Barcelona, spurred by its role as host of the 1992 Olympic Games, has gone on to Europeanise and transform itself into one of Europe’s most dynamic and cosmopolitan cities.

Besieged several times, Barcelona has a rich heritage that makes it an important cultural centre and major tourist destination, one that is known as much for its culture as its seaside promenades. There is no shortage of things to discover in the labyrinth of medieval streets in the Barri Gòtic, the centre of the old city of Barcelona.

The same is true of the chic L’Eixample district. Most prominent are the elaborate works of late 19th and early 20th century Modernist movement architects Lluís Domènech i Montaner and the legendary Antoni Gaudi, whose architectural fantasies sparked renewal and controversy. These legends spawned some of the most remarkable and iconic architecture ever seen, architecture that has come, at least in part, to symbolise this alluring regional capital.

Besides a rich cultural heritage, the city draws visitors with its warm Mediterranean climate, outstanding Catalan cuisine and exciting nightlife. While Barcelona houses work by legendary architects, not far away, the energetic can explore other seaside marvels of Spain in the more peaceful surroundings of artsy Sitges, where every street is lined with art galleries, and the ancient Tarragona that draws cultural enthusiasts for its gastronomic experience and UNESCO World Heritage sites.