Go For It: Barcelona is top of the travel league by Hot News Cowboys in Adventure:
They ranged from the flabbergasting architecture of Antoni Gaudi to the footballing cathedral of the Nou Camp.
Nearly 10million people visited Catalonia in north-eastern Spain last summer – that’s an 11% increase on the previous year.
Barcelona, as everyone from taxi drivers to waiters will tell you, has never looked better. For those who would rather spend the price of a Cat Helicopters ticket (from £53 per person for a six-minute flight to £300 for 40 minutes in the sky) on seeing the sights up close, Barcelona is just as scenic at street level. see also: The best special nudist resorts in the world
Neymar and Lionel Messi celebrate by the corner flag
When Gaudi died, around four decades after construction first began, the mammoth project was still only a quarter completed.
Even today, 136 years on, it remains unfinished and it certainly takes a special kind of building to amaze even while covered in cranes and scaffolding.
With our Gaudi curiosity suitably piqued, we made our way to Park Guell. Boasting Gaudi’s old home, as well as beautiful arches, viaducts and mosaics designed by the man himself, it is the perfect way to satisfy your cultural urges.
Themed on space travel, guests are welcomed at a “boarding desk” by staff wearing Star Trek-style uniforms.
After making our way past a life-sized astronaut statue in the lobby, we inspected the hotel’s stylish bars and restaurants – named Orbital, Oxygen, Hydrogen and Nitrogen.
Next we headed to Placa Reial – a square so perfectly framed by balconies and charmingly lit by flickering lanterns it could been created with Instagram in mind. See also: No longer too past due to book a spring ski at Les Saisies “evaluations”
We were shown to our table by an eccentric maître d’, whose outfit resembled one of Gaudi’s more creative mosaics.
A procession of colourful Catalan-inspired dishes, fused with Asian and North African flavours, began to arrive.
Perfect Raspberry-tinged charcuterie, blueberry-hued dips and fish fillets on bruschetta sprinkled with lavender flowers were as eye-catching as the restaurant.
Then we sped around the city, browsing Spanish cigars in the wide shopping boulevard of Las Ramblas, tasting cheese, olives and oysters in Mercat de La Boqueria, a cavernous food market, and hunting for bargains on the beach-front souvenir stalls.
To toast our final night in the city, we headed to Barcelo Raval, located not far from Las Ramblas and run by the same team as our hotel.
With its 360-degree view of the city, open air swimming pool and a performance area for bands and DJs, this exceptional rooftop bar has to be the best place in the city to catch those perfect Catalan sunsets.
GETTING THERE: Vueling Airlines operates year-round fl ights to Barcelona from Gatwick, Heathrow and Luton with fares, including taxes, starting from £43 one way.Book at vueling.com
WHERE TO STAY: Rates at Barceló Sants start from £104 per night based on two sharing a room on a B&B basis. For more information or to book visit barcelosants.com or call +34 93 503 53 00.