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Barcelona

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Holidays in Barcelona

Barcelona is one of the most visited European cities, offering an impressive cultural and artistic offer. Special relevancy they have the architectural jewels of the Sagrada Familia or el Parque Park Güell, of the prestigious Antonio Gaudí. Also his tourist offer stands out, with sunny beaches, besides an interesting gastronomic offer.

Sagrada Familia
The Expiatory Church of the Sagrada Familia is an immense Catholic basilica and architectural masterpiece designed by Antoni Gaudí. Visited by over 4 million people each year, it is Spain's most visited monument and has been named one of the 12 Treasures of Spain. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tibidabo
At 512 metres, Tibidabo is the highest point in the Collserola Hills.  It is renowned for its spectacular views of the city and green areas, which are used for recreational activities. The Tibidabo Amusement Park is the oldest amusement park in Spain and the second oldest in Europe. A number of buildings can be found atop Tibidabo, including the Expiatory Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Florida Hotel, whose white façade is visible from almost anywhere in Barcelona, was inspired in American architecture from the 1920s. 

The Fabra Observatory is a centre for astronomic and meteorological research.

Liceu Opera House
The Liceu is the oldest and most prestigious theatre in Barcelona. It is regarded as one of the world's most important opera houses.
Located on Barcelona's La Rambla, it has welcomed the most prestigious works and the world's most acclaimed vocalists to its stage for the past 150 years. The Opera House has been a symbol as Barcelona's cultural and artistic centre and a meeting point for the Catalan aristocracy and bourgeoisie.
Its most emblematic areas are the auditorium, with a seating capacity of almost 3,000 spectators, the Liceu's "Mirrors Hall", the audience's lounge area, and the Liceu Foyer, the lounge area for intermissions. 

Plaça de Catalunya
The nerve centre of Barcelona and Spain's third largest square, Plaça de Catalunya is the nexus between the city's historic centre and the Eixample area. It feeds into some of the city's main streets, including La Rambla, Passeig de Gràcia, Rambla de Catalunya and Portal de l'Àngel, the city's main shopping street and a former gate in the perimeter wall.
The square's central area hosts concerts and events, which include temporary exhibitions and the Catalan Book Week. It boasts sculptures by major artists, including The Goddess by Josep Clarà and The Shepherd by Pablo Gargallo, as well as the monument to Francesc Macià by Josep Maria Subirachs. 

Plaça Sant Jaume
Plaça Sant Jaume is one of the city's most emblematic and historic squares and a regular stop on the sightseeing circuit. It is home to the Palau de la Generalitat (the city's finest example of Renaissance architecture) and Barcelona City Hall.  

Plaça Espanya
Spain's second largest square, Plaça Espanya is the point where several of Barcelona's main roads intersect, including Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Avinguda del Paral.lel, Avinguda Maria Cristina and Carrer de Tarragona. Significant buildings include the Expo Centre, MNAC (National Art Museum of Catalonia), the Arenas Shopping Centre and the Venetian Towers, built for the 1929 World's Fair. 

Barcelona Zoo
The Zoo has been located in the Parc de la Ciutadella for over 100 years. Its zoological collection contains over 7,000 animals and 400 different species.  It was famous, up until 2003, for being the only zoo with an albino gorilla, named Snowflake.

Barcelona Aquarium
Its facilities include 35 tanks, more than 11,000 fish and 450 different marine species. Visitors can view 3 different tanks: Mediterranean, Tropical and the Oceanarium, which give refuge to marine species from distinct communities. The Oceanarium is an 80-metre glass tunnel around which sharks, skates, moray eels and giltheads swim.

Parc Güell
Parc Güell is a public park and home to gardens and architectural gems. Located in hills around Barcelona, Antoni Gaudí played a significant role in its design. This nerve centre of Barcelona hosts numerous shows and public events and is one of the city's main sightseeing attractions.

Parc Güell was named a Scheduled Historic/Artistic Monument in 1969, and, in 1984, the UNESCO included it as part of the World Heritage Site "Works of Antoni Gaudí".

Agbar Tower
Agbar Tower is the city's third tallest building and looms over Plaça de les Glories.

The skyscraper is 144 metres tall and has 38 floors, 4 of which are located beneath the ground and hold almost ten thousand parking spots, making the tower a preferred office location.

Shaped like an oval cylinder, it is made up of 2 cylinders, a 45cm thick glass cylinder on the outside and an internal, concrete cylinder. The tower's lighting system is among its most impressive features, as the entire structure lights up at night, displaying shapes in up to 16 million different colours. 

The tower has become, in a matter of few years, an icon for Catalonia and hosts the New Year's Eve celebrations.

Barceloneta Beach
The Barceloneta Beach is the city's oldest and most famous beach. With a length of over 1 km, it is also one of the longest. Remodelled for the 1992 Olympic Games, it is the favourite among foreign visitors and provides recreation equipment such as areas for beach volleyball, beach paddle and games areas. It also has a nudist area.

Nova Icària Beach
Over 400 metres long, it is the most frequented beach north of Port Olímpic and, alongside Barceloneta, attracts the highest proportion of tourists. 
It is one of the city's quietest beaches and highly recommended for families with children.

Mar Bella Beach
Five hundred metres long and 42 metres wide, this beach is normally quite busy.  It is one of the city's 2 nude beaches.

Nova Mar Bella Beach
Nova Mar Bella is the city of Barcelona's most distant semi-urban beach. Five hundred metres long and 45 metres wide, it also has a seafront promenade.
This beach comes well equipped with all basic services. It is a quiet beach frequented by a fairly young crowd.

Sant Sebastià Beach
Over 1,100 metres long and 38 metres wide, Sant Sebastià is one of Barcelona's largest and busiest beaches. It is the preferred beach for Barcelona locals, most notably senior citizens, and often frequented by foreign sightseers. 

Bogatell Beach
Six hundred metres long and 35 metres wide, Bogatell is not as crowded as the other Port Olímpic beaches. Its promenade stretches down to Sant Sebastià and the Barceloneta neighbourhood. The average age of its occupants is slightly higher than the neighbouring Nova Icaria Beach or Mar Bella.

Llevant Beach
Barcelona's newest beach, Llevant is located in front of Diagonal Mar's futuristic buildings. And close to Nova Mar Bella Beach. Three hundred and eighty metres long, this beach is recommended for people looking for a sparse crowd. Situated on the Poblenou neighbourhood shoreline, it is the beach furthest from the city centre and spills over into the Maresme area.

Barcelona Picasso Museum
Located in Barcelona's Carrer de Montcada street, it has been declared a Museum of National Interest by the Government of Catalonia. Its permanent collection houses over 3,500 pieces from Pablo Picasso's youth, including paintings, engravings, lithographs and illustrations by the painter from Malaga.
The museum occupies 5 large Catalan Gothic-style town houses:  Palau Aguilar, Palau Baró de Castellet, Palau Meca, Casa Mauri and Palau Finestres.

Joan Miró Foundation
Up on Montjuic, this museum exhibits over 10,000 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, tapestries, drawings and sketches, and was Barcelona's first contemporary art museum.
Its permanent exhibit is distributed among nine distinct areas of art and features works relating to painting, sculpture, pottery and tapestry.

Barcelona Wax Museum
The museum is a Neoclassic Renaissance town house built in 1867 and located in an alleyway off the Rambla de Santa Mònica.  
Its collection of over 200 wax figures is distributed among a number of rooms. The Recital Hall, Glass Patio, Gothic Room and Vault deserve special mention. The latter is particularly interesting, as it belonged to the bank that formerly occupied the building before becoming a museum.

National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)
The National Art Museum of Catalonia is among Barcelona's most visited museums, as its Romanesque art collection is considered the world's most complete.  The display includes a series of mural paintings not found anywhere else in the world, along with wood carvings, metal works, enamelled pieces and stone sculptures. Visitors can also admire the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection, as well as several works by Pablo Picasso.

Contemporary Art Museum of Barcelona (MACBA)
Located in the El Raval neighbourhood and a stone's throw from the Barcelona Contemporary Culture Centre (CCCB), it has been declared a Museum of National Interest by the Government of Catalonia.
Its exhibits feature over 5,000 contemporary works from the latter half of the 20th century until today.

Antoni Tàpies Museum
This museum was founded in 1984 by artist Antoni Tàpies, the Spanish avant-garde's most prominent artist, to increase knowledge on modern and contemporary art.  His work is held in

National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC)
This museum offers a glimpse at almost one thousand years of art, from the 10th to the 20th centuries, from Romanesque Art to Modernism and avant-garde sculpture. It contains a group of Romanesque mural paintings that are unique to their genre. The collection features major artists, including Velázquez, Zurbarán, El Greco, Picasso, Dalí, Gaudí and Casas, among others.

La Barceloneta
This fishing neighbourhood is located in the Port Vell district and is delimited by the harbour, the Born neighbourhood, Port Olímpic and the França train station. The Barceloneta beach, Barcelona's most famous and most visited, is a popular tourist stop. Its clean waters have earned it the Blue Flag distinction, and it also offers a full range of services.

La Barceloneta's streets are narrow and lined with old buildings, bars and restaurants, many of which still have their original, almost 200 year old decoration. The neighbourhood's restaurants are the best place in the city for excellent fresh fish. Its famous tapas restaurants and bars also deserve special mention.

Port Olímpic
This marina is located between the Barceloneta and Nova Icaria beaches in the Sant Martí district. It is great for taking a nice stroll, with restaurants, terraces, hotels, offices and shopping centres.

Revamped for the 1992 Olympic Games, it is among Barcelona's most modern neighbourhoods. The twin Mapfre towers are the area's most emblematic buildings and stand out from the rest.

The Port Olímpic area is home to the Villa Olímpica, the place to go in the marina for entertainment and large enough to accommodate 15,000 athletes. 

The Barcelona Aquarium is a must visit and one of Europe's best aquariums. 

Montjuic
Montjuic is a small mountain and popular tourist draw that provides spectacular views of the sea and Barcelona. Lined with walking paths and green areas, visitors may enter the installations from the '92 Olympic Games, including spectacular sports complexes like the Olympic Stadium, Palau Sant Jordi and Olympic Diving Pool.  

Another superb site is the Palau Nacional in Plaça Espanya, which houses the museum with the world's largest collection of Catalan art.

Poble Espanyol has some fantastic examples of Spanish architecture and displays the different styles used in the distinct autonomous regions in Spain.

Another highly esteemed location is the Magic Fountain, a spectacular display in which the fountain lights up in thousands of colours to the sound of classical music. The Montjuic funicular and cable car, which runs between the castle and lookout point, are very popular means of transport. 

La Rambla
The most emblematic street in Barcelona, and among the city's most beautiful, it begins in Plaça de Catalunya and runs 2 km to the former port.  Considered the city's most famous location, it is a must see for anyone who comes to the city, where you will encounter emblematic buildings like Plaça Reial, flower stands, boulevards, coffee shops, restaurants, businesses and newsstands.

It is divided into five stretches: Rambla de Canaletes, Rambla dels Estudis, Rambla de Sant Josep, Rambla dels Caputxins, Rambla de Santa Mònica.

Points of interest include the Miró mosaic, the Liceu (Opera House), the Boqueria Market and exhibition halls which include the Palau de la Virreina and Centre d'Art Santa Mònica.

Gothic Quarter
The Gothic Quarter is the heart of ancient Barcelona and its historic centre. Situated between the city's famous Ramblas and Via Laietana, it is one of four neighbourhoods that make up Barcelona's Ciutat Vella district.

Considered the city's medieval stronghold, with narrow, winding streets, this area contains the remnants of the Roman city of Barcino, as well as many of Barcelona's foremost medieval buildings, from the Barcelona Cathedral and Pi Church to the seat of royal power in the buildings surrounding the Plaça del Rei, true testament to the city's ancient history.

Portal de l'Àngel is a modern pedestrian shopping street that begins in Plaça de Catalunya and runs down to a pedestrian square that looks onto the Barcelona Cathedral and the Roman walls that once flanked the city.  The Roman ruins underneath the City History Museum are a popular tourist destination.

Plaça Reial, located to the south of the neighbourhood, is a square lined with palm trees, a stone's throw from La Rambla.

Other superb locations include Plaça de Sant Jaume, the Frederic Marés Museum and Plaça del Pi (home to the Santa Maria del Pi Church).

Stews
Escudella i carn d'olla: A traditional stew containing a large meatball made from ground beef and spices, chickpeas, potatoes, cabbage and meat.
Cocido con judias blancas: white bean stew with botifarra sausage, beef, egg, spices and bread.
Fabes a la catalana: Broad beans cooked with cold meats.
Samfaina: Sautéed courgette, onion, tomato and garlic.
Zarzuela: a fish dish containing grouper, monkfish, king prawns or shrimp, squid and mussels.
Fricandó: Veal cooked with onion, tomato, prunes and pine nuts.
Calçots: Char-grilled onions dipped in romesco sauce.
Coca de recapte: Oven baked dough, peppers and aubergine with herring, tuna, botifarra sausage, tomatoes, onion and olives.

Cold meats
Botifarra: Raw pork sausage.
Fuet: Ground meat sausage with pepper and garlic.

Salads
Escalivada: Oven roasted onion, aubergine, pepper and tomato.
Xató: Escarole, cod and romesco sauce.
Empedrat: Tomato, cod and beans. 

Sauces
Alioli: Thickened olive oil and garlic.
Romesco: Tomatoes, peppers, almonds, hazelnuts, bread, rosemary, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, salt and pepper. 

Wines
Red: Priorat, Peralada, Alella, Tarragona.
Whites: Penedès. 
Cava:  Penedès and Peralada.

Desserts
Panellet: A sweet dough made from sugar, egg and almonds.
Crema catalana: Pastry cream topped with caramelised sugar.
Neulas: Tube-like wafers.