- Barcelona is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.
Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia and Spain’s second largest city, with a population of nearly one and half million people (nearly five million in the metropolitan area).
This city, located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history dating back at least 2,000 years when it gained prominence as a Roman town under its old name, Barcino.
In 1992, Barcelona gained international recognition by hosting the Olympic games which brought a massive upturn in its tourism industry.
This had the effect of changing the city in ways that are still felt today with neighbourhoods renovated (and in some cases levelled) and the intense focus of modern design permeating all aspects of life in Barcelona from public buildings to something as simple as a park bench or an event poster.
For visitors, this has translated into the very modern, yet incredibly old city you see now in the 21st century, where the new elements work to both preserve and celebrate the ancient.
This beautiful city is full of what European cities are known for (outdoor markets, restaurants, shops, museums and churches) and is fantastic for walking with an extensive and reliable Metro system for more far-flung destinations. The core centre of town, focused around the Ciutat Vella (“Old City”) provides days of enjoyment for those looking to experience the life of Barcelona while the beaches the city was built upon provide sun and relaxation during the long periods of agreeably warm weather.
When to go
Winter can throw up some azure skies and improbably warm days, while summer – though humid – is not as blisteringly hot as other Spanish cities. Spring and autumn are the safest periods, perhaps, weatherwise, though they are the most prone to sudden showers, particularly around October and November.
The period from late July to early September is a strange one – most locals with the means leave town, which makes for a quiet, traffic-free experience but it means most restaurants are closed and cultural events are thin on the ground. The busiest period is Easter and prices of flights and hotels are correspondingly high.