Barcelona dips its toes in the Mediterranean, lolls back against the Pyrenees and basks in year-round sunshine. The skyline is indelibly marked by the visionary architect Antoni Gaudí, whose delirious buildings-resembling dragons, cliffs or gingerbread houses-seem to have magically erupted across the city. And at the heart of Barcelona lie the ancient passages, gargoyles and ghostly spires of the old Gothic city, apparently untouched by modernity. Add fantastic and varies nightlife, discerning cuisine, a nose for the latest and best in fashion and design, and a population bent on having a good time and it’s not surprising that, in the last decade, Barcelona has become the most visited city in Europe. What better destination to spend some unforgetable days together with the Escort Lady of your choice?
Still beneath the glamorous exterior lies a city that had to work hard to get attention. Not so long ago, Gaudí’s La Pedrera was a grime-coated bingo hall and parts of the city were too dangerous to visit. The 1992 Olympics stopped the rot and, with breathtaking energy, Barcelona reinvented itself, sloughing off the dirt and sleaze to emerge as the most seductive city on the Mediterranean. Forget flamenco, sangria and other stock Spanish clichés, Barcelona is the proud capital of the ancient kingdom of Catalunya, with a distinct language and its own customs and traditions. These are staunchly preserved and exuberantly celebrated, with fire-spitting dragons, demons and giants.
This is how your day with your adorable Escort Lady could look like: Get a feel for the city by strolling down the Ramblas, with a stop at La Boquería market on the way to take in the sights, sounds and smells. Alternatively, have a coffee at Café de l’Ópera and watch the world go by. Then dive into the chaotic maze of the Barri Gòtic, where you’ll find the Gothic cathedral (take the lift to the roof for fantastic views) and plenty of great shops, bars and restaurants. If you prefer something a bit edgier, head across the Ramblas to El Raval, hoe to the excellent Museum of Contemporary Art (MACBA), and lots of vintage clothes stores and galleries. Have lunch on the terrace at Plaça dels Àngels and afterwards explore the elegant Passeig de Gràcia, home to the city’s most emblematic Modernista buildings, including Gaudìs Casa Batillo and La Pedrera. In the late afternoon head to the seafront for a stroll and a dip. In the evening, check out the fashionable bars and clubs of El Born.
Barcelona is one of the most popular weekend destinations in Europe. How would it be to overnight at the Prestige? An ultra-stylish hotel in a perfect location and its interior is the epitome of chic, minimalist design. High-quality fittings include Bang and Olufsen TVs and music systems, a free minibar and crisp white furnishings. Facilities include 24-hr room service, a gym and beauty centre, an oriental garden and a futuristic library full of the latest gloss coffee-table books.