The Olympic Games in 1992 provided a huge boost to Barcelona as improvements were made to the city’s infrastructure and brand new sporting venues were constructed which all helped the boost the tourist industry which continues to thrive today. Another benefit is that the roads are all clearly sign posted and it is relatively easy to get around, although like every other major European city, it is advisable to have a clear idea of where you are going before you set off to stay away from the unavoidable congestion that big cities can all suffer from.
Barcelona is the second largest city in all of Spain and with one visit, it is easy to see why it is an amazing city to spend a weekend in as the energy and buzz in the city is contagious with literally hundreds of places of historical and cultural interest to visit. The Sagrada Familia temple is a massive Roman Catholic temple based in the centre of Barcelona and was originally designed by Gaudi. The temple is a massive attraction for the city, not least because it has been under construction since 1882!
Within the Gothic Quarter of the city you will find Barcelona Cathedral, constructed between the 13th and 15th centuries and is also known as the Cathedral of Saint Eulalia, one of the patron saints of the city and entombed in the crypt of the cathedral.
Las Ramblas is also another famous attraction and hugely popular place to visit and is a wide open tree lined avenue with a large pedestrian area stretching down the middle of the road. Within this section you will see market stalls, street entertainers, flower stalls, little kiosks and generally, lots and lots of people. It is known as a meeting place where you can watch the world go by from one of the many roadside cafes and is definitely a memorable place to visit.
Barcelona is also well known as a busy shipping port and is actually one of Europe’s main shipping ports so for a good meal out, you can also go to one of the many fish restaurants that can be found there for the fresh catch of the day.
Even though it is located in the north-east of Spain, Barcelona still enjoys hot temperatures in the summer and very pleasant weather most of the year so do remember to pack your sun creams and essential avene products before you go.
Barcelona is a very international Spanish city and attracts tourists in their thousands who come from all over the globe through Barcelona Airport. English is widely spoken as are various regional variations of the Spanish language. The traditional Spanish Castillian is widely spoken, as is Catalan, a Spanish-French mix that is spoken in the area. The international feel means that you shouldn't have any issues in communication if you are just passing through but if you are considering a more long term option, the services of a local exchange programme or a translation agency, or agencia de traducción as they are known in Spanish.
Being such a big city, Barcelona is teeming with fantastic shopping opportunities and ample chance to spend your euros. As you would expect with any other major European city and tourist destination, no matter whether you are looking for quirky stores selling souvenirs, tailors for your new office suits, boutiques selling costume jewellery, hairdressers, beauty salons or health shops, you will find anything and everything in the city centre.