To walk in Barcelona could be said to be like walking into a dream. From the confectionery-like buildings of Gaudí to the surreal works of Dalí and Miró, Barcelona exudes art and formidable architecture on every corner. You can't help but be impressed by the gothic architecture that populates this place — just take a ramble down the Ramblas and into the warren of narrow cobbled streets known as the Barri Gòtic.
The world-famous Sagrada Familia, a church so grand work was started in 1882 and is set to be finished in 2026, sits majestically as a token to Gaudí's vision of a warped Gothic architecture. You can do nothing but marvel at the intricate facades and teetering towers; a veritable melting pot of religious references, with a Modern Art twist. As you wander about the streets, you will occasionally be rewarded with tranquil squares, where locals and tourists alike can pause for a moment's peace and quiet.
If you're feeling a bit peckish, you can always stop by one of the many tapas bars on display, and try out the typical flavours of Spain. The more adventurous can have some Conill amb cargols (Rabbit cooked in a very perfumed sauce accompanied with snails), washed down with some crisp Vermouth.
For all you party kids out there — fear not, the rumours are true: Barcelona is THE party capital of Spain, offering clubbers and music fanatics more than the average night out. Shimmy on down to the centre and you're bound to find something to suit your mood. The fantastically popular Sonar music festival puts the city firmly on the lyrical map, bringing sunshine and electrifying DJ sets together in holy matrimony. The one thing that is certain is no matter which way you turn, you can be sure that Barcelona is a city that will set fire to your imagination.
Don't miss the Sonar Festival in mid-June! Definitely worth thinking about, especially if you want to go and set up accommodation in the city before your year abroad - perfect timing.
Still need a push in the right direction? Read the Barcelona Mole Diaries for insider advice and information...