Barcelona (map) is Spain’s second largest city, and the capital of Catalonia. The many faces of Barcelona include the medieval Old Town (map), and the unique street grid resulting from 19th-century urban planning.
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The city has long sandy beaches and green parks on the hills, pretty much side-by-side. It is also famous for a number of prominent buildings, of which the most-known are by the architect Antoni Gaudí, including his Sagrada Família (map), which became Barcelona’s symbol to many.
Barcelona as internationally renowned a tourist destination, with numerous recreational areas, one of the best beaches in the world, mild and warm climate, historical monuments, including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
August is probably the busiest time for tourists in Barcelona. However, many shops and restaurants are closed from early-August to early September. During this time, you will find the most expensive hotel rates.
Ciutat Vella (Catalan for Old city, map) is, as its name suggests, the oldest part of Barcelona. Centred along the Las Ramblas boulevard, including the medieval Barri Gòtic, Raval, and El Born (also known as La Ribera). Ciutat Vella is where the nightlife, as well as the tourist traffic in Barcelona is centred.
The Barri Gòtic (Catalan for “Gothic Quarter”, map) is the centre of the old city of Barcelona. Many of the buildings date from medieval times, some from as far back as the Roman settlement of Barcelona.
Barcelona’s main annual festival around 24 September, encompassing many events such as human towers (castellers), free live music events on the streets, firework displays, and processions of wooden giants. It is a holiday and the city offers a lot of activities to have fun. Enjoy a fountains and fireworks show at the base of the Montjuïc hill.
Barcelona beach was listed as number one in a list of the top ten city beaches in the world according to National Geographic and Discovery Channel. Sant Sebastià (map), Barceloneta (map) and Somorrostro (map) beaches, both 1,100 m (3,610 ft) in length, are the largest, oldest and the most-frequented beaches in Barcelona.
La Boqueria (Mercat Sant Josep, map) Large public market with a diverse range of goods and produce. Enjoy freshly squeezed organic fruit juices for €1.5 per cup. If you go near closing time (20:00) sellers will make you a special price (2 or 3 for €2). Closed Sundays.