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Barcelona - SpainBarcelona On Spain's north eastern coast 160 kilometers from the French border is Barcelona between the rivers Llobregat and Besòs. With its more than 1.6 million inhabitants, Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain after Madrid and is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe. Together with the surrounding urbanizations the population is approximately 3 million. Both Catalan and Spanish are official languages.
Barcelona. Foto: Wikipedia
Climate in BarcelonaBarcelona is known for its pleasant climate. Winters in Barcelona are mild and the average daytime temperatures is between 5-15 ° C but the temperatures can drop to around 0°C during the nights and in a few cases it can snow on the nearby mountains. Already in March you can feel the spring curling up and in April the temperature rises to 20°C. The summer usually begins in late May with a steady heat and temperatures of about 24-35°C until the beginning of October.
Beaches in BarcelonaA 15 minutes walk from the center is the nearest beach, Barceloneta, which is the most popular part of the 4.2 km long beach promenade. If you want to be in a less crowded place away from street vendors you should try Icaria and Bogatell. Beyond Bogatell you will also find Mar Bella which is also a nude beach.
Along the whole beach there are also a number of "chiringuitos" which is the name for the bars and restaurants located on the beach. Beach volley-ball areas are set up at several places along the beach, likewise you will also find climbing frames, exercising areas and boules courts all over the place. If you want to try surfing, kite surfing or SUP (stand-up paddle), you may find it at the Barceloneta towards the Hotel W (La Vela) where you will find organizers of various water sports. It is common to see people biking, skateboarding and various activities on and around the beach promenade.
If you are going to the beach via the metro, you may take the L4 yellow line towards La Pau and get off at either the Barceloneta, Ciutadella / Vila Olympica or Poble Nou. All metro stops are about a 10-20 minute walk from the beach. Alternatively, you can also travel with bus lines: 14, 16, 17, 39, 40, 45, 51, 57, 59, 64 and 157. Unlike the metro most of the buses stop right next to the beach.
Restaurants and Food in BarcelonaBarcelona is full of great restaurants and bars, but as a tourist it can be hard to find the best restaurants.
For the connoisseur who likes personal service by knowledgeable waiters, a warm welcome and, of course, heavenly good food and wines, PLA is recommended, a small, intimate and cozy restaurant that is secluded on a small street in the Gotico (Ciutat Vella). PLA blends Spanish cuisine with other influences of the Mediterranean and every dish is made with much love.
If you want to try the city's' best assortment of spanish and Catalan food, then Cerveceria Catalana is an exquisite place where basically everything on the menu is recommended! The restaurant is popular with tourists as well as among the local population. You should go there for lunch or in the afternoon when it always gets very busy in the evenings and unfortunately they don't have table reservations.
Ugarit serves outstanding Syrian food that never makes anyone disappointed. The restaurant has been in Barcelona for 17 years, and serves wonderful exotic food with a "homemade" feel in their 7 different restaurants around town. We highly recommend the combined plate "Arayes Queso" and "mousaka" with rice. The restaurant has a modest style and nice waiters, that often offer something extra for your tea or coffee. The restaurants located in Gracia, Sants and Vila Olympica.
Bars, fast food & Kafés in BarcelonaAt La Sureña you'll find the cheapest foods and drinks in Barcelona. They serve basic tapas dishes at budget-friendly prices. This bar always has special offers, for example, get a small and hot double sandwich (Sureñito) and a beer for € 1 on mondays. As one might can imagine it is rather popular with students and families. La Sureña also has a nice outdoor seating.
Price range: 5-10 €
Address: Carrer dels Tallers 70 & Ronda de Sant Pau 79
Metro: Purple L2 / Red L1 Universitat and Purple L2 Sant Antoni
If you want to combine football and a wide range of beers in the typical Irish spirit then Michael Collins Bar next to the Sagrada Familia is the perfect choice. The atmosphere is energetic, likeable and welcoming. Not many tourists find their way here, however, the nationalities are mixed and most visitors stay around the neighborhood. In addition to good beer they also served typical bar food which is as tasty as it is caloric.
If you lean more towards the alternative way, La Tinta Roja in Poble Sec gives a feeling of time traveling with its mysterious and creative decor and ambiance. Intimate performances of music and theater is held every week. Here you can also learn to dance the tango and watch exhibitions by local artists. See website for more info and details.
Cosmo is a trendy café combined with art gallery near the university in the center. Here, the honest pastries, good food and tasty coffee.
SandwiChez is a quiet and fresh coffee shop and the ideal place to study or have a meeting at which there is plenty of seating and quite ok WiFi. They have good fresh juices on the menu.
Hotels in BarcelonaPark Hotel is located opposite the train station Franca in the trendy area of El Born and offers elegant rooms with free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV and the front desk is 24 hours a day. The rooms are soundproofed, equipped with air conditioning and satellite TV. They are modernly decorated in warm chocolate tones that provide a relaxing feeling. Daily buffet breakfast is served in the bright dining room at the hotel. There are many tapas bars and international restaurants within 10 minute walk. 200 meters away from the hotel is the Ciutadella park and Barcelona zoo. The nearest metro station is Barceloneta, which is also located a few hundred meters away from the beach. Nightlife, restaurants and shopping are also near the hotel.
Price from 120 € / night on www.booking.com
Near the University of Barcelona and Placa Catalunya is Casa Kessler Boutique Hostel which is tastefully decorated in contemporary design, including original Barcelona-typically mosaic floors. The rooms offer air conditioning and free WiFi. The hostel has a terrace to relax on and a kitchen for guests. The hostel consist of dorms with shared bathrooms and private rooms with private bathrooms. Close to Passeig de Gràcia which includes Gaudi's Casa Batllo and La Pedrera stands, and also it is close to shopping and restaurants.
Attractions and activities in BarcelonaThe city's architecture undeniably marks its innovation and originality that adorn a large part of the center but also in parks and other areas of the city. One of the greatest inspirers, Antoni Gaudí, who in the early 1900s left its mark with his special style that emphasizes modernism in a romantic, thoughtful and spiritual way.
The clearest example is the Sagrada Familia, on which construction began in 1882, and the symbolism of life and evolution is a constant ongoing project that no one knows if or when will be completed. In order to avoid the crowd and queues it is advisable to go there as early as possible on a weekday and purchase the ticket in advance online, from 15 €. A trip up in one of the two towers is recommended from where you get a panoramic view of the mighty city. Do not forget to visit the Museum in the lower part of the church. Expect to spend 2-3 hours on the visit. Tickets and more info: www.sagradafamilia.cat
Next to the popular area of El Born in the city center is the Ciutadella park where you can take a boat trip on the pond or perhaps have a picnic on the lawn under a tree and enjoy the sun. Maybe listen to guitar playing and singing as it is common for people to bring their instruments. Sometimes one sees groups who are practicing yoga, meditation and other activities and usually it's just to join, but it is a good idea to ask the leader first. Adjacent to the park is also the city zoo.
Another park that is also worth a visit is the Park Güell, designed by Antoni Gaudí with the assistant Josep Maria Jujol in the years 1900-1914. In 1984, the park was designated a World Heritage Site by Unesco. The park has different forms and is decorated with mosaic, spirals and offers an imaginative character.
If you go up the forest path behind the park you will get to El Calvario (The Three Crosses) from where you get a spectacular view over the city.Entrance fee of € 7, can be purchased online at: www.parkguell.cat
You can get most easily there with the metro green line L3 and get off at Lesseps and from here walk up the hill about 10-15 minutes. Several streets lead up, however, it may be good to know that Passatge Sant Josep la Muntanya has escalators that stretches almost all the way up to the main entrance.
Montjuïc (Jewish mountain) is situated at the harbor and rises 173 meters above sea level and is Barcelona's largest contiguous park area and definitely worth spending a sunny day on. Apart from the park there is also an old defense castle from the Middle Ages which during the summer is being used as an outdoor cinema salamontjuic.org. There is also an antique amphitheater (el Grec), Olympic venues, the National Museum MNAC www.museunacional.cat, fountain show with music guia.barcelona.cat and much more. The mountain also has two cable cars - one that goes in front of the Miramar hotel and down to Barceloneta, and another line that goes across the mountain with a stop next to the medieval castle and the Olympic Stadium.
Transportation in BarcelonaTo get into the city center from Barcelona El Prat Airport you can take the bus number 46 that goes to Placa Espanya (terminus) in about 40-45 minutes, or you can also take the blue Aerobus for € 5.90 one way that takes you through the center and up to Placa Catalunya in about 20-30 minutes. www.aerobusbcn.com. There are also trains going to Sants train station and the town center, but only from the terminal 2.
The city has a well-planned and well-functioning infrastructure and communications. You can combine bus, rail trolley, metro, train (Ferrocarril) and mountain train (funicular) with the same card. If you are here on holiday for a few days it is recommended to buy the T-10 card with 10 trips for about 9 €. It can be purchased most easily on the metro station in one of the machines that take both cash and cards. A single ticket costs 2 €. If you are staying in Barcelona for a longer period it is recommended that you purchase 50/30 card that gives you 50 trips in 30 days or if you travel a lot the T- MES - monthly pass with unlimited rides for 30 days may be a good idea. www.tmb.cat.
The red bikes, Bicing www.bicing.cat, which you surely will not miss, are for city residents. To apply for a card, you need your NIE number (identification number for foreign citizens). The card costs about 47 € and lasts for a year. You get to ride a bike for 30 minutes and can then put the bike back on any available rack.
If you are here for a short time, you can also rent a bike www.bikerentalbarcelona.com at good prices which is a good option as there are many bike paths and the city is all over bicycle friendly. Likewise, it is popular to get around by scooter, skateboard, long boarding, inline skating and more. Taxis are considerably cheaper than in UK, the starting fee is around € 2.10 and varies between 1.03 € -1.40 / km depending on the time and day of the week. www.transportebcn.es
Car hire in BarcelonaThere are countless car hire companies, such as Avis, Hertz, Oasis, Goldcar and Cicar, to name a few. Many car hire companies have offices at the airport and are well available in the major tourist resorts and cities. The easiest way to hire a car in Barcelona is through the web site rentalcars.com where you will find rental cars to the best price. The advantage with rentalcars.com is that they compare prices from several car rental companies at the same time, so you can choose the one that suits your wallet. Their website is www.rentalcars.com
Festivals and Holidays in Barcelona1 January - New Year's Day
January 5 - Cabalgata - Which means that the kings are on the road riding to visit Jesus Christ, and it is symbolically celebrated with a large parade through the town. During the night all Barcelona's home are visited and gifts are left to children that they can open early in the morning the day after, and 6 January is called El día de Reyes (The Kings' day).
March / April - Good Friday
24 June is Sant Joan and summer celebrated with a big party and traditionally burn to the bonfire in honor of the sun and life. In Barcelona, takes the major part of the celebrations all along the beach and fireworks begins postponed n is darkness approaching.
15 August - Assumption of Mary
Between July and October, there are Festival ain various residential areas every week and always with free admission. The most popular festival is held in Villa de Gracia with their dazzling colors, music and dance welcoming several hundred thousand of visitors annually. In 2015 the festival will be held between August 15. to 21.Picture: Festival in Villa de Gracia www.graciacityhostel.com
October 12 - Columbus Day - Spains national holiday. November 1 - All Saints Day December 6th - Constitution day December 8th - The Immaculate Conception December 25th - Christmas Day December 26th - Boxing Day
Entertainment and events in BarcelonaThe most spectacular concerts and performances can be found all year round on Sala Apolo. Every Monday there is "Nasty Mondays" for the younger souls, Europe's largest Rock'n'Roll party with mixed genres like rock, pop, indie, garage and electro rock. The partying reaches its peak during the summer.
Price entry: varies 10-30 € depending on the event, usually includes 1 drink
Address: Nou de la Rambla 107
Metro: Purple L2 / L3 Green, Paral-lel
Info and schedule: www.sala-apolo.com
On Montjuïc there is a small village encircled by a wall called Poble Espanyol where various events are being held throughout the year and you can also come here for a picnic or take a walk during the day. On summer evenings, the outdoor nightclub 'La Terrazza' in the village a popular place for the dance goers who like electronic music.
Throughout the summer between June and September you will find the festival feeling every Sunday at Piknic Electronik which is just what it sounds like - picnic and electronic music. You can buy food and drink here or bring your own (alcohol may not be brought, sold on site). The day begins with family activities, barbeque and picnic and ending with really good move on the dance floor for the younger crowd with various well-known DJs and artists. Although this event is held in the Montjuïc near the medieval defense castle. The easiest way to get up the mountain by train, funicular, which you take away from the metro stop Paral-lel.
Shopping in Barcelona
Shopping malls in BarcelonaIf you like the big brands there are plenty of shopping malls and shopping areas, such as wise Maremagnum following the Columbus statue and placed on a large dock in Barcelona harbor. The mall is open every day of the year, unlike other shopping centers, and has shops such as Zara, Mango, Natura, Desigual, Kaotiko and many more. Read more at: es.club-onlyou.com/Maremagnum Similar shops can be found around Plac a Catalunya at Port al d'Angel, Carrer Porta Ferrissa and lower Passeig de Gracia. Further up the street you will find luxury shops with brands like Michael Kors and Luis Vuitton. If you are looking for alternative designers and shops in a quieter and more personal environment, then the residential area of Villa de Gracia is the place to go.
Markets in BarcelonaMercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria, also called simply La Boqueria, the most popular market hall in Barcelona with its main entrance on La Rambla near the opera house and the metro station Liceu. Here you can find a great variety of basically every kind of food, such as fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, chocolate, nuts, bread and even prepared meals. The best prices will be found in the rear parts of the market hall. Open Monday to Saturday 8:00 to 20:30.
Similar halls is the Mercat de Sant Antoni and Mercat de Santa Caterina also located centrally on the edge of the one side of the Ciutat Vella (old city center). At the Mercat de Sant Antoni you can also find clothing, home furnishings and assorted gadgets. Santa Caterina offers more food stalls with the finished dishes large and small.
History of BarcelonaThe Industrial Revolution in Barcelona began in the early 1800s with its first cotton mills and quickly became Spain's industrial center. The country's first steam-powered weaving mill was opened in Barcelona in 1833 and fifteen years later Spain's first railway was built between Barcelona and Mataró. Ciutat Vella (The Old City) was long surrounded by a wall but more and more factories were opened inside the city walls and meant rapid overpopulation, which in turn led to it being torn down and a new large residential neighborhood, L'Eixample (The Enlargement) was built up and streched all the way to the nearby villages which today make up Barcelona. Today many of the factories are defunct, but many of the old chimneys have been preserved and can still often see in the middle of the quarter's courtyards.
Barcelona was the headquarters for the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War 1936-1939, which ended with victory for the Nationalists and the dictator Francisco Franco took power over the kingdom. www.donquijote.org/culture/spain/history/the-spanish-civil-war. After Franco's death in 1975 the monarchy was reinstated, and shortly later Catalonia became an autonomous region, and in 1977 Barcelona was appointed to Catalonia's capital. www.barcelona-guide.se/historia_barcelona.php. Still, politics is a sensitive topic for many Catalans, when independence from the rest of Spain is something the majority of residents want to reinstate. To inform yourself well about their history is beneficial especially if initiating political discussions about their independence. Despite patriotism, the general mentality in Barcelona is open and welcomes you to a transformational journey, whether you are an immigrant, ex-pat or visitor. It is a chaotic city while providing a peaceful sense of freedom thanks to the climate, culture and friendliness.
Living in BarcelonaMany people choose to move to Barcelona because of the good economy the tourism industry provides. There is a good mix of people from both South- and Central America, Europe, and North Africa, the Sahara, India, Korea and Russia.
Spanish classes in BarcelonaWhether you want to learn Spanish from scratch or you want to improve your Spanish skills, Barcelona is a superb choice. The advantage of attending a Spanish class in Barcelona is that you can practice your Spanish skills everywhere. On basicspanishclasses.com you can find Spanish courses in Barcelona and many other cities in Spain.
Basilica de la Mercedes
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