Barcelona is in the autonomous community of Catalonia, the community capital and is Spain’s second largest city. It is situated on the Mediterranean coast in the northeast of Spain. It is 120 kilometres south of the Pyrenees mountains and the border of France.
The city began as a Roman city and has a rich cultural heritage. Today Barcelona is a major tourist destination and is renowned for holding world class conferences, expositions and international sports tournaments.
Barcelona is particularly famous for the architectural works of Gaudi including the Sagrada Familia and many others which have now been designated World Heritage Sites. The Gothic Quarter of Barcelona is situated on the centre of the old town and is where much of Gaudi’s work can be seen.
The area has a Mediterranean climate with average annual temperatures of 20 °C (68 °F), see more details on “Weather in Barcelona”.
Barcelona has many wonderful sights including parks, including the very famous Park Guell, museums, churches and beaches so there is always something to see and do in this beautiful city for locals and tourists alike. See more on “Reasons for living in Barcelona”.
Barcelona beach has been listed as number one in the top ten city beaches by National Geographic and Discovery Channel. There are 7 beaches in total , stretching along 4.5 kilometres of coastline, including Sant Sebastià, Barceloneta and Somorrostro beaches which are the largest and most frequently populated in Barcelona.
The population of Barcelona is approximately 1.6 million which includes 23% of people from the rest of Spain and 14% from other countries so it is an extremely international city. The majority come from Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Pakistan and China. The city also has the largest Jewish community in Spain, with an estimated 3,500 Jews living in the city. Barcelona is one of the most densely populated cities in Europe with approximately 16,000 inhabitants per square kilometre of the city.
While Spanish is usually spoken and understood in Barcelona the native language here is Catalan and classes in schools are taught in Catalan and Spanish in varying degrees. See more about “Schools in Barcelona”.
Barcelona is the 16th-most-visited city in the world and the fourth most visited in Europe after Paris, London, and Rome, with several million tourists every year. Barcelona is ranked the most popular city to visit in Spain.
The city is divided into 10 districts and each district has its own administrative council lead by a city councillor. These districts are based on historic divisions.
Transport links to Barcelona are many and the city is served by Barcelona-El-Prat airport which is 17kilometres from the centre of the city and is the second largest airport in Spain. Other transport includes and seaport, railway, buses and excellent road links. See more about this on “Transport options in Barcelona”.
Outside of the city of Barcelona there much more to be seen, the Autonomous Community of Catalonia also includes the provinces of Girona, Lleida and Tarragona. Catalonia is on the Mediterranean coast and includes the Costa Brava and the Costa Dorada which attract many thousands of tourists each year. The Pyrenees mountains to the north include the inactive volcanos of Garrotxa.
Girona city is a beautiful historic city with the Old Jewish Quarter amongst one of its many attractions. Tarragona was an important city of the Roman empire and you can still visit the aqueduct and ampitheatre there today. Lleida is inland of the coast in a mountainous area and amongst its attractions is the cathedral “Seo” which is said the be built between the 12th and 15th century.