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Barcelona - Out and About
The north-eastern Spanish city of Barcelona, is the capital city of the autonomous region of Catalonia. The city, the second largest in Spain with its 1,454,695 inhabitants. is the principal commercial, financial and editorial centre of the country. The city is not only a university seat but also a lively cultural centre, which houses museums of great interest including the prestigious Picasso museum, the Museum of Catalonian Art and the Mirò Foundation.
The Gothic Barrio is the medieval heart of the city and site of the Santa Eulalia Gothic Cathedral and the beautiful Santa Maria del Mar Gothic. It is also the location of the Picasso Museum, which houses works relating to the entire of the artists activities.The city is divided to the south-west by the Rambla. This famous street is bustling with flower sellers, mime artists, and newspaper stands open 24 hours a day. The street leads from the promenade at the water's edge to the Placa de Catalunya, the 18th century part of the city and site of the elegant Passeig de Garcia with two magnificent buildings by Antoni Gaudi: the multicoloured Casa Battlò and the splendid Mila house, better known as 'La Pedrera' . The north-western part of the city is the site of the unfinished Sagrada Familia. The Eixample is the area that developed after the destruction of the city walls and became the true centre of the city. The area is home to modern monuments including the Quadrati d'Or, the Passeig de Sant Joan, the Avingude Diagonal and the Ronda de Sant Pere. The Edificis Trade is the city's largest retail area and includes numerous elegant shops.
Other interesting areas include the Palau Reial de Pedralbes and the Monestir de Pedralbes, built in the 14th century and which today houses part of the Thyssen-bornemisza collection. A fine view of the city can be had from the summit of Tibidabo (532 metres).
Barceloneta is the seaside district of the city and the meeting point for the city residents and the sea. It is here that the finest beaches and bathing areas are to be found. The metropolitan has four lines and operates from Monday to Friday from 5am to 11pm, Sunday and holidays from 6am to 1am. Buses run from 6.30am to 10pm and the most convenient ticket is a travel card. The Montjuic rack railway, departs from Number 1 metropolitan station and runs to Avinguda de Miramar, from here it is possible to take a cable-car ride up to the Montjuic Castle.
Barcelona - Not to be missed
Take the Gaudì artistic and architectural trail, which leads through the city. It starts with the unusual street lamps with which the young Gaudì, who, at the time, was a student of architecture, won the urban design competition and subsequently became responsible for designing the Placa Reial, a Neoclassical square with palms and porticoes. The route continues, taking in his first house ( Casa Bellsguard) and leads the visitor to the spectacular Casa Battlo and the Casa Mila 'Pedrera'. The ' Pedrera' has a undulating smooth surface of pale stone, with a Art nouveau railing in wrought iron, which tempt the observer to gaze from the ground skywards a metaphor for the passage from the earth to the heavens. This passage culminates in a splendid terrace, comprising medieval knights carved from warm red stone, steep brick staircases and bottle-green and white mosaics. Both Casa Battlo and Casa Mila look out over the elegant Passeig de Gracia.
The Sagrada Familia, located in the north-east of the city, was the final work of the Catalan artist . This audacious building, a mix of architectural styles, Neo-Gothic, Cubist and Art Nouveaui, was started in 1883 and today still remains unfinished, following the express wishes of the artist. The incomplete building is intended to signify the tortuous and unfinished path of the individual in his search for God and spirituality.
Barcelona - Walks and tours
An unforgettable trip is that which starts from the Passeig de Gracia and heads north-east for several kilometres leading to the Guell Park, planned and in part built by Antoni Gaudì. The park was originally intended to be a garden city at the gateway to Barcelona. The entrance to the park evokes the fairytale world of Hansel and Gretel, laid out as a maze, combining natural and artistic forms with mosaics, tiles and wrought iron as the raw materials. The buildings are purposely built with a pronounced lean to them, giving the visitor the impression that they are about to collapse or melt.
The Montjuic Hill, is situated on the other side of the city near the sea. The summit is easily reached by bus or by cable-car. This is the site of both the 17th century castle and the Joan Mirò Foundation, which houses works from the great Catalan artist. The surrounding park is the site of the Sant Jordi Olympic Stadium, built for the Olympic Games in 1992, an event which established Barcelona as an internationally important city. Barceloneta ( small Barcelona) is the old working class district of the city. At one time inhabited by fisherman and sailors, this zone is now the favourite seaside and bathing area for the residents of Barcelona.
Barcelona - The traveller's notebook
Currency : euro
Electric supply: 220 Volts but in some places it is still 125 Volts or 110 volts. Round two pin plugs are used.
Climate : mild climate with limited rainfall
Language : Catalan, Spanish
Opening hours : banks are open Monday to Friday from 8:30am to 2pm. Saturday from 8:30am to 2pm.
Barcelona - A pocket guide
Barcelona organizes some of the most important festivals in Europe, including the Grec, Barcelona Summer Festival, a festival of antique music, the Festival Jazz and the Festival of Contemporary Music. A complete guide of what's on is published weekly in the Guia del Ocio or other publications including the Revista Municipal, Barcelona e Vivire Barcelona. Important shopping areas in Barcelona include Diagonale and the zone between Piazza Catalunya and Portaferris.Les Encants in the Plaza de la Glories is an open-air market selling all manner of things.
Barcelona is one of the richest European cities for night-life and entertainment. The city's bars and clubs are crowded with young people. Numerous discos and clubs can be found in Diagonale, Aribau and Muntaner. Poble Esapanyol, on the mountain of Montjuic, houses one of the most glittering and entertaining clubs , both for its size and for its structure. Port Vell is a new zone of Barcelona, dedicated to entertainment. A wide range of Catalan dishes are on offer in the restaurants in the sea-front zone of Sea Palace.
Disclaimer: the above information is provided 'as is' and Hostelsclub accepts no responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from this information.