About Barcelona

The sophisticated and stylish city of Barcelona is one of the most popular cities in Spain. Barcelona has something to suit everyone and although this city is very large, it is surprisingly easy to find your way around.

Barcelona has increased in popularity since the early 1990s, when preparations for the 1992 Olympic Games relaunched the city. New impressive buildings and landmarks were created, particularly around Montjuďc, the hub of the Olympic Games and an entirely new harbour. The World Trade Fairs of 1888 and 1929 also had a strong influence on the city and resulted in much of the beautiful architecture in Barcelona, such as the Arc de Triomf and the spectacular Barcelona Magic Fountain (Font Mŕgica), with colour light shining through the water.

Barcelona has an enormous number of sites and tourist attractions worth visiting. Top tourist attractions include the Parc Güell - which features some wonderful tile work by Antoni Gaudi, Las Ramblas - Spain's most famous street, lined with trees and used by both tourist and locals, the Parc de la Ciutadella, La Sagrada Familia - Gaudi's towering church which has become a symbol of Barcelona, the Casa Mila - an unusual building created by Gaudi, and The Eixample - a 19th-century expansion of majestic avenues and mansions. There are also many important museums and art galleries in Barcelona and the most popular is Barcelona's Picasso Museum, which features a large collection of paintings and ceramics.

Shopping in Barcelona is excellent. With everything from top designer outlets to traditional family speciality stores, there are also large shopping arcades and department stores. The markets in Barcelona are equally impressive and the food markets in particular draw large crowds of both tourists and locals. Boqueria Market is an exciting food market that is situated in a cavernous iron and glass structure. Street-café life in Barcelona is rich and in the evenings, many people sit outside in the squares and watch the world go by.

Few cities can present such a colourful and electrifying nightlife as Barcelona. Choose from Bedouin chic restaurants, bubbling champagne bars, Gothic style wineries, bustling tapas cafés and seriously sleek nightclubs. Down at the harbour there is a variety of bars and seafood restaurants with views over the sea.

Nearby excursions include Montserrat - a town close to Barcelona with many interesting features, Tarragona - with some splendid Roman remains, such as a wellpreserved amphitheatre, Sitges - a popular seaside part of Barcelona which is frequented by many families, and Barceloneta - a busy fishing area which retains its village charm and has some of the best seafood restaurants in town.

FAST FACTS AND ORIENTATION
    • Status: capital city of Catalonia, Spain
    • Population: 1.5 million in the central city, 4,5 million in the city area, 41 million in Spain
    • Language: Castilian Spanish
    • Religion: mainly Roman Catholic
    • Time zone: 2 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) at the time of the Congress
    • Country dialling code: +34






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