Nestled on the coastal plain at the foot of the dramatic Collserola hills, Barcelona’s 2,000 years of rich history has been well preserved by its easily defensible position. If the city’s picturesque geographical landscape in itself is not Barcelona's main attraction, then its immaculately conserved artistic, religious and architectural treasures are. From some of the world’s greatest examples of gothic architecture in the Barcelona Cathedral, to Gaudi’s legendary creations including the Sagrada Família, to the surrealist artistic offerings of Miró and Dalí, the city is one of Europe’s most colourful and most vibrant.
Beyond the visual arts, as one of Spain’s largest port towns, Barcelona has acted as a central hub for trade and industry since its inception. The resulting Catalonian culture that has thrived in this lively city sees streets that are filled with some of the country’s finest culinary achievements – from tapas, Iberico, paella and sangria to the more modern developments in molecular gastronomy, for which the city is well known. There is respite from the city’s bustling streets in the long sandy beaches that bake beneath year-round Iberian sun, and the nearby must-see sites of Santa Maria de Montserrat, which perches atop Montserrat mountain, and the beautiful town of Sitges, a short drive down the coast.