There are many reasons colorful Barcelona is one of the world's most beloved cities. And while the capital of Catalonia may have vibrant beach and bar scenes, it's the tranquil pleasures that keep us coming back: the narrow lanes of the Gothic quarter; the savory tapas and sweet sangria; the staggering mountain views. And then, of course, there's the Gaudí architecture.
Here are 13 photos that will make you want to book a flight right now:
1. Park Güell, a mosaic-filled World Heritage Site designed by Antoni Gaudí.
With its organic shapes (including a giant, tiled salamander) and Gaudí House-Museum, the park is an excellent introduction to the city's most famous architect.
2. Antiga Casa Figueras, a patisserie built in 1820.
The store is one of the most beautiful sites on La Rambla, Barcelona's famous pedestrian shopping street.
3. The popular beach at Barceloneta.
The stretch of sand comes complete with a palm tree-lined promenade, a scattering of sculptures, and some of the best people-watching in town.
4. The narrow, winding streets of the Gothic quarter (one of the largest in Europe).
Notable sites include the La Seu Cathedral, Barcelona City History Museum, and Bishop's Bridge (pictured).
5. Tibidabo, the highest peak of the Collserola Mountain Range.
Aside from all-encompassing views of the city, the mountain has a colorful amusement park and stunning neo-Gothic cathedral.
6. A selection of chocolates at La Boqueria.
La Boqueria is the largest market in Spain, and one of the best food markets in the world. Aside from sweets, the space overflows with fruit, fresh seafood, and rows of chorizo and jamón.
7. La Sagrada Família, a Gaudí-designed church and tour fixture for almost every visitor to Barcelona.
The basilica has been under construction since 1882 (no typo) and is scheduled to completed on the centenary of Gaudi’s death in 2026. Makes the two-hour entrance queue seem pretty quick, no?
8. The elaborate papier-mâché pieces of La Fiesta de Gràcia.
The week-long fiesta occurs every August throughout the streets of Barcelona's Gràcia district.
9. Restaurants serving savory tapas everywhere you turn in the city.
The bite-sized treats range from squid to pintxos (skewered snacks served on bread), and are best enjoyed with a bottle of wine.
10. The magnificence of the Palau de la Música Catalana, a concert hall renowned for its clear acoustics and Catalan modernista style.
The concert hall is illuminated entirely by natural light during daylight hours, thanks to the stained-glass walls and inverted dome skylight (pictured).
11. Casa Batlló, another Gaudí masterpiece.
The house's colorful windows, wavy walls, and dragon-like roof exemplify the architect's creativity and Modernista principles.
12. The giant mosaic welcoming visitors to Barcelona-El Prat Airport.
The mural was created by Joan Miró, a famous Barcelona-born artist, in 1970.
13. Plaça Reial, a city square that gets busier and more vibrant at night.
Plaça Reial is also one of the most picturesque corners of the city, defined by its palm trees, street lamps, and famous fountain.