Barcelona is Spain’s second biggest city, its most prosperous, and its most cosmopolitan and European. It dates back to pre-Roman times, and still retains its mediaeval neighbourhoods with narrow winding streets such as the Barri Gotic and La Raval, with one of the world’s most famous tourist avenues, Las Ramblas, running between them. By contrast, the expansion and development of the 19th century gave the city the wide boulevards and elegant buildings of the La Eixample district, including the Passaig de Gracia, the famous main shopping street.
Must-see sights include a number of buildings designed by Antoni Gaudi – the church of the Sagrada Familia, and the Batllo and Milá houses, as well as Parc Güell, where you can find Gaudi’s famous ceramic dragon. There’s also Poble Espanyol (Spanish village), the museum complex and the magic fountains, all on Montjuic hill (if you’ve a head for heights take the cable car up from the port). Walking Las Ramblas and exploring the Gothic quarter and Ciutadella Park are essential to any visit to the city, and if you have children you should take them to the Aquarium with its underwater glass tunnels.
As you’d expect in a city this size there’s plenty of great places to eat, drink and/or watch the world go by.