The coastal city of Barcelona stands out for its dynamism and culturally mixed beauty, both modern and ancient, with its famous Gaudi architecture and atmospheric Gothic Quarter.
Best time to visit
Although great for visiting all year round, Barcelona's peak season is during spring and summer. If you enjoy visiting at festival and holiday times, Spain's main Christmas day is on 6th January, the Day of the Three Wise Men (Dia de los Reyes). In February, there's the week-long Carnival. The Gràcia district street party (Fiesta major de Gràcia) takes place in August. Barcelona is Catalonia's capital city and as such its official languages are Catalan and Spanish, and Catalonia's independence day (La Diada de Catalunya) takes place on 11th September.
Tips and facts before you travel
To taste some typical regional foods, try the special bread and ham (Pan Tomaca con Jamón Serrano) and the Crema Catalana dessert, the Catalan version of crème brûlée. Prices tend to be cheaper in Barcelona than in London; eating out is usually much cheaper. You'll pay about 4 or 5EUR for a beer. Barcelona's time zone is GMT+1.
From El Prat Airport the city centre is about 12km away. A regular Aerobus A1 and A2 service goes to Plaça de Catalunya for around 6EUR. A train runs to the city, or a taxi costs about 20EUR.
Hotels start at about 100EUR per person per night. Hostels are much cheaper with prices averaging at about 15EUR per night per person.
For getting around in Barcelona, public transport - trams, metro, trains and buses - is reasonably priced at approximately 3EUR for a single ticket, or 12EUR for a 10 journey ticket. You can purchase the Barcelona Card which is valid on all public transport and includes reduced admission for some attractions and museums. The price depends on the duration of your stay.