There’s no doubt about it: Barcelona (1.5 million inhabitants) is a place of fascinating contrasts. This major design metropolis with its award-winning post-modern buildings boasts the largest historic city centre in Europe after Naples, where you can lose yourself for hours.
Let Marco Polo show you some unique experiences to be had in Barcelona:
Gaudí’s divine temple
Sagrada Família is the world-famous symbol of Barcelona. Let the gigantic columns and spectacular interior of the huge nave consecrated by the Pope work their magic on you.
Fairy-tale gardens above the city
Enchanting park with panoramic views: when creating the Parc Güell, Antoni Gaudí let his imagination run riot and revealed his universal genius as architect, landscape designer – and a pioneer of recycling.
Enjoy the flair of the Mediterranean metropolis on one of its many squares with a coffee or a cool beer. Plaça de la Vila and Plaça de la Virreina in Gràcia are particularly atmospheric.
The rumba catalana, an explosive mix of flamenco, Caribbean rhythms and rock, is the music of the Catalan gitanos and super-trendy in Barcelona right now. Meet the best bands every Wednesday at the Sala Apolo club’s ‘Rumba night.’
Throw yourself into the crowd on the famous Rambla – tourists and theatre-goers, culture vultures and purveyors of kitsch souvenirs, dolled-up opera-goers and agile waiters.
Lavish Art Nouveau splendour
Blossoms, tendrils, dragon heads: if you want to experience Catalan Art Nouveau in all its glory, head for the Palau de la Música Catalana, the most ornate monument to modernism.
At traditional castells, a popular sport in Catalonia, you are not only allowed to watch balance artists training – the courageous may even join in.
Buy the Barcelona Marco Polo Guide.