Barcelona is the second-largest city in Spain and a popular attraction for tourists from around the world. It's the fourth most economically powerful city in the European Union and is Europe's most rapidly improving city, with new businesses and industries flourishing in the local economy.
The city has a rich history dating back to Roman times, and its cultural heritage makes it an important site for people interested in European history and architecture, from Roman ruins and Gothic cathedrals to the masterful buildings of Antoni Gaudí. The natural landscape offers stunning sights as well, with the nearby beaches perfect for soaking up the sun during a lazy holiday.
Well-known for hosting the Summer Olympics in 1992, Barcelona continues to be a popular destination for competitive sports. People with an interest in arts and crafts can also enjoy a variety of trade exhibitions and artisan markets in addition to museums exhibiting classical artwork. The city also boasts a vibrant night life, with a variety of clubs, theatres and music venues to enjoy.
There is one major airport in Barcelona, the Barcelona-El Prat Airport. This is located just 17 km from the city centre and is the largest airport on the Mediterranean coast. The airport is a primary hub for Dublin-based Ryannair as well as Air Europa, Iberia and Vueling Airlines. Flights entering Barcelona depart from London, Dublin and Edinburgh.
From the airport, travelers can reach the city centre by highway, city bus or commuter train. The Barcelona Airport railway station connects new arrivals to other important sights in the city, making it an easy way to begin exploring Barcelona.
Travelers from other European Union countries can enter Barcelona freely with an EU passport or national identity document. Tourists from the United Kingdom can visit the country with an active passport. All other visitors must have a passport, and a tourist visa may be required for some visitors. If in doubt, check with the local consulate or look online to see what travel restrictions are in place.
Basic Barcelona Laws
Before traveling to Barcelona, a tourist should take care to remember these laws:
-- No drinking on the street or public property
-- Alcohol cannot be purchased after 10 P.M.
-- Smoking is prohibited in public places, including parks, restaurants and train stations
-- Traffic drives on the right side of the roads and highways
-- Legal drinking age in Spain is 18
Other laws in Barcelona are similar to those throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. There are no real curfew or dress laws to follow, and the general atmosphere is quite progressive. Specific laws can be found online or at the consulate office if there are any questions or concerns.
There are several transportation options for visitors, including trains, buses and an extensive highway system. The public transportation system is very thorough and includes a bus network, a metro, several tram networks and aerial cable cars. The metro consists of 11 lines and will take visitors nearly anywhere in the city.
Visitors who prefer to drive will find that Barcelona is well-connected with neighbouring areas. Three international routes cut through the city, and an extensive network of highways and smaller roads help to connect major sights within the city.
Best Time to Visit Barcelona
With its Mediterranean climate, Barcelona is mild all year-round. The summers are hot and dry, reaching daytime temperatures of around 28 C in August. Winters are cooler, but rarely drop below freezing; the average daytime temperature of a Barcelona winter is 14 C and nighttime temperatures around 8 C.
It tends to be quite humid in Barcelona, with the rainiest months beginning in the fall and lasting through the winter. Summer is the most common holiday season, with the largest number of visitors arriving between May and October; a winter holiday will be less crowded, but the weather will not be as well-suited to outdoor activities.