The bustle of Barcelona begins with the burst of cava, and never ends. With the charming coastline unfurling under your window and a sprawling city filled with contemporary art and Catalan heritage, this is bar none, wunder-Barcelona. Atmospheric narrow alleys and wide waterfront promenades, moderniste extravaganzas and medieval eccentricities, haute cuisine and cool nightlife—where will you begin?
Why not at W Barcelona, the heart of the action? From our doorstep, explore the vintage glam of La Barceloneta, the bustling fisherman's village leading to the Olympic Village's beaches and water sports and Port Vell's acclaimed restaurants via tree-lined esplanades. Or go the other way to Ciutat Vella, the Old City where gothic cathedrals, Roman foundations and Mediterranean mysteries come together in a vibrant maze of colorful neighborhoods and lively streets. From La Rambla, the city's most famous promenade that's also a fascinating installation of Barcelona's most eclectic personalities and architecture, uncover every cobblestone of Barri Gòtic, the original old quarter, or browse La Ribera, where galleries and boutiques revolve around the Picasso Museum.
If cutting edge is your style, the outskirts of the city are home to Gaudi's stunning Sagrada Familia and mythical Park Guell, or meander your way through Barcelona's top 100 art nouveau masterpieces in the L'Eixample neighborhood. For gourmets on the go, power up with breakfast at the Boqueria, the city's main market where you'll huddle with top chefs over coffee and crossaints, and lunch on contemporary Catalan cuisine and cava amid Middle Ages mansions in the El Born quarter.
Wind down with a drink and tapas at sunset in one of the beachfront chiringuitos (waterside bars), then detour with after-dark diversions on the city's neverending nightlife trail. Set your sights higher with trips to the Montjuic and Tibidabo peaks for picturesque peeks of the city or indulge in upscale shopping at the luxury retail mecca of Passeig de Gracia. And to truly understand why soccer is the biggest sport in the world, camp out at Camp Nou and watch FC Barcelona in the Europe's largest stadium—you'll soon find out why the entire city stops with each goal scored by the home team.
Whether weekender capital of Europe or one of the world's all-time most fashionable cities, being in Barcelona is liberatingly bedazzling, bewitching and beguiling, whether you're visiting for business, pleasure or happily blending the two.
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