Just as you wouldn't visit Paris without taking a peek at the Eiffel Tower, you can't visit Barcelona without a trip to La Sagrada Familia. Nevertheless, Evelyn Waugh managed it - refusing to get out of the car to even look at it when he was in town, considering it to be a crime against Catholicism. Of course some might take that as a compliment. Whatever else it is, the still-unfinished church is an arresting sight; by turns elegant, grotesque, inspired and twee. If you've got a head for heights, ascend one of the towers (best by foot, though there is a lift), and enjoy the views across the city. It is Antoni Gaudi's most famous legacy to Barcelona, and he lies buried beneath the nave - having dedicated nearly 40 years of his life to its construction, he died before it was completed.
C/Mallorca, 401; Tel: 93 207 30 31; Nearest metro: Sagrada Familia; www.sagradafamilia.com/
Alongside la Sagrada Familia, this park is probably Gaudí's most famous creation. Apparently his intention was to recreate English-style public gardens, but if so, he failed spectacularly. Spectacularly, in that the Park Güell is a fantastical mix of green spaces, mosaic benches, multi-coloured walkways and colonnades. Topping it all off, it affords one of best views of the city sprawling below.
C/Olot; Tel (Casa Museu Gaudi): 93 219 38 11; Nearest metro: Lesseps
Go straight up to the rooftop, sample the magnificent views amidst the characteristically strange Gaudiesque motifs which decorate the terrace. On summer evenings, you can listen to jazz, tango and flamenco concerts for just €6, including a drink. The ultimate in rooftop ambience.
Psseig de Gracia, Metro: Passeig de Gracia
Guell park has lots of Antonio Gaudi's amazing stone structures, stunning tiling and fascinating buildings. Don't miss the colourful dragon fountain at the entrance to Guell park. There is something rather hypnotic and magical about the fantastical atmosphere, which is great for adults and children (lots of hiding places for the kids). See all of the city's sights stretched out before you. Allow at least half a day to enjoy the park fully.
Metro line 3 towards Canyelles. Get off at Lesseps and follow the signs from the metro station to Parc Guell. The park is a 20 minute walk away from the metro station. Warning: the final 200m up to the park is up a steep hill
Fantastic museum full of modern art - if nothing else, it contains Picasso's incredible (and enormous) Guernica. Like a lot of the museums in Madrid, admission is free on Sundays.
Metro: Atocha; www.museoreinasofia.es/
Electronic media and music festival in Barcelona every June. It has two elements, Sonar by day is centred on MACBA and is a perfect way to spend time in between eating and drinking. Sonar by night is not for the faint-hearted, situated out in the suburbs, its an all-night party on a grand scale.
Go out at typical UK times and try to eat lunch or dinner and you'll find yourself in an empty restaurant (if you can find one open), being laughed at by the staff and in bed before the Madrilenos have put their make up on.
Some bars resemble shrines on which the faithful worship the gods of good drink, good food and good companionship. This is one of these. Just a hop from Picasso Museum (Barri Gotic), it melts ageing local customers, trendy young crowds and the odd tourist into revering its wonderful cava (really affordable) and great tapas (don´t miss the anchovies).
C/Montcada 22, Barcelona, phone(00 34 93) 319 7003
Well what can I say? The last of the Moorish strongholds. One of the things that Europe really does have going for it is even when conquerers conquered, they took over the magnificent building and did not destroy them. This really is magnificent as well.
No two ways about it if you are in Andalucia for any period of time Granada and this great red castle are a must.
Wife and I spent the New Year in Barcelona in an apartment for a few days which we booked through Pillow Apartments. It was amazingly furnished and really cool. They meet you personally to check you into the property, provide guides, tips. Really cool people. Five-star accommodation at cheaper prices! And so romantic...
The Santa Maria del Mar is a beautiful church in the Barri Gottic area of Barcelona. It is just gorgeous and is as all churches should be: right in the centre of the city, not hidden behind grounds or mysterious gates. Inside it is so peaceful and surprisingly dark in comparison to the bustling street and bright blue skies of outside. There is a beautiful stain glass window, which glows like jewels in the wall. Also on a summer Sunday, the streets come alive with the brightly coloured gowns of wedding guests and the streets are littered with rose petal confetti.
At the end of Carrer de L'Argenteria
The Barajas Metro Line (number 8) takes only fifteen minutes to deposit passengers in the centre of Madrid's financial district (Nuevos Ministerios). Taxis are available from the airport, but be sure not to accept offers made inside the terminals.
Take a window seat in the cafeteria of the Circulo de Bellas Artes, the huge cultural centre at the beginning of Calle Alcalá. Look down at the passers-by and traffic madness at one of the city's busiest spots. You'll be charged once at the door and then again for your drink.
Calle Alcalá, 42; Tel: 91 360 54 00; Metro: Banco de Espana; Admission: €1;
Whichever football team you follow, a visit to this stadium will at least make you keep half an eye on Barcelona’s future results. Regular guided tours around the stadium are available, and after seeing all the behind the scenes stuff you get to walk down the players' tunnel and out onto the edge of the pitch. The stadium is a stupendous sight from here; the fans who occupy the uppermost seats must be impervious to vertigo. The tour ends with an opportunity to have your photo taken with a replica European Cup.
Avda de Aristides Maillol;
Nearest metros: Maria Cristina, Collblanc; www.fcbarcelona.com
Groundbreaking architectural delight, it is located in a secluded part of Montjuic ideal for contemplating the colourful sculptures on the rooftop terrace with the Med in the background. The museum is basically a deconstruction of Miro’s creative DNA with temporary exhibitions by other artists.
Marques de Comillas, nearest metro: Paral.lel
There are no words to describe this Modernist fantasy – Gaudi’s creative DNA deconstructed in front of your eyes and overlooking the Catalan capital. From the largest balcony-bench in the world to the adorned ceramic animals via the mosaic, don’t bother going to the Universal Studios down the Catalan coast, this is the theme park of the future.
Carrer Olot, Metro: Lesseps
Yes, it's in all the guide books but the Alcazar is easily missed. From the outside it doesn't look anything special but inside it's magical and a lot less frantic than the Alhambra. If you visit make sure you spend some time in the gardens. If you only have an afternoon in Seville and have to choose between the Cathedral and the Alcazar then give the Cathedral a miss.
Plaza del Triunfo; tel: 954 502 323
Europe’s oldest royal palace and now a world heritage site. Built in the 14th century, it has beautiful, calm gardens and pools with towering palm trees right in the city centre. It’s next to the overbearing gothic Seville Cathedral - the third largest in the world - and its tower, La Giralda.
Plaza del Triunfo
We Love@Space is the reason we as a group go to Ibiza and one of the reasons I have been there for the last 5+ years. The music is unbelieveable but what really makes it is the crowd. The up for it, glamourous, beautiful crowd which you really don't get anywhere else. I know recommending Space on Sundays isn't exactly a revolutionary idea, it doesn't exactly hide away from showing itself off. However, if I didn't go to another Space in my lifetime I would be more than happy with the memories of the people I have met there, the tunes I have heard and the vibe that you don't get anywhere else. The girls here are already preparing their outfits for next year.
Playa D'en Bossa, under the flight path
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