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The European Balloon Festival in Igualada is the biggest gathering of hot air balloons in Spain (this year is the 22nd edition) and welcomes around 25,000 visitors over four days at the start of July. It's a meeting point, a competition and a festival in one, with more than 50 balloons taking to the air. Competitive flights take place early in the morning and at dusk, when conditions are ideal, and if you want a taste of the high life, balloon rides can be booked in advance.
But there's plenty to enjoy from ground level, whether it's the different skill challenges in the competition, live music, kids' activities and workshops, or the magical Night Glow event, in which balloons are fired up but don't take off, glowing like lanterns and accompanied by a fireworks display.
Barcelona and its home-grown art nouveau movement, modernisme, go hand in hand. The style emerged in all its glory at the end of the 19th century to reveal itself in hundreds of extremely beautiful buildings which line the way. Let yourself be captivated once again by these masterpieces in a style full of opulence, fantasy, symbolism and colour.
Barcelona is known throughout the world for its architecture. This is why the city didn't want to fall behind in the race to have some of the world's finest contemporary buildings. The names of today's great architects and artists are present in almost every city neighbourhood.
Gaudí is a name associated with Barcelona who needs to be discovered while you admire his finest landmarks: a treasure trove of forms, ideas, symbols and fantasy which is hard to surpass. The Gaudí landmarks in Barcelona give a greater understanding of one of the most famous architects who ever worked in the city.
There are many different sides to Barcelona: the Barcelona with its traditional neighbourhoods, the Gothic, modernista and contemporary city… but there is also a green Barcelona, the Barcelona of parks and gardens. You’ll find them dotted around the city. These green spaces are always interesting, whether it be for their plants, urban design or sculptures.
The city’s longest avenue, the Diagonal, cuts through the two neighbourhoods. To the south, Les Corts, which is a blend of modernity and the rural origins of the area. To the north, the smart residential district of Pedralbes, with its parks, quiet streets and outstanding Gothic monastery..
Get ready for two days of intensive sightseeing which will be full of surprises. Here's an itinerary designed to help you pack as much as possible into 48 hours in the city.
The architectural works of Lluís Domènech i Montaner epitomise the Catalan modernista style. They encapsulate the endeavours of a humanist who knew how to integrate modernity and tradition into works of great formal beauty and rationalism, which contributed to the splendour of modernisme in Barcelona.
Puig i Cadafalch was a politician and art and architecture historian who became one of the leading figures in the Catalan nationalist movement due to his desire to reclaim Catalonia’s historic and cultural roots. This is reflected in an architecture which evolved from modernisme to noucentisme but never eschewed traditional forms.
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