Skyline of Barcelona

El Prat De Llobregat Airport (BCN)

History echoes through this town that ambles along a hilly perch beside the sea, like a necklace that gleams in the Mediterranean sun.

The second largest city in Spain, it's located in the heart of the Catalonia region. Barcelona's architecture spans centuries, from Roman to gothic and medieval to Art Nouveau and European Modernism, giving the city a timeless yet modern ethos. It's impossible to visit this major economic center without bumping into the concrete contributions of Antonin Gaudí, whose masterwork, La Sagrada Familia, makes devotees swoon. But he’s not the only lauded cultural draw in town: both Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró are celebrated with museums in Barcelona.

Meander Through History

The city’s known history begins with the ancient Romans, who settled on the banks of the Mediterranean in 15 B.C., favoring the city for its agreeable climate and excellent harbor. Subsequent centuries brought a mix of powerful conquerors that included the Visigoths, the Moors and eventually the Spaniards. A great place to start if you’re a history buff is the Museu d’Història de la Ciutat which houses many of the city’s ancient artifacts.

The city's Barri Gòtic, or Gothic Quarter, showcases cathedrals and basilicas of imposing medieval stature and design, but don’t forget that this is one of the cities where European modernism was amplified — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the German Pavilion (now known worldwide as the Barcelona Pavilion) for the 1929 International Exposition. It remains one of the hallmarks of modern architecture, quietly and serenely nestled next to its reflective pool of water.

Barcelona is also a mecca for foodies, with a vibrant dining scene, sparkling nightlife and boutique shops that tempt you to take the tastes of Barcelona home with you.