boast about the charms of their different neighbourhoods, but a trip to Barcelona prove its main barrios really are distinct.
In 1714, the Old City was walled in after Catalonia picked the wrong side in the War of Spanish Succession. Only in the late 19th century did Barcelona expand naturally. Then, the modern, wide boulevards of Eixample were constructed, connecting the old barrios of El Born and Gotic to what were then separate towns, Sants and Gracía The latter is one of the city's main bohemian outposts, and proud of it.
It was during this fever of construction that some of the city's most famous landmarks were built. Barcelona had become one of Europe's intellectual and cultural hubs, nurturing the likes of Picasso and Antoni Gaudí.
Gaudí was the pioneer of Catalan Modernism, a curious architectural style that combined elements of Art Nouveau with more sculptural facades that bordered on the surreal. As well as his notorious work-in-progress, Sagrada Familia, and the magical green space of Park Güell, check out La Pedrera's undulating walls on your Barcelona trip, and the multi-coloured, scaly-roofed Casa Battló. Passeig de Gracía is Eixample's most important thoroughfare and is home to the swankiest bars and restaurants in Barcelona.
Many of the tourists who come on a party-minded break to Barcelona stick to the seafront area, but the hippest district right now is rough-and-ready Raval, with its multicultural vibes, edgy bars and cheap Barcelona stays.
It's in El Born though - the old guilds' quarter adjacent to the Gothic district - that you'll find the more historic eateries and drinking holes amidst a maze of winding cobbled lanes.
Elsewhere, Montjuïc is one of two 'mountains' that edge Barcelona; it overlooks the Mediterranean and is worth a climb during your holiday, as much for the views as for the castle at its summit. Avid hikers will prefer Tibidabo, a tree-covered ridge bordering the city at the other end, with many trails and a rather curious church.
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