This isn’t your average metropolis. Barcelona, the proud capital of the ancient nation of Catalan, has a quirky blend of timeless elegance and innovative spirit. Vast museums and celebrated structures find their homes among lively markets and outdoor cafes; and experiments in art and fashion are apparent in the laid-back bar and lounge scene, which moves out to the beaches and rooftops in summer months. There’s sand, sangria and plenty to do in this super-cultural locale. M

Must Do

Immerse yourself in unbelievable buildings: Architecture buffs or not, you’re sure to stare in awe at the surreal details of the buildings, balconies and columns of Eixample (Barcelona’s 19th-century extension). Here, Modernista architect Antoni Gaudí was dancing to his own beat and blessed his many creations with breathtaking – though bizarre – curves, colors and asymmetric oddities. (The chimneys of Casa Milá were allegedly George Lucas’s inspiration for the Star Wars storm trooper helmets.)

When To Go

The Mediterranean climate brings cool winters and hot summers, but rarely goes to extremes. Average temperatures range between 48-81 degrees Fahrenheit. Humidity can make mid-summers sticky, so May, June and September are best for beach-goers.I

Insider Tip

Tapas-crawl your way around Barcelona: The best way to eat tapas is to hop from bar to bar trying one or two dishes at each one – while sipping on a drink as well – devouring the food along the way. Also, don’t forget to take in a flamenco show!

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