Prague’s Architectural Wonderland of Cubist Buildings

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Prague's Architectural Wonderland of Cubist Buildings

September 12, 2018

As I first discovered in the peachy dusk of a winter’s evening in 1989 when the air in Prague still had the curious, candied smell of coal smoke, the Czech capital is one of the most spectacular living libraries of Western architecture. (It was spared much of the bombing that other Central European cities suffered during World War II.) Prague’s historic center—Hradčany Castle, St. Vitus Cathedral, Charles Bridge, and numerous churches and palaces, built mostly between the 11th and 18th centuries—is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but throughout the entire city there is a remarkably varied array of architecture: Gothic to Renaissance, Baroque, Neo-Classical, Beaux Arts, Cubist, and Art Deco. Walk through Prague and you walk through the history of Western architecture.

We stayed at the famous Hotel Europa, a now-closed Art Nouveau masterpiece on Wenceslas Square. Upon arrival—we got in late— we were sternly warned that the city’s few restaurants rarely served much beyond 10 p.m. Hungry, we immediately set out to find dinner, but, wandering cobblestone streets spread with fine, crunchy grit against the slippery frost, buildings sprung into real life from fantasies and fairytales repeatedly waylaid us. Obecni Dum (Municipal Hall) had a magnificent porte-cochere made of glass and verdigrised metal ornamented with fantastic lamps, lanterns, and brass. It was a joyously strange flight of architectural imagination, the likes of which I had rarely before seen in Europe. The only similar examples I could think of were several houses in Barcelona by Antoni Gaudi and his Sagrada Familia cathedral in the same city.

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Peering into one smoky tavern after another, we had a hard time finding a restaurant that looked appetizing (happily, today there’s a lot of superb food in Prague). It almost didn’t matter though, because the architectural mystery and magnificence of the city fed our souls. For a time. We finally ended up with a plate of mysterious mud-brown stew and spongy bread dumplings. For dessert we went back to the city’s architecture. We wandered home without looking at the map, but generally headed in the direction of Old Town Square. On Celetná Street, brightly lit shop windows displayed glittering Bohemian crystal, one of the Czech Republic’s most famous products. And then I saw the oddest building I’d ever seen. Terra-cotta colored, it was hulking but strangely elegant, with curiously beveled windows set into deep casements in its blocky but handsome façade.

In 1989, there was no posted explanation of what this building might be. Back at the hotel I looked it up in my guidebook—no TripAdvisor or smartphones back then either: House of the Black Madonna. We had noticed a gilded black Madonna in a niche behind a golden grill at one corner of the building at the level of its first floor. I never would have guessed the building had once been a department store, nor that it was the Czech Republic’s first Cubist building. I knew the movement of Cubist painters, notably Picasso and Braque, who worked in Paris at the beginning of the 20th century, but was unaware that Cubism had ever had an architectural expression.

Enthralled, I became a student of Czech Cubist architecture; it was so compellingly eccentric. Who were the people with the nerve to build these peculiar designs in one of Europe’s most beautiful capitals? On that first visit to Prague, the dearth of information in English about the city’s other Cubist buildings—House of the Black Madonna was not alone—left me wanting more. When I returned a year later, fate intervened; I met a professor, an English-speaking Czech I fell hard for and who shared my fascination with this architectural style. One element of the regular every-other-weekend visits I came to make was the special treat of being taken to see yet another of the city’s great Cubist masterpieces. I began to learn the names and stories of the men behind these buildings: Pavel Janák, Josef Gočár (the architect of the House of the Black Madonna), Vlastislav Hofman, and Josef Chochol were the most prolific and known.

In all of its different forms of expression, including architecture, painting, sculpture, and interior design and the decorative arts, Czech Cubism flourished in Prague from 1912 to 1914, when the region was still part of the huge Austro-Hungarian Empire. These years were a prolific time for various avant-garde cultural movements. Prague’s most famous son, writer Franz Kafka, was already penning the short fiction that would make him world- renowned and the city was the world’s best-known center of Cubism outside of Paris; some might argue it surpassed the French capital.

Encouraged by advances in building technology, specifically the use of reinforced concrete, Prague’s Cubist architects designed buildings that challenged the conventions of visual reality and tradition the same way Cubist painters did. Prague’s Cubist buildings had sharp angles, slicing planes, and forms reminiscent of the inside of a crystal. There were often also large spaces unobstructed by supporting columns or pillars, made possible entirely by reinforced concrete, molded cement invisibly strengthened by steel rods and bars. Such open spaces were revolutionary at the time.

Cubist architects’ aim in disrupting the golden rules of their craft, specifically symmetry and the “appropriate” use of ornamentation, was the shared belief that most objects carry their own inner energy. The only way to release this energy was to break the flat vertical and horizontal surfaces of conventional architecture. The predominant visual feature of Czech Cubism—recurring use of beveled architectural elements—give forms an aggressive angularity that’s mathematically correct but sometimes slightly off center. Prague’s Cubist movement was also a reaction against what its practitioners considered to be the florid excesses of Secessionist architecture, or Art Nouveau.

In 1918, following World War I, the dismantling of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and the founding of Czechoslovakia, the graphic, angled character of the Prague school of Cubism evolved. This second wave of this evolution, which had its heyday from 1918 until it was sidelined by Functionalism and Art Deco, became known as Czech Rondocubism. This style obeyed the basic tenet of Czech Cubism, which is to make buildings pre-dimensional and added more decorative and ornamental motifs and rounded façades. This style was inspired by traditional Czech folk art and reflected the euphoria of the country at gaining its independence. (For nearly two centuries, German had replaced Czech as the main language spoken.)

Though Czech Cubist architecture never found a big following outside of the country—it was too visually extreme to move from a studiously provocative experiment into the mainstream—both Cubist and Rondocubist buildings were an important source of inspiration during the birth of Art Deco in the 1920s. And they’re still an inspiration for me. The professor and I split up, but my relationship with Prague and this quintessentially Czech style of architecture endures. Continue reading for a quick class in Czech Cubism.

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The House of the Black Madonna was the first Cubist building in Prague and remains one of the finest examples of the style. Built from 1911 to 1912 by architect Josef Gočár, it was originally designed as a department store and today houses the Museum of Czech Cubism. The museum’s fourth and fifth floors are dedicated to a permanent exhibition of Cubist art—paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glassware, and furniture— curated by the Czech Museum of Fine Arts. On the first floor, the Grand Café Orient is the world’s only surviving Cubist interior.

Emil Kralicek designed the world’s only Cubist street lantern. It’s in Jungmann Square at the side entrance of the 15th- century Gothic/Baroque Church of Our Lady of the Snows.

Palác Adria is wonderfully weird, marrying elements of Rondocubism with fortress-like towers. Architect Josef Zasche designed the opulent building for an Italian insurance company in 1924.

Emil Karlicek’s Diamant House offers a pure and potent expression of early Cubism, with a huge doorway, surprising rooftop sculptures, and a diamond-cut façade.

Architect Otakar Novotny designed the dramatic apartment houses at Elisky Krasnohorske 10-14.

The quiet, residential Vysehrad District is home to many Cubist buildings by Josef Chochol including the Kovarovicova Villa (Libusina 49) and a trio of Cubist buildings part of a longer row (42, 47, and 71 Rasinovo nabrezi). His apartment building at Neklanova 98 is charming for being such a dramatic architectural mistaken-guess at how the “modern” world would look in the coming years.

In the Hradčany District around Prague Castle, which itself dates from the 9th century and includes Gothic and Romanesque buildings, Josef Gočár’s twin houses at Tychonova 4-6 are classic Cubist.

The National Gallery (Veletržní Palace), is itself a Functionalist building, but has a permanent exhibition devoted to Cubist art and architecture.

The Dancing House was built in 1996, but it’s proof that the work of Prague’s Cubist architects still resonates today. Canadian- American architect Frank Gehry worked with Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić on the design. The result is brilliantly twisted—literally and figuratively—and it’s the most famous modern building in the city. It’s also a witty post-modern riff on the work of the city’s original Cubists that they surely would appreciate.

One Couple’s Experience on a River Cruise Through Europe

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One Couple’s Experience on a River Cruise Through Europe

September 7, 2018

My husband Doug and I had done Inspirato cruises, as well as cruises on our own, before but we’d never done a river cruise. We were always on a big Seabourn or Crystal boat. Those ships are amazing and have several hundred other people aboard; we enjoyed them, but on our most recent one we actually had problems meeting people. 

That really made us curious about how different a small cruise might be. We thought a smaller boat would be a great way to meet other members with whom we had things in common. As soon as we saw the itinerary for Inspirato’s Danube cruise from Prague to Vienna on the AmaCerto, we signed up. It was the perfect-size boat, about 160 state rooms, with an itinerary of cities we had never been to but were interested in.

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From the first time the group met up in Prague, we knew our hunch was right. The group was so small! We boarded buses— only needing several instead of several dozen—to get from Prague to Vilshofen, where the boat waited for us. We started meeting people right away. By the time we stopped for a short tour and lunch at the medieval city of Regensburg, a beautifully preserved UNESCO World Heritage Site about halfway between Prague and the AmaCerto, we were already friendly with other couples. That evening in Vilshofen, a Bavarian town that is at least 1,200 years old, a private Oktoberfest celebration for Inspirato Members and guests really kicked things off. Also, Bavaria is the birthplace of Oktoberfest, and the event really felt like a local celebration. We got to try so many different beers and there was traditional Bavarian folk music and dancing. People we met this first day are among those we’ve stayed in touch with.

We didn’t really have expectations for this trip since everything about it was new to us—the small boat, the stops—but, if we had, they would have been exceeded. I’m still surprised at how much I enjoyed things that hadn’t ever crossed my mind: On larger ships, you travel at night, but on the AmaCerto, we traveled a lot during the day. It was novel to sit out on the deck and watch the locals fishing, walking their dogs, or taking a run. It made us feel even more a part of the local culture and reinforced the more intimate vibe of a smaller boat.

This was the first cruise I’ve done where I felt like we actually learned about the lives of the people in the cities we visited. It was so easy to walk into each town, or borrow one of the AmaCerto’s complimentary bikes and ride into town whenever we wanted. (Of course there were multiple daily activities and tours to choose from, too.) One of the big topics of conversation at a couple of our dinners with new friends was how much the locals had gone through under Communism and its aftermath. We had all learned about Communism in school, but a history class doesn’t teach you as much as talking to people who lived through it. Learning about the experiences of others added real depth to this trip.

But, of course, everything wasn’t serious. I, with several new girlfriends, went shopping in Vienna. In the smaller towns and cities earlier in the itinerary—Linz, Melk, Krems—we had been shopping in many cute local boutiques on hidden cobblestone streets where we got unique gifts for friends and family, but it was nice in Vienna to be around stores and brands we were familiar with. All of us found something in Hermes or Gucci that wasn’t available at their U.S. boutiques. The husbands weren’t happy about our shopping, but, since I’ve been home, when I’ve worn the belt buckle I bought in Vienna, it conjures happy memories of a great trip.

The shopping was not the highlight of Vienna though. I would not have considered myself a fan of Strauss or Mozart (Doug was), and, before this trip, I didn’t listen to classical music at home. But Vienna is considered the “Music Capital of the World” and Inspirato arranged for seats in the front section of the Kursalon Lanner Hall for an evening concert by the Salonorchester Alt Wien. It was magical, and eye-opening. It spurred us to listen to that music more; now I love listening to it in the house.

Back home, we’ve also introduced friends to some of the foods we encountered on the cruise. We gifted all sorts of Hungarian spices—real Hungarian paprika is so much better than any paprika I’ve found here— to friends at home, and we’re planning on having a dinner party that features Hungarian and German food like sausages, Wiener schnitzel, and cheese soup. In Budapest, we took a cooking class where we made goulash (with plenty of paprika), a classic Hungarian dish. The first weekend we were home together, I made it for Doug.

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Even onboard the AmaCerto, or I should say, especially onboard, the food was amazing, and the dining scene was exactly what we had hoped for. There were multiple seating times and open seating. If we wanted to have an intimate dinner with the two of us, we could without having to make a reservation in advance. Or we could decide we wanted to sit with new friends. And the flavors of each meal were different. Sometimes on bigger ships, we had a lot of the same thing every day. That wasn’t the case on the AmaCerto

Every day was a different flavor of ice cream and the entrée options were really switched up every night. One night we had a special meal out on the deck with truly fabulous wines and locally inspired food. I had thought all the hiking and bike riding we did over the week—every stop had hiking to historic sites and we rode bikes to vineyards once—would counteract all the food we ate, but that didn’t quite happen. It was worth it though, both for the cuisine and the new friends we shared it with. Over one meal, several couples talked about planning a future Inspirato trip together. We haven’t started planning yet, but I don’t doubt it will happen

Why the World’s Best Lemons Come from Italy’s Amalfi Coast

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Why the World’s Best Lemons Come from Italy’s Amalfi Coast

August 15, 2018

One of the most delicious lessons I’ve ever learned was delivered in a most unforgettable way. 
Sudden thrashing sounds of someone— something—approaching had scared us to death. But happily, it was two Italian farmers that finally appeared, and they grinned at us, because they could see we’d made a mistaken assumption about the thrashing heralding danger. Then, with bashful pride and patience, they taught us why the world’s best lemons come from Italy’s Amalfi Coast. Let me explain.

A couple of hours earlier, in the dappled shade of lemon trees,
we had spread the bed sheet we borrowed from a hotel in Rome.
We then rested quietly for a few minutes. The path between the terraced slopes that brought us here had been steep. In the welcome heat of the day, the plump, dimpled, yellow fruit overhead dangled like lanterns. The warm air was infused with a soft, fruity perfume that would have made us sleepy, were it not for the fact that we were already in a dopey kind of ecstasy induced by the dumb beauty of being in an Italian lemon grove on the Amalfi Coast.

After all, this fragrant clearing with a spectacular view of the distant lapis-lazuli-colored Mediterranean Sea was exactly what I’d pictured when I’d read a description of southern Italy by the German writer Goethe: He described it as “the land where lemons grow.” I was in a stuffy car that smelled of rain-soaked wool on the London Underground, and, reading Goethe’s words, I knew the Amalfi Coast was where I wanted to go for my term break—it would be a respite from the endless rain and pewter skies of autumn in London, where I was spending a year studying abroad.

I dragooned three friends into joining me, and after a few days in Rome we arrived on the Amalfi Coast, where we were instantly spellbound by its beauty, its weather—even in October, it was warm enough to wear nothing but a T-shirt—its stunningly good food, and a shockingly delicious and instantly addictive locally made yellow elixir called limoncello. The latter was made by infusing pure alcohol with the rinds of lemons and then mixing it with sugar syrup. Many restaurants served it after dinner and on the house.

Since we were students traveling by the seat of our pants,
we probably would have liked anything served on the house. 
But limoncello…it was so delicious that we almost yelped with pleasure when the nice, old woman who owned the Sorrento restaurant where we’d eaten returned with the bottle and poured us a second round. She sweetly reassured us that this round,
like the first, was free, “A gift from me!” We followed these two servings with a third limoncello in a café that definitely wasn’t free but was delicious enough we didn’t care.

We met the morning a little fuzzy-headed but still caught a local bus to Amalfi. Here we visited the iconic Amalfi Cathedral, and then, not having enough money to eat in a restaurant again for a few days, we shopped for a picnic of bread, cheese, ham, fruit, and a bottle of alarmingly cheap wine. In search of a pretty spot to have our picnic, we trekked up and past the town and into the steep slopes behind it.

“These must be the lemons they use to make limoncello,” my friend Joel said as we set up our feast. We knew he was right from their lovely perfume. Though tempted to taste one of the lemons bobbing overhead, we didn’t; an unspoken sense of propriety reminded us they were private property growing on private property where we likely shouldn’t be. So we satisfied ourselves with our picnic and were happily dozing or reading when the thrashing sounds started. All four of us sat up straight.

Two men, one white-haired, the other much younger, dropped from the terrace above and landed next to us with a thud. “Tedeschi?” the older one asked us. “No, siamo Americani,” I replied, using the tiny bit of Italian I knew to explain that we were American and not German. “This is our farm,” said the younger one in English. “It’s very beautiful, and your lemons are delicious,” I said. “Oh, did you taste them?!” “No, no, of course not, but we had some lemon pasta last night in a restaurant, and it was delicious.” He yanked a lemon off a tree, twisted it open, and offered it to me, adding, “Our lemons are so good you can eat them like fruit. They’re the world’s best lemons!” He introduced his father as Gaetano and himself as Daniele and explained that he’d worked in the merchant marine. He had traveled all over the world and recently come home to take over the family lemon farm because his father wanted a rest. Gaetano, a sturdy, nut-brown man with bright blue eyes and a full head of black hair, spoke no English but smiled and nodded as his son spoke. “My father’s 90 years old and has been working on the farm since he was 11,” Daniele told us. Gaetano had a good hard laugh when
he saw our jaws drop. He looked barely 60. “Hard work is good for you,” he said, and his son translated. “Also, eating lots of lemons!” he added, and we all laughed.

Daniele explained that his family had been growing lemons for generations and that the fruit has been cultivated on the Amalfi Coast since Roman times but really developed between the 10th and 12th centuries. Local farmers had created the distinctive local variety known as Sfusato d’Amalfi (fuso means spindle in Italian and is a reference to the elongated shape of the fruit, which also has thick nipples at both ends). They crossed the bitter oranges indigenous to the area with lemons that had come from the Middle East (scientists using genetic testing have discovered lemons originated in China). Originally, the Italian lemons proved useful to navies and business owners who bought them in bulk to stave off scurvy by providing vitamin C on long sea voyages. Eventually the lemons found their way into local cooking in a variety of guises and attracted the attention of the world beyond Italy when the Amalfi Coast first began to emerge as a tourist destination in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Slowly, the Amalfi region turned into a major lemon-producing zone, and the fruit was exported all over Europe and even as far as the U.S. It was prized for its thick, perfumed skin, low acidity, and very low concentration of seeds. The peak year for Amalfi lemon production was 1915. It went downhill after that because the two world wars caused many locals to trade farming for better-paid factory work in the north of Italy or abroad.

Amalfi Coast Italy

As we picnicked on Daniele and Gaetano’s lemon terrace, many of the other farms in the lemon belt—Minori and Maiori, traditionally the largest lemon-producing towns, but also Amalfi, Atrani, Cetara, Conca dei Marini, Furore, Positano, Praiano, Ravello, Scala, Tramonti, and Vietri sul Mare—were falling into disrepair. Because the steep terraces on which the lemon trees grow are essential to keeping the landscapes of the Amalfi Coast healthy—the terraces prevent landslides and flooding and their green canopy also keeps the region a little cooler—Daniele worried that no one was replacing his father’s generation of farmers. A loss
 of lemon farmers didn’t just mean fewer lemons, but increased risk of landslides and warmer temperatures. Many farms were being lucratively sold as building sites. “The problem is that it’s basically impossible to mechanize the production of Amalfi Coast lemons, because the terraces are too small to support heavy machinery of any kind, so everything must be done by hand,” he told us.

Visiting the Amalfi Coast again last fall—some 25 years after Daniele gave me my first lesson in its famous lemons—I was happily reassured about the future of these groves. I walked the magnificent Sentiero dei Limoni (literally “The Footpath of the Lemons”), which runs from Minori to Maiori. Both above and below the hiking path, there were still, as far as the eye could see, lemon orchards under thick netting. I heard the crashing noises of the i contadini volanti, “the flying farmers.” Like a troop of acrobats, they scampered above and under the sturdy trellises of chestnut wood stakes that hold up the lemon trees, pruning, training, and harvesting lemons in an annual cycle that hasn’t changed in centuries.

After the two world wars, Spain’s entry into the European Union
in 1986 challenged Italian lemon producers with a flood of cheap citrus. But that same year, the Slow Food movement was founded in the Piedmont town of Bra; it helped Amalfi lemons. With Slow Food came an appreciation for geographically specific, traditionally farmed Italian produce, especially lemons bearing an Amalfi Coast I.G.P. (Indicazione Geografica Protetta), a label that legally attests to their authenticity as having been grown there.

Recognizing that thousands of travelers who visit the Amalfi Coast every year are fascinated by their lemon farms, several locals have
set up tours of groves, which include explanations of their history,
 the growing cycle, and usually a tasting or two. The Amalfi Lemon Experience begins on the steps of the cathedral in Amalfi and includes visits to the groves and a small-but-fascinating farm museum before a tasting of various products produced with organic lemons.

My favorite way to celebrate the fruit, however, is to head to Ristorante San Pietro, a locals’ favorite in Cetara. I always have
the same meal there—spaghetti with butter, Parmesan, and freshly squeezed lemon juice and then a tartare of ricciola (amberjack) with a light sauce of lemon juice and olive oil. (The former is not on the menu—you have to ask for it.) The last time I ordered this meal, it was from a friendly older waitress and the day was drizzly. She nodded approvingly and said, “Even when it rains here, there’s always plenty of sun stored up in our lemons!”

Pedal the Val d’Orcia to Experience the Essence of Tuscany

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Pedal the Val d’Orcia to Experience the Essence of Tuscany

August 14, 2018

Tuscany is always a good idea. When your mind dreams of the Italian countryside—the stuff of Renaissance paintings and Puccini’s operas—the Val d’Orcia is where it’s wandering. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Val d’Orcia is the essence of Tuscany. One of the most intimate ways to experience it is from the saddle of a bike, when there’s nothing between you and the region’s sights and smells—or between you and that gorgeous Tuscan sun.

Villa Azzurri Exterior, Tuscany, Italy
Villa Azzurri is a restored farmhouse that can accommodate up to 10 guests.

The Val d’Orcia begins south of the provincial capital Siena and continues to the volcanic landmark, Monte Amiata. Its rolling, cyprus-tree-studded hills are best suited to touring bikes so you can access the many miles of unpaved backroads and trails. This network triangulates within the villages of Pienza (a 15th-century urban-planning experiment from the mind of Pope Pius II), Radicofani (once the stronghold of the 13th-century gentleman bandit, Ghino di Tacco) and Montalcino (the appellation of the famed Italian varietal, Brunello di Montalcino). 

Here you may taste Sangiovese and Trebbiano wines, nibble on pecorino cheese, and lose yourself in a land where you can practically hear an angelic soprano singing Puccini with every pedal stroke.

Villa San Bartolomeo, Tuscany, Italy
Villa San Bartolomeo, a historic villa that's been fully updated.

If you’re looking to experience Tuscany as authentically as possible, choosing the right accommodations is essential. Inspirato has a few options for your next stay. First, there’s Monticelli, a six-bedroom farmhouse tucked away in the rolling Tuscan hills. Next, there’s Villa San Bartolomeo, a historic Italian villa that sleeps 12 guests and boasts much of its original charm. Finally, there’s Villa Azzurri, another restored farmhouse on an Italian hillside.

Monticelli Exterior, Tuscany, Italy
Monticelli is a contemporary farmhouse in the Italian countryside.

It’s time to add pedaling the Val d’Orcia to your bucket list. Tuscany is notoriously one of the most beautiful places in the world, and there’s no better way to experience it than on the back of a bicycle riding the winding gravel roads.

Luxury Apartments You Can Rent in the Heart of Barcelona

Luxury Apartments You Can Rent in the Heart of Barcelona

May 15, 2018

Barcelona, the capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, is home to over 1.6 million people and some of the richest culture in the world. Notorious for its art, history, and otherworldly architecture, tourists never run out of things to see. 

Whether you’re into scenic parks, centuries-old churches, or urban nightlife, there’s something for everyone in this enchanting city.  Ranked as the #1 Place to Visit in Spain by U.S. News & World Report, it’s no secret that Barcelona has plenty to offer the Euro-traveler. Not sure where to stay when you visit? Explore inside the Majestic Residences in the slideshow below.

Hotel Majestic Barcelona

With easy access to attractions, the Majestic Residences are the ideal place to stay.

Hotel Majestic Barcelona Balcony

The solarium-terrace overlooks the city with views of La Sagrada Familia, La Pedrera, and Paseo de Gràcia.

Majestic Hotel Barcelona Living Room

This modern two-story home is the perfect place to stay in the heart of Barcelona.

Hotel Majestic Barcelona Breakfast

The unique, oversized breakfast bar is open every morning with a variety of food to choose from.

Rooftop Terrace, Hotel Majestic, Barcelona, Spain

One of the most-loved features at the hotel is the open-air, rooftop pool with stunning views.

Hotel Majestic Barcelona Restaurant

Six on-site dining options make it easy for guests to enjoy a meal at any time of day.

Majestic Hotel Barcelona Desk

The views of downtown Barcelona from the Majestic Hotel and Residences are unrivaled.

Guests will love the hydro-massage tub, walk-in shower, and high-end bathroom design.

Every luxurious design detail was accounted for inside the Majestic Residences.

Majestic Hotel Barcelona Bedroom

Guests will rest easy with luxury bedding, blackout curtains, and high-end amenities.

Explore Parc Güell

One of the most popular sites is Parc Güell, a whimsical park that was originally supposed to house the wealthy. Antoni Gaudí decided to create a garden when the land wasn’t compatible for buildings incorporating all of the oddities. The park stretches over 42 acres and holds Dr. Seuss-style structures and plenty of picturesque landscapes and pathways to explore. 

Penthouse Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona Sagrada Familia view

The Gothic Quarter

For history and architecture lovers, the Gothic Quarter is the first stop. This lively neighborhood is also the city’s oldest, and it has plenty of historic sites conveniently nestled between shops, cafes, and bars on its medieval streets. Locals recommend ditching the map and pre-made plans altogether when exploring the area—unknown treasures await those who explore the Gothic Quarter.

Penthouse Paseo de Gracia Majestic Hotel and Spa Barcelona 6

Just like any European vacation, the accommodations can make or break the trip. Who wants to see a new city with uncomfortable sleeping arrangements or a bad view? So if traveling to Barcelona is in your future, do your best to stay in the heart of the metro area. The Majestic Residences are the perfect option for culture lovers, foodies, and explorers. There’s no better way to experience this magical Spanish city.