Set on a plain rising gently from the sea to a range of wooded hills, Barcelona is Spain's most cosmopolitan city and one of the Mediterranean's busiest ports. Restaurants, bars and clubs are always packed, as is the seaside in summer. The city's avant-garde chefs whip up a storm that has even the French reaching for superlatives.You might get the impression it's dedicated exclusively to hedonism, but it's a hard-working, dynamic place hoping to place itself in the vanguard of 21st-century Europe with a heavy concentration of hi-tech and biomedical business.
It regards its long past with pride. From Roman town it passed to medieval trade juggernaut, and its old centre constitutes one of the greatest concentrations of Gothic architecture in Europe. Beyond this core are some of the world's more bizarre buildings: surreal spectacles capped by Antoni Gaudí's Sagrada Família church.
Barcelona has been breaking ground in art, architecture and style since the late 19th century. From the marvels of Modernisme to the modern wonders of today, from Picasso to the likes of Susana Solano, the racing heart of Barcelona has barely skipped a beat.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a region with its own language, character and history – many Catalans think of their home as a separate country. The city itself could keep you occupied for weeks but just outside it are sandy beaches, Sitges and the Montserrat mountain range - so be sure to make time for a few day trips during your stay.
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Best places to stay in Barcelona
Barcelona city guide
Sun-kissed and lapped by the Mediterranean, Barcelona is packed with cultural treasures, from lamp-lit medieval lanes to glittering Gaudí masterpieces. By nightfall the city is a whirl of buzzing restaurants and tapas bars.
How to rediscover Barcelona on a Catalan night out
Barcelona has long been the city success story for Spanish tourism, drawing record numbers of international visitors every year. While the influence of the tourist euro on the city’s fortunes cannot be underestimated, for locals this success has come at a price as areas such as Barri Gòtic have changed beyond recognition...
Shopping in Barcelona
Barcelona's best bars and clubs
Barcelona could just be the coolest city on earth.
Festes de la Mercè (Festival of the Virgin of Mercy) - world's best festivals
'Barcelona Harbor' by papalars. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs Location: Barcelona, Spain Dates: four days around 24 September. 20-24 Sept 2013...
Barcelona's best bargain hotels
La Sagrada Família, the Museu Picasso and La Rambla – we’ve selected the most iconic sights and the top experiences so you can enjoy the real Barcelona with the minimum of fuss.
Barcelona Card with Guidebook
See and do everything Barcelona has to offer with this great value city sightseeing and discount card. Choose from 2, 3, 4 or 5 consecutive day passes and receive free entry, great discounts and offers to Barcelona's major attractions. Whether you prefer museums or galleries, cathedrals or shopping - Barcelona has it all.
Montserrat Royal Basilica Half-Day Trip from Barcelona
Enjoy a getaway to the Montserrat mountains on a half-day trip from Barcelona! You'll visit the Royal Basilica of Montserrat with its 12th-century carving of the Black Virgin and, after hearing its history from a guide, enjoy free time to explore.
18 free things to do in Barcelona
Barcelona is a city blessed with cultural attractions, bars and life-changing Catalan cuisine. Yet this ‘having fun’ business can come with a hefty price tag, as all those entry fees and tapas bills add up. Fortunately for those watching their euros, Barcelona has a heap on offer that won’t cost you a cent...
Barcelona - Plan your trip (Chapter)
Your journey to Barcelona starts here. You’ll find the tools to plan your adventure: where to go, how much to budget, plus a guide to getting the most out of Modernista architecture.