ANTONI Gaudi has a lot to answer for.
The visionary architect’s work still defines Barcelona’s heritage and attracts tourists by the thousands.
But it could also be argued that his iconic structures have been inspiring the creative industries for decades.
Gaudi’s most famous work, La Sagrada Familia, the world’s largest cathedral, is a soaring spectacle but also intricate in its spiritual symbols.
Work continues on its completion after more than a century but thanks to its epic scale you imagine someone like Saruman from the The Lord of the Rings casting his magic there.
Casa Batlló’s vivid colours and dragon-inspired roof makes it look like something from a Disney fairytale. It was originally designed for a middle-class family.
Meanwhile the guards on the rooftop of avant-garde apartment building La Pedrera have been likened to Darth Vader.
The impact of Gaudi’s work on culture cannot be under-estimated but this is just one facet of a vast, vibrant city which has so much to offer.
We stayed in the Gracia region near Park Güell, another Gaudi wonder with a maze of pathways which catch the Spanish sun.
The fascinating architecture and mosaic work attract thousands every day while music from buskers, playing everything from guitar to didgeridoo, blends into the background.
Thankfully, Barcelona is easy to navigate thanks to its frequent, reliable metro system.
We often hopped off the underground at Catalunya to stroll through La Rambla, the central tree-lined street, to experience the bustle for trade.
Beyond that is the city beach in Barceloneta, a haven for sun worshippers.
Other highlights included the medieval Gothic Quarter where you can watch a traditional Catalan folk dance, a symbol of unity, every Sunday morning.
The 74-acre Parc de la Ciutadella also proved an oasis of calm with a gigantic waterfall fountain, tree-lined trails and a lake where you can row your loved one on a boat.
For some aerial views of the city, we tried out the cable car from the port to Montjuic and then took a stroll to Castell de Montjuic, a fortress that protected the city in the 18th century.
An enjoyable afternoon but the cable car ride was a bit short and crowded for the price.
If you are travelling with the kids, CosmoCaixa is a must.
An excellent science musuem where almost everything is interactive, it will keep youngsters entertained for hours.
While if you are in the mood for celebrating, the magic fountain of Montjuic ends the day in style.
The fountain is lit up in vibrant colours as the water dances to pop music and iconic film scores in front of Palau Nacional.
A word of warning though. Tourist attractions, especially Gaudi ones, come at a price.
Barcelona makes National Trust entry fees seem very reasonable so it is best to pick and choose where to visit based on your preferences if you are on a budget.
Barcelona: Living in Gaudi's playground, Newport Internation