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Packed with quirky architecture, an enigmatic nightlife and enviable cultural riches, Barcelona city breaks really do have it all. If you can't decide between a short beach break, a hiking holiday or a gallery-hopping culture trip, you don't have to in Barcelona.
Looks don’t deceive in Barcelona – they’re the first insight into what makes this city so special. Ancient, Art Nouveau and everything in-between, the Catalan capital is a trove of sublime architecture. From the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter to the surreal spires of Gaudí’s iconic Sagrada Familia in Eixample, some come for Barcelona’s breath-taking buildings alone.
But the famous architect isn’t the only genius to leave a lasting mark on the city. From Picasso and Miro to Cruyff and Messi, Barcelona’s inimitable style has been carefully crafted by a host of greats. A centre for art and design, both Picasso and Miro have museums here, while the MACBA contemporary art museum shows off some of the world’s great modern works. For a different sort of masterpiece, you can still watch Messi create magic at the Camp Nou.
After a night out? Many of the tourists who come to party stick to the seafront area, but the hippest district right now is Raval, with its multicultural vibes, edgy bars and cheap Barcelona stays. For the classic Barcelona experience, head to El Born, a maze of winding cobbled lanes, historic eateries and drinking holes.
Most spend at least one day flopped on Barceloneta beach, a stretch of enviable sand fronting a lively port area. When city’s summer temperatures reach scorching point, you’ll find the locals cooling off here.
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. 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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