Barcelona information

Introduction to the Province of Barcelona
The province of Barcelona in the north east corner of Spain is part of Catalonia. It is of course dominated by its capital city of the same name, which has long been a popular destination for holidaymakers and weekenders. Aside from the city itself, the province offers a wide variety of other towns, natural parks with varying landscapes and beautiful beaches to be enjoyed. Outside of the city you will hear the official language of Catalan widely spoken.

Barcelona City
The cosmopolitan city of Barcelona is a thriving, prosperous and progressive place to visit. There is so much to see and do here – outstanding architecture, superb museums and a wonderful street life. Barcelona is surprisingly easy to navigate on foot and there is an efficient metro system to save your feet.

Must-sees and do’s for the visitor to Barcelona include: strolling up and down the Ramblas, the heart of the city’s life and littered with bars, cafes, restaurants, shops and stalls and street entertainers; venture off the Ramblas into the Gothic quarter (Barrio Gotic) or Chinatown; visit the huge covered food market of La Boqueria, halfway up the Ramblas; stop off at the huge Placa de Catalunya at the top of the Ramblas to admire the fountains and rest your feet awhile; at the bottom end of the Ramblas spend some time at the harbour, dominated by a statue of Columbus; visit Barcelona’s cathedral, La Seu in the Barrio Gotic; take the dramatic cable car from the harbour up to Montjuic where you will find a number of fantastic museums as well as Barcelona’s Olympic Village; marvel at the Baroque cascade fountains in the Parc de la Ciutadella; admire the fantastic architecture of the Sagrada Familia and Gaudi’s other city masterpiece, Parc Guell. For football fanatics, a visit to Barcelona wouldn’t be complete without a tour of Camp Nou, the stadium of FC Barcelona. Phew!

A great way to see Barcelona and to pack as much in as possible is to take one of the many open-top bus tours that are on offer and which allow you to hop on and off at the city’s landmark sites.

Barcelona has an incredible nightlife and selection of bars and restaurants to choose from. For something out of the ordinary visit Bar Marsella on San Pau in the Barrio Rival, allegedly a haunt of Picasso and Ernest Hemingway, and experience the potent house speciality, absinthe. See below for more on the gastronomy of Barcelona.

Around Barcelona City and Beyond
Away from the city of Barcelona itself, the province offers still more to see and do.

The former fishing village of Sitges, on the Costa Daurada coast south of Barcelona city is now better known as the foremost gay holiday destination in Spain and has an outrageous Carnaval in February/March. Even if you’re straight, Sitges should be experienced for just one night. Another fine sandy beach is to be found at Castelldelfels, between Barcelona and Sitges.

40km directly inland from Barcelona city lies the magical mountain and monastery of Montserrat, one of Spain’s most spectacular sights. It is approached via a thrilling cable car ride from Montserrat Aeri train station. Take a picnic to enjoy on the mountainside around the monastery. Many newly married couples come to Montserrat Monastery to be blessed.

In the north of the province, in the Catalan Pyrenees, is the handsomely sited town of Vic with its interesting museum, the Museu Episcopal, which houses an important collection of Romanesque art that will delight even non art-lovers.

Barcelona is not without its natural parks. Montseny National Park, about 100km north of Barcelona, has a beautiful forested landscape and is home to wild boar. The Cadi-Moixero Natural Park, bordering Andorra, is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with alpine scenery and diverse flora and fauna.

The Gastronomy of Barcelona
The gastronomy of Barcelona is rich and diverse, even experimental at times. It is typically Catalan in nature.

Suquet de Peix is a delicious soupy seafood stew, sometimes served as a starter, as is the dish of Escalivada, the Catalan version of ratatouille, made with smoky roasted vegetables. Main courses may include Arros a la Casola, a very popular soupy paella, Mar i Muntanya, the Catalan take on Surf and Turf, made with chicken and prawns and Butifarra con Mongetes which is Catalan sausage with white beans.

Typical desserts of Barcelona are Postre del Musico, made with pine kernels and raisins and often served with a glass of sweet Moscatel wine and of course Crema Catalana, a custard dessert, similar to crème brulee.

There are many fine wines from the Barcelona area, notably the white Penedes wines and of course Cava from Sant Sadurni d’Anoia.


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