So captivating is the city that it inspired all of these creative greats – Dali, Miro, Picasso, Gaudí – who in turn left their footprints in its sands, taking it to new heights. It nestles between the sparkling blue Mediterranean and the rolling green Collserolla hills, a bubbling jewel of life and colour, music and passion with one of the greatest concentrations of gothic architecture in Europe, not to mention some of the world´s most bizarre buildings and surreal spectacles!
For events Barcelona is an all-rounder, an all-star. From a pharmaceutical congress to a high-end incentive alike, it presents an outstanding offering. Easily accessible Barcelona boasts impressive conference centres; a myriad of hotels that run the gamut and includes diverse luxury options; outstanding unique venues; sun-drenched beaches; cobbled streets; and stylish beach clubs. Activities can be based on the water, the beach, or between the towering skyscrapers and the Roman walls in the centre. Step outside the city to explore the stunning coast of the Costa Brava or the fresh air and vines of the wine and cava regions, a step further and you can be in the snow-dusted Pyrenees! Barcelona really has it all.
Its culinary landscape is broad and varied. As with any cosmopolitan city there are a plethora of great options to feast on. Tapas classics, hearty seasonal Catalan fare and rich paella; And now thanks to the cutting-edge creativity of the masters of molecular gastronomy – such as Ferran Adria – the region´s famed artistic traditions are not crafted simply with a paintbrush.
Cucumber and rose petals? Perhaps juniper and cardamom seeds? Gin and tonics are serious business here, whether savoured over sunset on an elegant roof terrace with panoramic views, or sipped at a beach bar with your toes buried in the sand, they are the perfect way to ease into the vibrancy of the nocturnal city. As darkness falls so does the sense of unlimited possibilities… And there quite literally are! Choose from rustic taverns adorned with farming tools to opulent lamp-lit lounges, or airy mismatched chic cocktail spaces, and if you´re still standing at 3am, head to the clubs to discover the unabashed wild side of Barcelona.
Barcelona is a Biosphere Tourism destination and a promoter of sustainable and responsible tourism.
GIRONA – COSTA BRAVA
Girona’s medieval pre-eminence finds full voice in the many awe-inspiring gothic structures that stud the city, such the magnificent Cathedral of Girona, who’s interior includes the widest gothic nave in the world (22m), and the second-widest of any style, after that of St. Peter’s Basilica! The beautiful, evocative and highly symbolic Jewish Quarter (El Call) is located within the Força Vella (the mighty Roman fortress built in the 1st century BC). It is an iconic part of city, and is absolutely fundamental to the cultural heritage of Girona. The captivating history of El Call is only matched by its sheer beauty with impossibly winding streets, hidden courtyards, and cool stone walls.
Girona is in many ways the gateway to the glistening Costa Brava, the enchanting stretch of coast that extends from just above Barcelona northwards to the French border. It is famed for its beauty, the charming fishing villages and medieval hamlets that stud its rugged coast, and its beautiful horseshoe bays and beaches. The area is also home to some of Spain’s finest restaurants and excellent golf clubs.
Not far from the coast, you will also find Figueres, famously the birthplace and home of one of the most important Catalans of the 20th Century, Salvador Dali.
The Teatro Museo is the most important Dalí museum in Spain, and houses an exceptional collection of his work, featuring not only paintings and drawings, three-dimensional installations and sculptures, but also the artist’s grave!
Enjoying a good fish in front of the sea, an exciting “via-ferrata” in the coves and a relaxing walk along the coastal path that runs along the coast will be unforgettable memories.
Elegantly nestled between the Mediterranean Sea and the Garraf Natural Park, just 35 kilometres south of Barcelona, lies the exquisitely vibrant town of Sitges. It has long been deemed an absolute must-see destination in Catalonia, offering some of the region’s most luscious landscapes, ranging from pristine beaches to rugged mountainous trails.
Not only is Sitges idyllic, but it also wields some serious cultural and historic heft. Sitges as we know it now, grew up in the early 1900s as a bohemian destination and has resisted mass tourism. It is home to a wonderful array of fascinating museums and intriguing art galleries, such as the sublime Palau Maricel, as well as a broad range of cultural festivals and happenings throughout the year, boasting such stellar events as the International Film Festival and the colourful Sitges Carnival.
The town is exceptionally well-known for its hedonistic alter-ego, attracting legions of pleasure seekers every year. Visitors can find wonderful restaurants and bars and nightclubs open almost every night, offering an eclectic range of entertainment to suit all tastes. Venues vary from cosy, conversation-oriented bars and cafes to vivacious nightclubs that will surely prove memorable.
Another shining attribute is Sitges’ distinct architectural character, with an impressive art nouveau legacy evident in the many gems dotted around the Old Town in amongst the charming, traditional houses. It is a stimulating mix of the quintessential and the quirky, not to mention the town’s 17 fantastic beaches.
In recent years, Sitges has become a member of the Biosphere Tourism family, with sustainable and responsible tourism at the top of its agenda.