CATALONIA’S VIBRANT BARCELONA


Gaudi's Unfinished Church

Gaudi’s Unfinished Church

Located on the Mediterranean coast and Spain’s second largest city after Madrid, Barcelona, with its fabulous weather, beaches, great transport connections, huge choice of hotels and accommodation, restaurants and bars, great shopping, vibrant nightlife, architectural heritage, cultural attractions and much more, is a city that keeps attracting visitors from all over the world.

Famous as the location of the 1992 Summer Olympic Games, which helped revitalise the city, Barcelona has grown as a cruise hub for the Mediterranean and is now the second largest cruise port in the world after Miami.  With its modern cruise terminal and great transport connections linking the city to all parts of the globe, visitor numbers and tourism continue to grow.

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous community within Spain where Catalonia’s own language, Catalan, is spoken as well as Spanish.

Located in the north-eastern Iberian peninsula, covering an area of 32,000 kms with a coastline of 580 kms, the region offers not only beaches and nautical

activities but skiing, hiking and adventure sports in the Catalan Pyrenees.

Catalonian cuisine, using the fine food and wines produced in the region, along with traditional Mediterranean cuisine has made Barcelona famous amongst food lovers.  Catalan red, white, rose, Cava sparkling and dessert wines are a great accompaniment to the region’s meats, sausages, fish and cheeses.

Gothic Quarter

Gothic Quarter

Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate with mild, humid winters and warm, dry summers.  The average annual temperature is 20C during the day and 11C at night.  Perfect to enjoy any of Barcelona’s seven beaches or for strolling around Las Ramblas, a great place for walking both night and day, where you can also visit the many bars, cafes, restaurants, try some tapas and do some shopping.

The city has a rich cultural heritage and is famous for architectural works by Gaudi and Montaner.  The Catalan modernista architecture, a style related to Art Nouveau, developed between 1885 and 1950, left an important legacy in Barcelona, with several of these buildings listed as World Heritage Sites.  The city was also home to Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion, designed in 1929 for the International Exposition.  Although the original building was removed in 1930, a modern re-creation by Spanish architects now stands in Barcelona.

Gaudi’s unfinished church, La Sagrada Familia, under construction since 1882, is perhaps Barcelona’s most famous attraction.

Barcelona Street SceneIn the Barri Gotic, (Catalan for Gothic Quarter), the centre of the old city, many of the buildings date from medieval times, some even from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona.

Some of the 20th Century’s most famous painters lived and worked in Barcelona.  Picasso, Tapies and Miro have museums dedicated to their works.  The second most visited museum in Spain after the Prado, The Dali Museum, is located in Figueres, perfect for a day tour.

Barcelona’s international airport is the largest on the Mediterranean coast and the second largest in Spain.  About 17 km from the centre of town, it handles over 35 million passengers per year.

High speed trains connect Barcelona with Madrid and it’s also a rail hub for trains from other European cities.  The extensive motorway network also provides easy access for visitors.

Australians now have another option when flying to Barcelona, Qatar Airways offers a daily flight from Melbourne via Doha.

Sandra Tiltman   Photos:  John Pond 

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