The Barcelona of Antoni Gaudi

Barcelona is one of Europe's most-visited citiesand the Spanish Catalan capital is an architectural delight, much of it having been designed by Antoni Gaudi. His work stretches across the city and his influence can be seen almost everywhere. Gaudi's style is unique; integrating neo-gothic art with a modernist approach and greatly influenced by his love of nature. Through the prominence of Gaudi’s architecture, Barcelona is known as one of the most beautiful cities anywhere in the world.

To get the most out of a visit, it's best to stay in Barcelona's city centre. The city is simple to navigate and from the centre you will be able to reach Gaudi's major works easily. Most tours begin on the famous walking street, Las Ramblas, in the heart of the city and an ideal first stop is Casa Batllo, a key landmark of modern Barcelona and designed by Gaudi in 1906. The building evokes a dreamy, sea-like world, Gaudi designing the building without angles, with large windows looking out onto the busy street. The nearby La Pedrera (Casa Milo) is the perfect showcase of Gaudi's style, with its snake-like stone structure and roof-top sculptures.

Park Guell is a sprawling public garden containing a vast array of Gaudi's works. Here you can take a leisurely walk through pavilions and terraces, enjoying the fountains, sculptures and houses designed by Gaudi. No trip to Barcelona would be complete without a visit to the SagradaFamilia, the most famous building in the city and Gaudi's best-known design. This church has been in construction for over a hundred years and is still not finished, but it is still a breath-taking sight. Its multiple spires have become a symbol for the city and the building is undoubtedly Gaudi’s chief masterpiece. The church perfectly showcases his desire to intertwine architecture, nature and religion.

Beyond the major attractions, there are many other Gaudi buildings in the city that are well worth visiting. Casa Vicens is Gaudi's first major work; it has strong Arabic influences and represents a milestone in his development as an architect. Palau Guell is a palatial residence with impressive stairways and chimneys. Casa Calvet represents a more traditional work and while lacking the extravagance of many other Gaudi buildings, showcases his range as a designer. FincaGuell is a large estate a little further afield, well-known for its magnificent iron gatecrafted in the shape of a dragon.

Beside Gaudi's works, there are many other reasons to visit Barcelona. It is a beautiful, cosmopolitan city that combines sea and sand with great shopping and world-class cuisine. As one of Europe's most popular destinations, you can take a direct flight to Barcelona from the UK from many cities on a daily basis. It's just a short flight away and with so much to see and do, it's an ideal place for a holiday of any length.

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