Barcelona, Spain Travel - Guides
Spain has it all - something for everyone. Whether it's exploring historical sites or learning how to cook like the locals, it promises to be an unforgettable experience. Choose to cruise along the coasts, stopping to sample the local cuisine and wines. Or, why not tour the magnificent historic sights in Seville, Granda, Barcelona, and more?
Go ahead, intrigue yourself...the world awaits you.
Barcelona Guide - for valuable details on the area, what to do, attractions, restaurants, shopping, walking tours, suggested itineraries and events.
Not since the 14th century, when the Catalan capital was the most powerful city in the Mediterranean, has Barcelona's future looked so promising. The catalysts for change have been many. The first -- political -- was in 1975, when General Francisco Franco, who had systematically and often brutally tried to eradicate the treasured Catalan language and culture, died. The city in turn started to live and breathe again independently. Today Barcelona is a proud, bilingual metropolis with street signs, newspapers, and television programs in both Catalan and Spanish. In 2006, a progressive statute granted an even greater degree of self-rule to the whole region.
The second -- more cosmetic -- catalyst came just before the 1992 Olympic Games, when feverish renovation work changed the city's image from that of a drab, gray burg to a new gleaming metropolis. The Barri G˛tic, many of whose central medieval buildings had for countless decades been coated with grime, could at last be seen in all its pristine glory, with newly sandblasted facades quietly glowing in the light of the quarter's atmospheric narrow alleys. The waterfront, once lined with large oily containers and sad-looking palm trees, was transformed into an open, sunlit area of promenades, marinas, and modern restaurants stretching several kilometers from beachside Barceloneta via the Vila OlÝmpica and the 2004 Forum site to Sant AdriÓ de Bes˛s.
Suddenly Barcelona has become the weekender capital of Europe. Visitors jet in on low-cost flights for the fun lifestyle, superb Mediterranean climate, and an unrivalled location that offers easy access to the delectable coves of the Costa Brava, scenic mountain trails of the PyrÚnÚes, historic cities of Gerona and Tarragona, and wealth of Gothic and Romanesque monuments that fill the countryside.
They also come to see Barcelona's many offerings in the world of art, architecture, and haute cuisine: the Picassos, DalÝs, TÓpies, and Mirˇs; the moderniste extravaganzas of GaudÝ and modern eccentricities of Gehry and Nouvel; and Ferran AdriÓ's "New Catalan Cuisine," lauded even by the French and spearheading a culinary revival that's resulted in half a dozen Michelin rated restaurants to date.
Yet for all its outward changes the city remains at heart what it's always been: practical, businesslike, proletarian, nonconformist, rebellious, artistic, and unabashedly hedonistic. It's a heady, complex blend that has survived many a dark time and whose freewheeling Mediterranean spirit is epitomized in the bustling Rambla avenue, which runs all the way down to the port from Plaza Catalu˝a along the source of a former riverbed. All this makes for a spirit as communal and sociable as the city's traditional Sardana dance, in which no one leads and no one follows and everyone moves together in unison.
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