An astonishing range of well-preserved history and culture can be seen in the streets of this cosmopolitan city, yet Barcelona also hosts an exciting array of more modern and progressive entertainments, sparked by the much-needed economic boost of the 1992 Olympics.
To get a full picture of the city at its liveliest, walk down the long and picturesque La Rambla boulevard to witness the bustling masses as they frequent the rows of shops and cafes, or be amused by the lines of street performers and vendors. The end of the boulevard meets the coasts, where one can find Barcelona's thriving coastline.
For a taste of the city's ancient past, head over to the Gothic Quarter, the former city centre during ancient times and now home to an impressive collection of Gothic buildings. Among the city's surviving centuries-old buildings, an excellent specimen is the 600 year old church of Sanda MarÃa del Mar. It now stands as an expansive, stately reminder of the city's past. In contrast to these older buildings are the works of groundbreaking and influential modernist architect Gaudi. These modernist buildings permeate the city and are indispensable for any visit to Barcelona.
Of particular interest is the elaborate Sagrada Familia (Temple of the Holy Family) or the audacious Casa Milà (or La Pedrera) and Casa Batlló in the Eixample district. Barcelona also boasts several world-class art museums, especially the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC). The MNAC showcases a thousand years of Catalan art, from 11th-century Romanesque to Gothic to Renaissance to modern periods. Other famous museums are devoted to individual artists, such as Museu Picasso, FundaciÃ³ Joan Miró, Fundaciò Antoni Tàpies, and Casa Museu Gaudi.
To reach the city, British Airways offers services directly from London City Airport to Barcelona Airport (BCN). New arrivals can take the Aerobus to get from Barcelona Airport to the centre of Barcelona. Bus tickets cost 4.05 Euro one way or 7 Euro round trip. Numerous bus services, such as Eurolines or Spanish company Alsa, also offer rides from London to Barcelona.