Barcelona Travel Guide
Barcelona is singularly Spain’s most Euro-centric city, and a premier gateway to Europe – right up there with London, Paris and Rome. It's a chic, trendy, vibrant city, where commerce, culture, education, media, entertainment and fashion happily mix. It's a city, too, of art and architecture, where Antoni Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia and other whimsical creations loom large, together with Joan Miró's public murals and sculpture and Jean Nouvel's in-your-face Torre Agbar. It's a city of galleries, museums, theaters, libraries and public parks, with an eclectic collection of restaurants, rock-till-you-drop discos and nightclubs, world-class shopping, atmospheric neighborhoods and urban beaches. It is mostly a modern city, but with deep Catalan roots and more than 2,000 years of history. Indeed, as Catalan writer Eduardo Mendoza once put it, Barcelona is "a city that is constantly reinventing itself." And it doesn't hurt that Barcelona is also one of Europe's most affluent cities, with a GDP of more than €177 billion – that's €35,975 per capita.
Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, and is located on the Mediterranean coast in the northeastern corner of Spain.
Barcelona can be reached directly by air from most major cities in Europe as well as around the world. It also has high-speed rail links with Madrid and all the major cities of Spain, as well as with Paris, France. Bus routes, too, feed into Barcelona from other cities in Spain and neighboring France, while ferries ply between Barcelona and Rome, Italy.
For visitors to Barcelona, priorities are Gaudi's architectural flourishes, principally his masterpieces Sagrada Familia and Parc Güell; the multi-pinnacled Cathedral of Santa Eulàlia and a series of other impressive Gothic churches; Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter), one of the city's most colorful and atmospheric old neighborhoods; and the city's centerpiece, La Rambla, a 1.2-kilometer pedestrian mall that draws residents and visitors alike, with sidewalk cafés spilling onto the mall, and where you can even see a couple of Miró's public art mosaics. Also, taking in a championship soccer match at Barcelona's 100,000-seat Camp Nou, the largest stadium in Europe, is something to write home about.
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