Travel in Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona is the capital and largest city of Catalonia and Spain's second largest city, with a population of over one and half million people (over five million in the whole province).

This city, located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history, having been under Roman, then Frank law before declaring its independence.This city, located directly on the northeastern Mediterranean coast of Spain, has a rich history, having been under Roman, then Frank law before declaring its independence.

In 1992, Barcelona gained international recognition by hosting the Olympic games which brought a massive upturn in its tourism industry. This had the effect of changing the city in ways that are still felt today with neighbourhoods renovated (and in some cases leveled) and the intense focus of modern design permeating all aspects of life in Barcelona from public buildings to something as simple as a park bench or an event poster.

For visitors, this has translated into the very modern, yet incredibly old city you see now in the 21st century, where the new elements work to both preserve and celebrate the ancient. This beautiful city is full of what European cities are known for (outdoor markets, restaurants, shops, museums and churches) and is fantastic for walking with an extensive and reliable Metro system for more far-flung destinations.

The core centre of town, focused around the Ciutat Vella ("Old City") provides days of enjoyment for those looking to experience the life of Barcelona while the beaches the city was built upon provide sun and relaxation during the long periods of agreeably warm weather.

August is probably the busiest time in Barcelona; at the same time about 10% of shops and restaurants can be found closed from mid-August to early September, when the owners go on vacations. In the centre of Barcelona you will find most shops and restaurants open. However there will still be plenty of tourists. Barcelona has decent enough beaches but the locals will really appreciate it if visitors do not consider it a beach resort and don't wear beachwear when visiting churches, restaurants, etc.

Barcelona is great off-season and is a lovely city even in winter months of January and February as long as the possibility of rain is low. During these months the city is not too cold averaging between 9-10°C with sunny and blue skies. Given the high humidity, 19-23°C is considered comfortable weather, which is normally the temperature between April and June and between late September to November. This is the best time to visit the city. Anything warmer than this can feel too hot.

Easter week, as well as Christmas to New Year's Eve are very busy times. If you'd rather avoid the crowds, don't come during those dates. Also, avoid visiting during the Mobile World Congress or the Formule 1 racing, unless you are ready to pay extremely expensive hotel rates.