Barcelona offers everything that's great about Spain, but with the Catalonian and French influences nearby, Barcelona is sophisticated, eclectic, and a very open minded place that attracts artists and creative people of all kinds. This is reflected in a city full of wonderful, eccentric buildings, including the famous architecture by Gaudi. Barcelona is also the capital city of Catalonia, so the official languages are Spanish and Catalan.
A part Mediterranean, part southern European climate ensures that Barcelona is great all year round, but coincide with one of these events and you will have an even better time: 6th January: ""Dia de los Reyes"" (Three Wise Men), which is the most important day of Christmas festivities in Spain. In February there's the Carnival. In August, in the ""Gràcia"" district, there's a massive street party, the ""Fiesta major de Gràcia"", and on 11th September: ""La Diada de Catalunya"" is Catalonia's independence day.
Barelona is safe and friendly. Food wise try, "" Pan Tomaca con Jamón Serrano"" (bread and ham) and ""Crema Catalana"" (Catalan style crème brûlée).
The cost of living in Barcelona is mostly lower than London. A beer costs 4 or 5 euros, eating out is often much cheaper. Clocks in Barcelona are an hour ahead.
Transport to the centre: El Prat Airport is 12 km from the city centre. Aerobus A1 and A2 operate a regular service to Plaça de Catalunya for about 6 EUR. There is also an overground train to the city. Taxis cost around 20 EUR. Metro, trams, buses, overground trains are all good. Single tickets are about 3 EUR and a 10 journey ticket costs about 12 EUR. The Barcelona Card is valid on all public transport and allows reduced admission to some museums and attractions (the price depends on the duration of your stay)."