The art of enjoying life is perfected in Barcelona, where restaurants on Las Ramblas welcome nightly guests for leisurely four-hour dinners; where tapas bars serve so many dozens of little delicacies that customers often spend entire chunks of the day just eating through the menu; and where the nightclubs go till dawn. The city is great fun to explore, whether you're having a drink at a port nightspot or people-watching on the crowded beach or tripping around the tiny streets of the Gothic Quarter.Plaza Catalunya is the central point of Barcelona, but fashionistas will be more familiar with Paseo de Gracia or Paseo de Colon. For photo ops, pose by the 164-foot-tall Monument a Colon (Christopher Columbus statue) or the Magic Fountain of Montjuic.
In this large, lovely Mediterranean city, Catalan, not Spanish, is the official language, emphasizing the feeling that Barcelona is the capital of another country -- which in many ways it is, with its own traditions, cuisine, history and culture. Architectural eclecticism also sets Barcelona apart, from Roman ruins to swirling Art Nouveau fantasies to the extraordinary Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s surreal reinterpretation of a Roman Catholic basilica. Strolling La Rambla, a tree-lined avenue bustling with street performers, sketch artists, kiosks and cafés, is a favorite pastime in Ciutat Vella, the Old City. At nightfall, the city springs to new life with tapas, cocktails and club music until dawn.