University of Barcelona

About Barcelona, Guide and Top Tourist Attractions
(Barcelona, Spain)

Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, a province in northeastern Spain. It is the second largest city in Spain, next to Madrid, with a land area a little over 100 km / 62 miles. It faces the Mediterranean Sea and is bordered by two rivers - the River Besos in the north and the River Llobregat on the south. This adds up to 4.5 km / 3 miles of beaches, and with the Collserolla mountain range forming a magnificent backdrop, Barcelona offers an auspicious mix of natural wonders that make it one of Spain's most popular tourist destinations.

Barcelona is probably best known worldwide as the host of the 1992 Summer Olympics, which boosted tourism in Spain for the next few years. When they won the bid to host the event, Barcelona underwent a massive overhaul, transforming from a mediocre coastal city to a first-rate metropolis.

But the city has maintained much of its cultural heritage and the charm of its 2,000-year history. Barcelona is home to nine UNESCO World Heritage sites, four of which were added to the list only last year. It also has a great number of museums showcasing culture in all areas and periods.

What to do in Barcelona

First-time visitors to Barcelona will find that the city is very accommodating to tourists. Tourist information offices abound in the city centre, and city tours are open most of the year. In fact, many native Barcelonans make a living out of showing visitors around. Guided tours are a great way to get to know the city, and there are several agencies willing to accommodate groups of any size. You can choose to tour the city on a bicycle or a native car, or even on a boat along the Mediterranean.

Barcelona is often called the best place to shop in Spain. It has everything from top European designer stores to large family arcades, as well as excellent food markets offering Mediterranean food and spices. The Boqueria Market draws large crowds regularly, and the fishing village of Barceloneta is worth visiting for its small village charm and superb seafood restaurants.

Tourist Attractions

Easily the top tourist attractions in Barcelona are the beaches, with the stunning modern architecture coming in a close second. The Nova Icaria beach, situated near the Olympic arena, is known for its rich golden sands and excellent restaurants and bars.
For those seeking a quiet, secluded place, the Caldes d'Estrach is a great choice. Among the more private beaches in the area, it is the easiest to access from the Barcelona city centre and offers a wealth of sand, trees, and beautiful scenery.

Many of the most striking buildings in Barcelona were built by the late Antoni Gaudi, an acclaimed Spanish architect. The unfinished La Sagrada Familia cathedral is not to be missed - a hauntingly beautiful church with long, hollow spires and a mass of equally intriguing sculptures adorning the interior. Other structures worth seeing are the Barri Gothic, a dark cluster of medieval buildings, and La Pedrera, another Gaudi masterpiece housing a museum dedicated to the architect's work.

Barcelona University

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