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When crafting Spain tours, it's almost impossible not to include a visit to Barcelona. This Catalan hotspot has long been a large tourist draw, and for good reason. Barcelona is teeming with cultural significance, architectural intrigue and some of the best food around. While many of the best-known destinations are certainly worth a visit, if you're hoping to tour some of the less famous landmarks, you might have to do a little digging. There are some hidden gems in Barcelona, and here's a few of them:
This stunning garden complex was designed by the world famous architect Antoni Gaudi and is considered to be among his best works. The neighborhood seamlessly combines landscape elements with beautiful buildings and simply walking through the streets can offer a window into the impressive nature of Gaudi's work. Park Güell also features some unusual pieces including a multicolored mosaic salamander - commonly known as "the dragon" - that rests at the complex's entrance.
Though not technically a landmark, the neighborhood of El Raval is undoubtedly a highlight of Spain tours for those who know to add it to their itinerary. Even just walking down El Raval's narrow streets provides you with a glimpse at a cross-section of the Barcelona population. It also has plenty of opportunities for shopping and dining. You should also duck into one of the many bars, which are among the most unique in the city.
Mercat de Santa Caterina
Like many European cities, Barcelona is not lacking when it comes to bustling marketplaces. However, some of them can often become crowded hubs of tourist activity - not ideal if you're looking to avoid throngs of travelers. Luckily, Mercat de Santa Caterina is often less populated but still offers a rewarding experience. Active since the late 19th century, this market is also an appealing destination thanks to its unusual tiled wave-shaped roof.
Magic Fountain of Montjuïc
At more than 80 years old, this iconic fountain has been a stunning highlight of Barcelona for decades. The Magic Fountain of Montjuïc is more than just a water show, however. The performance also features music and lights to create a truly breathtaking spectacle that should surely make its way into your tour of Spain.
Look down in wonder at Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster and St Paul’s Cathedral from your glass-walled pod on the London Eye, then gaze out over the Louvre and the Champs-Elysees from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
The scent of rich pine forests lingers in the breeze as the 13th-century ruins of Turaida Castle are revealed before your eyes in the lush Gauja River valley in a medieval sanctuary untouched by the march of time.
The aroma of dark roasted Viennese coffee hangs thick in the air as you tread the cobblestone laneways and bask in the elegant architecture, atmospheric cafes and refined restaurants in one of the most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe.
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