"Barcelona" Barcelona by dlandt
Barcelona Travel Guide: 9,487 reviews and 21,661 photos
Barcelona is one of the larger cities in Europe, and the second city of Spain. Furthermore, it is the capital city of a unique and hidden nation called Catalonia. It is a center of art, tourism, recreation, and has a fine and unique local cuisine.
When I went to Barcelona, I expected it to be very touristy, but didn't find that to be the case. It could be that by timing my visit in March, I avoided a lot of the hokiest stuff, though in my 20 minutes on las Ramblas I managed to see people wearing sombreros!
Barcelona reminded me a lot of more northern European cities. My understanding is that Barcelona is economically the most prosperous city in Spain and that may have tsomething to do with it. My readings in Spanish History have also led me to conclude that Barceloona and Valencia also form the industrial backbone of modern Spain and have for some time.
Barcelona struck me as a leading city of Europe, and if you are visiting from a Western country, you won't find a lot in the way of cultural barriers or hurdles to make. The ones you do encounter should be minor, so you should relax.
Relax... and have a glass of wine.
Barcelona is part of a region called Catalonia, which itself is part of a string of regions with distinct cultural identities that stretch from Galicia to, really Savoy. In this photo you can see the Catalan flag flying, but you might also see it flying across the border in France, and also in Andorra. Catalan is not a dialect of Spanish, it is a language unto its own.
Although geographically close to the Basque region, Catalonia does not have a violent national movement of its own. That is not to say that Catalonians aren't proud to be Catalan, but they seem to have hit on a more workable combination with Spain proper.
In my opinion, what makes Catalonia very different from the rest of Spain, is that there is no Moorish tradition. Catalonia, along with the other northern regions, managed to escape prolonged Arab rule, unlike the rest of Spain. I wouldn't want to elaborate too much not having visited other Spanish cities, but Barcelona, Figueres, Urguell.. these cities and towns all have a very typical European feel to them that I understand comes in a slightly different flavor in the rest of Spain.
At some point, I look forward to visiting the restof Spain to really see if this holds true. If you're a Spaniard or Catalan reading this, I would like to hear your opinions as well. I've heard it said that Catalonia considers itself the southernmost point of Northern Europe.
Numerous day trips are available from Barcelona. I highly recommend seeing the Salvador Dali Museum, but your options will be endless. My wife and I did a small road trip that took us to Montserrat, Andorra, Villefranche de Conflents, Perpignan, Figueres, and Girona all within three days. While we explored none of them in great detail, we had a great time taking just a little from each plate.
As always, I liked the flavors of Barcelona. From the tapas bars to the churros stands, to the wine and beer, I found the local food to be excellent, almost as good as Italian.
I loved the seafood, the paella, the pulpo and wine, even the beer is surprisingly good for a Med country. Estrella Damm didn't seem the slightest bit gassy or sweet.
- Pros:A lot to to see and do and eat and drink
- Cons:Lacks some (not all) of the Mediterranean feel
- In a nutshell:You can't go wrong with Barcelona
The Salvador Dali Museum in Figueres is really spectacular. With 21 rooms of his work, including some which are very... more travel advice
I've got (or will have shortly) most of the information and pictures of this fabulous museum of art in my Figueres... more travel advice
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