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Barcelonaspain's sleepless city

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Time Out: Barcelona

Siqui Sánchez (Park Güell)

Photo by Siqui Sánchez

Overlooking the city from Park Güell.

Barcelona is the jewel in Spain’s crown and a global mecca. Located on the northeast coast of the Iberian Peninsula, it’s known for vibrant street life, fabulous beaches, tree-lined boulevards, unique modernista architecture and world-class football. With warm, dry summers and mild winters, Barcelona is Europe’s third-most-visited city and consistently ranks among the world’s most livable ones. Grab yourself a Barcelona Card—a tourist discount card offering nicely priced museum entries as well as free travel on city transport—and hit the streets.

1. WHIMSICAL WALKING TOUR: Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí’s colorful, frosted structures and whimsical embellishments make Old Town unique. Put on your walking shoes and visit Casa Milà, Casa Batlló, Palau Güell and the famed Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Snap a selfie at Park Güell overlooking the city.

2. LUNCH: Across from Casa Batlló, the classy five-star Mandarin Oriental enjoys a prime location among the avant-garde luxury boutiques on Passeig de Gràcia. The hotel boasts sleek, modern style and top-class service and is a great value compared to its Parisian sister. Enjoy a sumptuous meal in the hotel’s airy Blanc Brasserie, nestled under Matisse-like white cutouts.

3. FOODIE'S PARADISE: The centuries-old Mercato Boqueria features rows of vendors selling Spain’s famous Iberico ham. Enjoy samples and don’t miss the Bellota ham from pigs that feast only on black acorns. There’s no need to refrigerate jamon, so buy some as a gift (after checking duty restrictions, of course).

4. WINE AND DINE: Bodega Torres, a major Spanish wine producer, offers guests stellar tapas and vino at its flagship restaurant on Passeig de Gràcia.

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