If you put Barcelona on New York magazine’s Approval Matrix (a grid with intersecting scales of “lowbrow” to “highbrow” and “despicable” to “brilliant”), Barcelona would be deep into the Highbrow + Brilliant quadrant.
It is famous for its architecture, art, dining and nightlife and it is also a famously beautiful city, with hilltop views and nearby Mediterranean beaches. It is my favourite city in Spain, where the competition among great cities is fierce, simply because it appeals and delights on so many levels. I love that hours after I have gazed with wonder up into the fantastical spires of Antoni Gaudí's famously unfinished La Sagrada Família church that I am tripping (better description for the experience than "getting drunk") on still-legal absinth at Bar Marsella, an historic bar where Hemingway and Picasso also imbibed. That's Barcelona. Kid-friendly, artsy-fartsy, outdoorsy, gourmand, beach bummy, business-friendly, luxurious, backpacker, sedate, madcap Barcelona. The mark of a well rounded city is its number of sides.
The articles we are highlighting during Barcelona Week on BBC Travel, all written by Lonely Planet author Damien Simoni, take you into multiple ways of discovering everything the city has to offer the savvy traveller. "A perfect day in Barcelona" and "Top 10 sights of Barcelona" are complementary primers on making the most of either a day or a week in the city. Mr Simoni encyclopaedic piece on the city's surreal world of art is a deeper dive into modern masters like Gaudí and his contemporaries. "Catalan cuisine" gives a mouth watering treatment on what to order while eating your way through the city. And "Bullfighting in Catalonia: The impending death of Barcelona's ring" is about the controversial sport's upcoming ban. If you want to see the traditional Catalonian fight between matador and bull, 2011 is your last chance in Barcelona. Come back every day for another article.
Monday: A perfect day in Barcelona
Tuesday: Catalan cuisine
Wednesday: Lonely Planet's top 10 sights in Barcelona
Thursday: Barcelona's surreal world of art
Friday: Bullfighting in Catalonia: The impending death of Barcelona's ring