Cosmopolitan and relaxed, Barcelona is distinguished from the rest of European cities with its astonishing architecture, imaginative gastronomy and excellent climate, which allows you to have a beer even in the middle of winter. The Catalan Capital went through some hard times due to the question of Catalonian independence and also to the ever increasing number of visitors that even made the local government take some measures to restrict the tourist flow into the city. But still it is a pleasure to explore the city, if you know how to get away from the crowds and mix with the locals. Each of the city’s barrios (or neighborhoods) has a unique vibe and character. You can feel the medieaval ages in the narrow lanes of the Gothic Quarter; while the Eixample is the end result of the 19th century expansion of the city, with its modernist architecture including the artsy homes by Gaudi like Casa Battlo and Casa Mila. For a more bohemian and youthful athmosphere, on the other hand, one should visit El Born and Vila de Gracia. The last but not the least, the old fishermen’s neighborhood of Barcelonata is also charming with its beachlife. Barcelona is also among the European cities where you could eat amazingly well. Catalan chefs pioneered by Adria brothers are creating little miracles at their new age tapas bars and restaurants. But keep in mind that Catalans also eat late; so you would not find a table easily before 2 pm and 10 pm. And here are a few ideas for daily tours around Barcelona: 48 km west of Barcelona lies the holy mountain of Catalonia, namely Montserrat. The monastery and the religious complex on top of the mountain is a famous pilgrimage site, while the craggy rock formations and the nature around attract climbers from around the world. You could also visit Figueres, the birthplace and the final resting place of the famous Spanish surrealist painter Dali. Figueres is a town along Costa Brava near the French border 140 km north of Barcelona. Dali is known to have converted the old theatre of the town into a bizarre museum: Teatre-Muesu Dali. The museum is a little wonderland with several installations and sculptures designed by the artist, as well as a small selection of his paintings and his jewelery designs.

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