Some people travel for food, others for sightseeing, and then there are the architecture buffs. Men and women who scour the globe looking for a building, a monument or a house that makes them speechless and reaching for a pencil and notebook. If the undulating walls of Gaudi’s creations or the sharp geometric lines of The Shard make your heart beat a little faster, this blog is for you. Here are our picks for finding some of the world’s best architecture, and understanding the story behind the bricks and mortar. 

Antoni Gaudi’s fantastical works - Barcelona, Spain

Gaudi said a solid ‘no, gracias’ to the straight lines and hefty columns of neoclassicism, and went wildly the other way into the art nouveau movement. His buildings didn’t just go against the grain of the popular architecture of the day, but seemingly also against the laws of physics. Mind-bending, fantastical, and just plain outrageous, Gaudi’s masterpieces draw huge crowds who come from all over the world. With seven of his buildings on the UNESCO world heritage list, every architecture buff has their sights set on Barcelona.

While La Sagrada Familia Basilica is often the shining star of the lot, there is so much more to Gaudi than just the unfinished church. We recommend starting out on foot in Barcelona’s Eixample district where you can see Casa Milà, Casa Batlló and the Plaça Reial. For hardcore fans, venture out to see the Church of Colònia Güell. Unfinished like the Basilica, the little church/crypt is strangely moving. It's located further out but worth the effort of getting there.

London’s impressive mixed bag - United Kingdom

Looking at the London skyline, you would be forgiven for questioning which century you were in. The ‘Gherkin’ sits next to The Shard, and in between, you have the imposing, but no less impressive, historical sites such as St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Big Ben. Of course, that is the beauty of London; A place where history meets an almost sci-fi level of modernism. If you’re toting along someone who can’t tell their art deco from their art nouveau, most of London’s most impressive buildings have something else going on - fine dining, art, historical significance - which means everyone is happy.

If shine and glamour don’t float your architectural boat, that’s where London’s brutalist architecture comes in. Austere and slab-like, head to the the brutalist Disneyland that is the Barbican, and then finish the day with a stroll along London’s Southbank.

Where feats of architecture meet sand - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Home to the world’s tallest building, Dubai has put itself on the map for fans of impressive and maybe slightly over-the-top architecture. The Burj Khalifa sits at 828 metres tall and can be experienced in a few different ways - from taking a few pictures from the observation deck on level 148 to having a romantic (and expensive!) dinner at Atmosphere on the 122nd floor. It’s not all just about the Burj Khalifa, you’ve also got the very impressive Burj Al Arab, and the twisty Cayan tower.

Do as the Romans do - Rome, Italy

Another great jumble of modern and contemporary architecture, Rome essentially wrote the rules for classical architecture. With architects like Michelangelo and Bramante putting on their thinking caps and getting to work in early Rome, the results are pretty spectacular. Arguably the best way to see the architecture of Rome is on foot, stopping for pasta or a strong espresso when the mood hits. Must-sees are, of course, the Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Colosseum, but keep a watch for beautiful work in the city's piazzas, churches and sneaky spots like the catacombs.

Whether you’re an expert or a novice, architecture nerd, there’s no denying a world of beautiful structures awaits. Pack your best walking shoes, a pen and sketchbook, and get out there!

Limits, exclusions and conditions apply. This is general advice only. We do not provide any advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider the Combined PDS/FSG (available before deciding about this insurance.

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