Barcelona: A must-visit destination

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One of the great Mediterranean cities, Barcelona’s mix of culture, cuisine and beaches is easily enough to cement its place as one of the must- visit European destinations.

The Catalan city is renowned for its stunning collection of Gaudi architecture, the iconic Basilica of the Sagrada Familia, La Rambla boulevard and its stunning waterfront and beaches.

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Last month Monarch Airlines launched a new route to Barcelona from Birmingham Airport.

In the heart of Barcelona is the 182 room four-star Hotel Barceló Raval.

While boasting a chic avant-garde interior, its true selling point is the 360-degree roof terrace, bar and pool with views of the mountains which surround Barcelona to the sea to the east.

Sagrada Família is one of the most iconic buildings in Europe and attracts millions of visitors each year.

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Construction began in 1882 with Antoni Gaudi taking over the project the following year.

He worked on the church until his death in 1926, at which less than a quarter was completed.

Although the original plans were lost, the skyline is dominated by cranes which are continuing the building work.

Developers hope the church will be finished by 2026 and when complete it will have 18 towers.

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Gaudi’s influence is visible across the city, with many buildings bearing his design.

One of these is the Casa Calvet which was built at the turn of the 20th century for textile industrialist Josep Batlló.

Gaudi inserted stone columns in the shape of bones and balconies in the shape of masks while the façade is tiled with a glass and ceramic tile mosaic.

Barcelona’s most famous boulevard is La Rambla.

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Running for 1.2km from the monument of Christopher Columbus to the Canaletes fountain, Le Rambla is lined with trees in a city not renowned for its green spaces.

Along La Rambla are stalls, news-stands and florists, however, it’s better known for its colourful street performers and human statues.

Large parts of Barcelona’s waterfront were redeveloped for the Olympic Games in 1992.

The result is stretches of beach lined with bars and restaurants, many of which remain open until the early hours.

For the football fan, no trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to the Camp Nou, the home of one of the biggest and most successful football teams in Europe.

Although showing its age from the outside, inside, it’s one of the most iconic stadiums in the world with one of the most impressive trophy rooms you’re ever likely to see.

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Next week, we look at what Catalonia has to offer outside of Barcelona.

Flights from Birmingham Airport to Barcelona via Monarch start from £34.99 one way (£72.98 return).

Customers are allocated a seat at check-in or can reserve a seat in advance for £5.99 per flight.

Seats with extra legroom are also available at an additional cost.

Customers can avoid booking charges by paying using a debit card or PayPal and check-in online.

For more information visit www.monarch.co.uk.

The 4 star Barceló Raval hotel is situated in the heart of Barcelona in the Raval neighbourhood.

It has become a symbol of the transformation taking place in the area due to its oval structure, avant-garde interior design and rooftop views across the city.

Prices start from €120 per room per night, including taxes.

For more information visit visit www.barceloraval.com.

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012

Barcelona press trip 2012