Barcelona, Catalonia's capital and Spain's second-largest city, has it all - effortless cool, history, culture, magical architecture, one of the world's biggest football clubs, beaches, and, the underpinning of any successful trip, a local population with an unquenchable thirst for a night out.
Its standing as a must-visit city means that there is no shortage of cheap flights to Barcelona. The international airport is 13km southwest of the city.
Two very different artists define Barcelona. One is Picasso, who lived in the city from his teenage years to his early-20s. The Picasso Museum, spanning numbers 15-23 Montcada, has 3,500 of the artist's works, from sketches to paintings and collages. The other artist is Antonio Gaudi, who imagined all those melting, morphing, bubbly buildings (the stunning Sagrada Familia, started in 1882 and still not finished, and Parc Güell, with its resident smiling dragon).
The Gothic quarter has some of the best-preserved medieval streets while the new part of town is around Montjüic hill, from which there are panoramic views of the city.
The tree-lined Las Ramblas sweeps down from the Plaza de Catalunya to the water, a lively area of cafes, market stalls and lots of street theatre.
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