Barcelona is one of the busiest ports of the Mediterranean, and the capital of Catalonia (which is a province of Spain). In the areas of culture, trade and sports, Barcelona is on a par with other major European cities. This makes Barcelona and Madrid each others' rivals. One of the things for which Barcelona is world famous are the works of Gaudi.
Barcelona has about 1.5 million inhabitants, which makes it the second largest city in Spain.
Barcelona is located in the north-east of Spain on the Mediterranean. At a distance of about 100 kilometers to the north are the Pyrenees. At a somewhat greater distance is the border with France and Andorra.
Barcelona's economy depends most of all on tourism. Every year, many tourist visit the city. Barcelona has a lot to offer in terms of history, architecture (for example Gaudi), culture, nightlife and gastronomy. In 1992, the Olympic Games were held in Barcelona, which has led to the improvement of many parts of the city. In 2004, Barcelona hosted the Forum de Universal de les Cultures, which was also good for the city's economy. The city's port also contributes a great deal to its economy.
Aeroport del Prat is Barcelona's international airport. It is located 12 kilometers to the south-west of the city, and it processes direct flights from North-America and many cities in Europe. Various low cost carriers, among others Ryanair, use Girona Airport, which is located about 80 kilometers to the north of Barcelona.
The subway is the best way to move around Barcelona. There are 5 lines that will take you "everywhere". Bus tickets are not valid on the subway and vice versa. The cheapest ticket for the bus is the T-2 ticket, which provides ten rides. There is also a cable car and a tram in the city, which nowadays is more of a tourist attraction than a practical mode of transportation.
Traffic and Parking
Barcelona has one-way traffic in many places, which makes driving through the city a rather slow affair. This may not be such a bad thing for visitors to the city. However, it is important to stay alert, because if you miss a turn, it may take a while to return to the same location.
It is fairly difficult to find a place to park in the city center. Do not be tempted to park where you are not allowed to, because that may prove to be a costly mistake. The simplest way is to park at the edge of the city center, and then proceed on foot, or by taxi or public transport.
In Barcelona you need to book your hotel room in advance. For the Olympic Games in 1992, many new hotels were built, but this has hardly improved the situation. It is important to book ahead not only during the peak season, because during off-season there are regularly fairs and exhibitions that cause hotels to fill up quickly, leaving only the worst hotels available.
For more information about Barcelona, we recommend Google, and the following sources: