Barcelona is, if you consider the entire metropolitan area, Europe’s sixth biggest city and one of Europe’s truly great cities as well. It has been a draw for artists and the home of many including Salovador Dali, Antoni Gaudi and Pablo Piacasso: all of whom have work that can be viewed in the city; Picasso and Dali each have a dedicated museum.
A living working city Barcelona has a great culture for food, art, dance and partying and the locals like their motor sport as well: with passions divided between Formula One and Moto GP.
Locals and Culture:
The locals are welcoming and proud of their city and of Catalonia itself and its now autonomous status; Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia and feels very much like a capital city. There are always things happening in the city with plenty of cultural events. If you are coming for the Formula One you will be too late for the Flamenco Carnival from January to March but you may be able to catch the Sound Festival in May; The Sound Festival is a great Rock and Indie music festival.
See and Do:
Barcelona is known as a fashion centre that rivals Milan and is a great place to shop; lots of international Fashion Labels have stores in Barcelona but local independent stores are more interesting and original. The Spanish have a great many national dances with Flamenco one of the most attractive and spectacular of them, head to a Flamenco club to either watch the dancing or have a go yourselves.
Gaudi is Barcelona’s most famous son and his work the Sagrada Familla Cathedral is the best known of them and a must see, even if it is still to be completed. Parc Guell is completed though and despite its modern appearance dates from 1914 when it was completed: designed by Gaudi it is a fantastic wonderland though the views from this point across the city are almost as spectacular.
There are plenty of other parks and Gardens though that are worth visiting and also don’t forget to take a look at the much older Gothic Cathedral of St Eulalia from the 14th Century. Head along the boardwalk by the beach in the evening for plenty of bars including great cocktail bars and tapas bars and a generally electric atmosphere.
Drinks & Food
Barcelona being by the coast means there is plenty odf seafood to try but also other traditional dishes like Omelettes and Serrano Hams, even Paella doesn’t have to include seafood. The local wine is also superb, Spain does great Tempranillo and Rjojas as well. In the summer though you may prefer to drink the Rose wines which the locals drink large quantities of or Sangria of course.