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Barcelona remains one of the most popular cities in Europe. But it wasn’t always that way. Only after the end of the Franco dictatorship, and with the help of the 1992 Olympics, the spotlight turned back onto the magnificent Catalan capital.
Here you’ll find fantastic architecture, from the thirteenth century Gothic splendour of the Cathedral, to the modernisme of Antoni Gaudí and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. You’ll find the splendid “manzana de discordia”, with some of the finest examples of design by Gaudí, Domènech i Montaner and Josep Puig i Cadafalch, on Passeig de Gràcia. Further up you’ll aslo find “La Pedrera”, also by Gaudí. And don’t forget his Sagrada Familia church, still incomplete after more than a century of construction, and Parc Güell. There are many examples throughout the city.
But Barcelona is also a modern city and some neighbourhoods are unrecognisable from even a decade ago. The people have an independent streak and are fiercely proud of their culture. It is a city that is at its heart Catalan, yet as with all cities of its size, it is cosmopolitan too. Street signs are marked in Catalan, yet many inhabitants have arrived from all over Spain and from the former Spanish Empire.
And it is a city with plenty going on. There is no shortage of places to eat or drink and to suit all budgets. There is street entertainment of all kinds on the Ramblas. And many of the biggest names in music play in one of Barcelona’s live music venues. Then there is the jazz festival, lovers of electronic music flock to Sonar, and Primavera Sound features local and international bands. And lovers of opera can attend performances at the Gran Teatre del Liceu on the Ramblas.
It is often said that Barcelona is a city with its back to the sea. But today the city has embraced the Mediterranean too, with large stretches of beach stretching up from Barceloneta towards the Forum area. Here you can swim and sunbathe, or grab a beer and a bite to eat while people watching or staring out to sea.
Use the interactive map below to find the major sightseeing attractions, transport, where to eat and drink and other entertainment. You can zoom in and if you view it on your smartphone you can use it to navigate around while visiting Barcelona.