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BARCELONA With its coastal location and fantastic architecture, Barcelona is a vibrant and unforgettable stop on a Mediterranean cruise The pride of Catalonia, home to 1.6 million people and one of the world’s largest football clubs, Barcelona is Spain’s cultural hub. It is a place that manages to combine everything that is most appealing about European cities—a relaxed rhythm of daily life, endless sunshinefilled months and delicious food—while offering the cultural and historic hits of any major metropolis. Known for its uniqe blend of architectural combinations, you can walk the wide avenues of Gothic facades, patchworkcolored Gaudí buildings and more recent additions, unsure of what will greet you when you turn the corner. The iconic Las Ramblas is a good place to start, at the end of which is the piercing blue Mediterranean. A walk along the seafront at sunset is the perfect way to finish your day. Must-sees Barcelona is dominated by the extraordinary architecture of Antoni Gaudí, whose most iconic work is the unfinished La Sagrada Família. You can take a guided tour through its labyrinthine corridors and head nearly to the top, accessible by elevators. Other famous Gaudí creations include Casa Batlló (formerly a private house on the Passeig de Gràcia, now open to the public), Casa Milà (an apartment block with a rooftop walkway from which you can admire his warrior-like chimneys) and Güell Park, a wonderful public space with exquisite multicolored mosaics, tropical plants and stunning city views. Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and Palau de la Música Catalana are both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Take guided tours, marvel at the architectural brilliance and bask in the scent of lavender and citrus trees. It is worth visiting the Picasso Museum, which showcases the artist’s early work when he lived in the city. The Gothic Quarter is lined with medieval streets Clockwise, from above: The wonderful vista of the city from Güell Park; the interior of La Sagrada Família; a flamenco dancer; Palau de la Música Catalana 46 VIKING.COM EXPLORE MORE 2020

CITY GUIDE and makes for a fascinating stroll, and is where you will discover the Gothic Barcelona Cathedral. In its cloisters you will find 13 geese to represent the age of Santa Eulàlia, one of the city’s patron saints. Barcelona’s other big attraction is La Barceloneta beach, with its spectacular sweep of golden sand and xiringuitos (beach bars). For the perfect view of the beach and the city, head to the mountains. Take the funicular up Montjuïc and enjoy a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens located there. Eating The Spanish eat late, so you can always find tapas and pintxo (snack) bars open until the early hours—the best way to enjoy fresh and diverse local food. The restaurant scene here is buzzing and innovative, with great pride taken in local cuisine. Canalons are a regional version of cannelloni, capipota is a kind of stew and a bomba de patatas is made from spicy potato and mincemeat. As you would expect from a seaside city, the fish dishes on offer are tasty and memorable, and if it is paella you are after try the restaurants in La Barceloneta. There are also plenty of rooftop bars from which to take in the panoramic views on dry, sunny evenings. Shopping Barcelona is Spain’s fashion center, so you can find designer outlets as well as local boutiques, and it is worth strolling down the city’s smaller streets for the local antique shops. For high-end brands, go to the grand Passeig de Gràcia. Lovers of markets will not be disappointed. The Mercat de la Boqueria is a food institution that began nearly 200 years ago and continues to attract locals and visitors alike. Go online: Watch a video of the Mediterranean Odyssey® itinerary at EXPLORE MORE 2020 VIKING.COM 47