Spain Guide


Barcelona Spain

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, located on the east coast of Spain 170 kilometres south of the French border. Very popular with tourists for package deals, holidays or vacations. The city's name is synonymous with that of Antoni Gaudi whose extraordinarily beautiful fairytale architecture gives the place a special magic unrivalled by any of the great capitals of the world. It's a city of boundless energy an ultra modern yet medieval commercial port which leaves the first time visitor breathless. There's simply nowhere else quite like it!

This is a favourite stopping off point for some of the world's most luxurious cruise liners and it's easy to see why. Gaudi's architectural masterpieces alone are worth traveling the seven seas for. This son of a coppersmith made the city his workspace and transformed it into an open air museum of his unique brand of modernist art.

His Sagrada Familia cathedral is awe inspiring, the elaborate Pedrera must surely be one of the most gorgeous office and apartment blocks on the planet and the Parc Guell, where Gaudi turned his hand to landscaping, is a magical Disney land of giant lizards, snakes, ceramic mosaics and columns of contorted stone. He spent many years planning the building and is still a work in progress with completion expected between 2020 and 2040. Prior to its completion, the La Sagrada Familia still manages to inspire those who visit with its grand manner and through the abilty for spectators to climb up through some of the towers.

Barcelona is equally famed for its best loved street, La Rambla, which ranks as one of the world's greatest pedestrianised boulevards. It's made up of five wide streets, strung together and stretching from Placa Catalunya (the central square) down to the Christopher Columbus monument at the harbour.

This tree lined walkway has been described as an open air theatre in which everyone is an actor. There's no better place on earth to people watch.just make sure one of your fellow "actors" doesn't pinch your wallet while you're soaking up the atmosphere! La Rambla (also known as Les Rambles) is packed with buskers, flower stalls, mime artists and itinerant vendors who'll try to sell you everything from birds and pets to cheap watches.

The Barri Gotic (Gothic Quarter) is the heart of the medieval part of the city which, until the mid 19th century, was encircled by fortified walls. Walk through the honeycomb of narrow streets to the imposing Gothic cathedral which dates back to the 13th century.

Barcelona is a major cultural centre, awash with more than 40 museums, numerous art galleries, theatre, music, dance and opera. The most visited museum is dedicated to one of Spain's most famous sons, Pablo Picasso, who arrived in the city at the age of 13 and was already producing major works within two years.

Whatever your particular passion, you're almost sure to find a museum here to fit the bill there are everything from maritime and archaeology museums to permanent exhibitions charting the history of bullfighting, footwear and even funeral carriages!

The city also boasts Spain's finest zoo, a water and safari park, a mountain top funfair accessed via a spectacular funicular railway and an impressive aquarium.

Barcelona gained a new lease of life with the success of the 1992 Olympic Games which put the city firmly on the map as a major tourist destination. A previously commercial waterfront area, spanning 250 acres, was transformed into the Olympic Village which offers today's less athletic visitors a superb four kilometre stretch of beach and a wealth of watersports.

The city's fountains, which stole the show in the eyes of many during the Olympics, still rate among Barcelona's most memorable sights with their dazzling music and light performances on summer evenings.