Barcelona, Spain

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Gaudi's canvas

With the iconic Sagrada Familia basilica looming over it, the Catalan capital boasts one of the most instantly recognisable skylines in the world, and traces of the many famous artists and architects who have lived here over the years can be seen throughout Barcelona.

The most celebrated of these is without a doubt Antoni Gaudi, whose contribution to the city's aesthetic character is unrivalled. Having drawn up the blueprint for Barcelona's most popular tourist attraction, the great man himself oversaw the first years of the Sagrada Familia's construction but passed away when the complex structure was still very much in its infancy. Nearly 90 years later, the incredibly intricate building remains incomplete (which gives some idea of just how ambitious the project is), and even though it isn't expected to be finished for several decades, a visit to the site is still sure to take your breath away.

Elsewhere, the Park Güell is another of Barcelona's most striking features, and like the Sagrada Familia, is a brainchild of Gaudi. Featuring a range of surreal statues and structures, the park overlooks the city from the hill of El Carmen, so is a great vantage point from which to take in the charm of Barcelona if you only have a few hours to explore while cruising through the Mediterranean.

Another major highlight is the Nou Camp, which is the largest stadium in Europe and home to FC Barcelona. During the Spanish Civil War, this was the only place in the country where it was legal to speak Catalan, so a tour of the stadium is sure to be as interesting for history lovers as it is for football fans.

Catalan cuisine, meanwhile, is something that must be sampled while visiting Barcelona, and the city boasts a number of Michelin-starred restaurants like Abac on Avinguda del Tibidabo, where visitors can get an authentic taste of local life.

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