Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, is a mediterranean and cosmopolitan city interspersed with Roman remains, medieval districts and the most beautiful examples of Modernism and 20th century vanguard. Its history goes all the way back to its Roman origin, which serves as an amazing basis for cultural development and the latest artistic trends.
According to a survey by Barcelona Centre de Disseny to a hundred senior international professionals, Barcelona is the fourth most creative city in the world. It is only surpassed by San Francisco, London and New York.
In recent years, Barcelona has become a place to reckon with, when it comonth to finding trends form around the world. Many design, music, fashion, art and cinema artists find in Barcelona a place to live and find inspiration. Barcelona is a city that breathes art, a consequence of its unquenchable artistic thirst.
Barcelona is in constant movement. Alternative art galleries, urban sports, festivals, fairs and expositions are among the great cultural program the city has to offer, which show the latest trends in urban planning, art, mobility and even food. It is an intercultural, breathing, modern city, and currently one of the main tourist destinations in the world.
Barcelona has breath-taking beaches, state-of-the-art ports and not too far away the Cordillera Litoral (Coastal Mountain Range) and the Catalan Pyrenees.
Recently in the Travellers’ Choice Destinations 2013 Barcelona has been placed fifth in the Top 25 Best World Destinations -it is the only Spanish city on this list-, fourth in the European Top, and first in the ranking of Spain.
Climate and annual temperatures
Barcelona has a Mediterranean climate that is pleasant most of the year, being the best time from May to late July, and September.
In August it is quite hot during the day (easily reaching 34°C/95F). It is advisable at this time of year to avoid long exposure to the sun, wear lightweight and comfortable clothing and seek for constant hydration. From October the temperatures begin to drop, from 21°C/69F to 15°C/59F. And from November the temperatures are cooler, ranging between 12 °C /53F and 8°C/49F, with mild winters with few temperature fluctuations. It rarely snows in Barcelona, although it has done in recent years. The temperature in the city is always a bit higher than in the suburbs and surrounding areas (1-5°C higher).
Valores climatológicos normales. Estación: Barcelona Aeropuerto. Fuente: Agencia Estatal de Meterología
The gastronomy of Catalonia is based on the Mediterranean diet. Catalan cuisine has several typical dishes including fish stews like casseroles or zarzuela, vegetable stews such as escudella, garden products such as calçots, sauces like allioli (in Catalan “all i oli” is translated as “garlic and oil”) or salvitxada, and desserts such as crema catalana, with caramel crisp on top. It is also typical pa amb tomàquet, which is simply tomato slathered on bread (sometimes with garlic, a little dash of oil and spices), widely used in sandwiches and as an accompaniment to embutidos.
Catalonia also boasts a winemaking tradition. Areas like the Penedès, Allela, Priorat or Segre are known for their excellent grape quality, and their wine production tradition. The best known and exported cava is the Penedès cava, with leader enterprises such as Freixenet or Codorniu.
In 2013, the Catalan restaurant El Celler de Can Roca, received the award for Best Restaurant on the Planet by Michelín. The restaurant, leaded by brothers Joan, Jordi and Josep Roca has had three Michelin stars since 2009, and for three consecutive years had succeeded in becoming the second best restaurant in the world.
At Barcelona Airport website you can check how to arrive or depart from the airport by public transport.
The website of the Ajuntament de Barcelona (City Council) gives full details of public and private transport offered by the city to move anywhere you want.
You can also check the website of the public transport network Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona.
Other Useful Info
Photo: view from the hotel Duquesa de Cardona
In Cataluña we use two official languages: Catalan and Spanish.
- Intercat offers Catalan courses at all levels, and distance and different temporality primarily intended for mobility students visiting Catalan universities. The Catalan basic course is free.
- Consortium for Language Standardisation. The Consortium for Language Normalisation
organizes Catalan courses for adults (from 16/18 years) at all levels in most towns in Catalonia. The host language courses are free. As for the other levels courses have discounts for certain groups
- Parla.cat. It is a virtual learning space that makes available all the educational materials to learn Catalan. It is organized into four learning levels: beginner, elementary, intermediate and sufficiency and each level is divided into three courses. If you choose the free mode, you will have free access to materials and you can make a fully autonomous learning. But if you prefer the method with a tutor, who is to pay, you will have the support of a tutor.
The official coin in Spain is EURO (€).
The workday in Barcelona usually starts at 8 or 9 am and ends about 6 or 7 pm, with a break of one or two hours for lunch, around 2 pm. Lunch and dinner time is a little later than in the rest of Europe. The hours of the restaurants is about 13 to 16h to medioday and 20 to 23 for dinner. There is no obligation to tip, but is usually left 5% if the service was satisfactory. Shopping schedules is usually very extensive, from 10am to 2pm and 4:30/5 pm to 8/8:30pm. Big malls open until 1opm and downtown, most shops do not close at midday.
Cost of life
Barcelona has a wide offer in all areas, which allows you to find accommodation, shopping and services available to all budgets. Here are some approximate prices in Barcelona:
· Single ticket public transport: 2,15€
· Coffee: 1-1.50€
· Midday menu: 8-15 €
· Cinema ticket: about 10€
· Snack: 3-4€
· Newspaper: 1.30€ (approx.)
· Cigarettes: 3.50-5.50€ (approx.). In Barcelona, smoking is forbidden in all closed public places and spaces.