Above: The exterior of the Majestic Hotel & Spa

The allure ofBarcelonaseems to be unassailable. Neither the terrorist attack on La Rambla last August nor the political uncertainty hovering over Catalonia seems to have diminished the international popularity of Spain’s second city, a place I fell in love with many decades ago. What thrilled me about the city then still excites me about Barcelona today: its vivacity; its stunning seaside setting; its astonishing architecture, including La Sagrada Família basilica and other intriguingly eccentric works by the Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí; its animated cafés and tapas bars; and its superb restaurants.

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