The city of Barcelona is the second largest city in Spain, and the capital of Catalonia, with a population of 1,7 million inhabitants and 3 million in the metropolitan area. Its cultural richness, vibrant life, and splendid location has made it one of the most visited cities in the world, with over 4 million visitors per year.
Over two thousands years old, there is not just one Barcelona, but several. The old city (Ciutat Vella) offers the visitor a wide range of routes to follow and reconstruct the history of Barcelona by starting at the Roman walls, moving to the medieval streets of the Gothic Quarter and going to the popular promenade know as La Rambla. Barcelona is best known for its architectural treasures, featuring many unique buildings from the "Modernist" period (late 19th-early 20th centuries), seven of which have declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO. Furthermore, in the last two decades, Barcelona has been an experimentation ground for the most innovative architectural concepts.
Barcelona is also famous for its cultural tradition. The city has over twenty museums, covering all aspects of art and culture. The best known are the National Museum of Art of Catalonia with one of the major collections of Romanesque and Gothic art, the Museum of Historic Art, the Picasso Museum, the Miró Foundation and the Tàpies Foundation. The Science Museum presents a wideranging display of scientific and technological advances. The Fòrum de les Cultures recently buit is another cultural target.
Besides some major art show rooms, most musical events take place in three large venues: the Palau de la Música Catalana, a real modernist gem, the Auditorium, and the Gran Teatre del Liceu, which is a leading opera house, reconstructed after its burning in 1994. Many stage troupes and actors in Barcelona are the best in Spain, and achieve international acclaim. A glance at the programme of cultural and entertainment events published in the Barcelona daily newspapers is the best way of finding out of what going on in the city.
Getting to Barcelona
There are several airports in Catalonia. Some low-cost airlines fly to Girona airport or Reus airport. Usually you get to Barcelona by coach (Reus-Barcelona and Girona-Barcelona). The main airport is Barcelona’s airport, El Prat. It is located about 13 km south of the city. It has two terminals: Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. There are several modes of transportation from the airport to the city:
Taxis. The minimum fare from the airport is 20€ but the typical fare to get to Barcelona’s center is 30 to 35€. Only few taxis allow payment by credit card.
Commuter train line R2 nord. The station is close to Terminal 2. There is a bus that connects Terminal 1 with the train station. Trains run every 30 minutes from 5:42am to 11:38pm. It takes about 20 minutes to get to Barcelona Sants station, which has correspondence with metro lines L3 and L5; and 26 minutes to Passeig de Gràcia station, which has correspondence with metro lines L2, L3 and L4. The fare is 3.00€, although you can use the 10 rides ticket "T-10 1 zona" (see below).
Direct bus to Barcelona’s center: Line A1 from Terminal 1 and line A2 from Terminal 2. Buses run every 5 to 10 minutes from 6:00am to 1:00am. The buses stop at Plaça Espanya (correspondence with metro lines L1, L3 and L8), Gran Via - Comte Urgell (correspondence with metro line L1), Plaça Universitat (correspondence with metro lines L1 and L2) and Plaça Catalunya (correspondence with metro lines L1, L3, L6 and L7). Fare is 5€ (payment by cash or by VISA credit card).
Night Bus line N17 (stop at Terminal 1 and 2). Buses run every 20 minutes from 21:50pm to 04:50am. This line has many stops between the airport and Plaça Catalunya.
Bus Line L77: This bus line has some stops very close to the venue, Citilab. Just pay attention at the stops in Av. Can Corts. More information here (in spanish, but there is a map so it is easy to understand).
Other bus lines: 45, 109, etc. These are metropolitan lines and, except for line 45, they do not go through Barcelona’s center.
Getting to Barcelona by train is pretty easy, since your train will stop at Sants station, the main train station in barcelona. From there you can go wherever you like, by metro, bus, coach, etc.
Driving inside Barcelona is not particularly recommended, especially in downtown. The public transportation system consists of metro and buses, plus a few internal train lines and a couple of tram lines. It is safe and fairly reliable.
Metro: The metro system is probably easiest to use and will take you to most places of interest. Barcelona has 5 lines (L1 to L5, color-coded). The last metro is at 2am on Fridays and Saturdays and at 12pm. If you plan to take more than 5 trips, we recomment you to buy a T-10 card (10 trips, 7,85 eur).
Bus: You pay on board. You can use the T-10 card, but not buy one on board. You can use the same ticket (or T-10 trip) for a combined metro+bus journey. Most bus lines stop around 11pm; there are few night bus lines, all of which pass by Plaza Catalunya.
Taxis: All taxis in Barcelona are black with a yellow strip, and free when the green light on top is on. There is a taxi stop in Plaza Catalunya next to Las Ramblas. Note that drivers may complain if you want to pay with a 50eur bill or larger; ask first.
Tourist bus: If you have only 1 or 2 free days in Barcelona, the Bus Turistic is a reasonable option to see the main attractions. There are three routes (North, South, and Forum) and a ticket lets you get on and off the bus as many times as you want in a day.
Tourist information: There is a Tourist Information Office in the basement of Plaza Catalunya. Check also the links below.
Violent crime is really rare in Barcelona. However, the huge number of tourists does attract pick-pockets, especially in downtown. So exercise more than the usual caution when walking in touristic areas or sitting at a terrace or restaurant, especially if you carry your laptop, cameras, etc. In the most crowded places, it is strongly advised to carry your backpack in your hand or on your chest. Be aware of people trying to distract your attention.
Barcelona is pretty warm in September. Temperature: Average high 25.5 C (78 F), daily mean 21.1 C (70 F), average low 16.7 C (62 F). However, it is the second wettest month of the year (October is the first one): Precipitation 85mm, average precipitation days 5.
General and touristic information:
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