Barcelona combines everything you could want on a European break: unique art and architecture, a curving sweep of beach, and a stylish array of restaurants and bars. We like the gritty cobbled streets of El Born, with its tapas joints and cocktail bars. In direct contrast is Eixample, a large central district with wide avenues and squares including the Placa Catalunya and the Passaig de Gracia. Gaudi masterpieces are everywhere. Highlights include the spooky Casa Batllo overlooking the city centre, and quirky Parc Guell with its rainbow of mosaic tiles.
The Sagrada Familia dominates the skyline with its still-unfinished towers. One side is a daring, modern ingress, the other a romantic, crumbling facade. Wide, pedestrianised La Rambla bisects the city centre. Ignore the tourist tat and head to La Boqueria, an ancient food market bristling with energy and flavour. After dark, try Catalonian tapas at one of the bars in El Born. End your night at Dry Martini, a revered speakeasy where gloved waiters in white tuxedos create (you guessed it) the best martinis in town. The next day, chill on a daybed at the laid-back beaches of La Barceloneta.