Catalonia's proud, and fiercely independent, identity is well known and has made its way into every aspect of life in Spain's most prosperous region. The area is teeming with history and culture, from the Golden Age (1100 - 1400) to the anti-Franco resistance in the 20th century. Add to that great food, wine, and adventurous activities and you have the perfect spot for a Big Short Break, or longer luxury holiday.
Begin in Barcelona, one of Europe's favourite holiday spots, where the medieval Barrio Gotico butts up against Gaudi's modernist masterpieces - including the Sagrada Familia. One of the most famous churches in the world is tied for the city's most visited spot with, believe it or not, the Camp Nous stadium, home to Barcelona FC. The legendary elBulli may have permanently shuttered its doors, but we know the best guides; most beautiful spots; and, most importantly, the most delicious places to eat tapas and go dancing, to make an excellent luxury city break in our favourite European sea-side city.
Beyond Barcelona, the region holds an astonishing array of natural beauty; volcanic plains give way to windblown capes, and sandy beaches are bordered by sprawling vineyards. To the north, the Pyrenees tower over the surrounding landscape, providing ample hiking trails which weave between peaceful valleys, Romanesque churches and secluded villages. Along the Costa Brava, the best Roman ruins in Spain mingle with the coastline, which appears to alternate seamlessly between wild and woolly and perfectly manicured, and the area positively fizzes with summer fun and fairy tale castles. One of our favourite ways to explore the region is by bike, taking in the spectacular scenery, fantastic food, and (more than a little of) the wonderful wines along the way. The towns of Girona and Figures are also among Original Travel's favourites; Girona, for its fascinating Jewish history and culinary witchcraft, and Figueres for its gloriously surreal theatre-museum, courtesy of the town's most famous son, Salvador Dali.