- Information on Spain for travel, tourism, and relocating to Spain
Spain Information on Spain Spain region guide The Best of Spain Accommodation and Hotels in Spain Special Features on Spain
Search this site with Google:

Tell a friend icon

Tell a friend
this site

Flag of CataloniaBarcelona

Barcelona is a progressive, industrial, middle-class and European city, while at the same time being traditionalist, popular, typically Mediterranean and having a pleasant climate. This dichotomy between tradition and progress is a characteristic of both the city and it's nearly two million inhabitants.

Barcelona stands on a plain that slopes gently down from the Sierra de Collserola (with it highest mountain, Mount Tibidabo,at 512m) to the sea. The City's civic and political centre is situated in the square known as Plaça de Sant Jaume, where the palaces of the Generalitat and the Town Hall stand. The management of the city is under the control of this latter, all-powerful institution.

The other palace, ie. of the Generalitat, is the seat of the government of the Catalan Autonomous Community. At present, Catalunya has about 6 million inhabitants. It started life as a ´march´ at the time of Charlemagne (9C), when this area came out of its long prehistoric past of Iberian tribes, colonisation by the Phoenicians and Greek, Roman domination, the invasion of the Goths, and finally the Arabs, who were the reason why the Franks decided to set up a border-defence area. As a result, a new country was born on both sides of the eastern sector of the Pyrenees. With the passing of time, and thanks to Barcelona, this country, composed of different counties, became first independent and then, following the union of Catalunya and Aragon, became a kingdom with Barcelona as its capital. Towards the end of the 15C, Catalunya and Aragon joined up with the kingdom of Castile and, at the beginning of the 18C, were absorbed under the Spain of the bourbons, thus losing their independence. It was at this time when Barcelona, thanks to its commercial and manufacturing drive, became the most modern city in the country. Its independent past and modernity were to determine, from that moment onwards, the ambiguous character of this Mediterranean city.

Barcelona contains monuments and remains from all the different stages in its history, and therefore is a very old city with a rich and varied past. All this comes to light in many ways. For example, in its traditionalism. This is expressed in religion - Christian in character but with strong pagan overtones; in society, with very deep-rooted direct relationships, great importance given to the family and with some imaginative and clever individuals; in the economy, with small and efficient companies; in popular festivities that are maintained with both naturalness and fervour; in the Catalan language, which has still been conserved despite constant pressure from the Spanish language; and in the gastronomy, as well as other areas of popular or minority culture. Nevertheless, Barcelona has almost always held its modern image, mainly because it has kept its traditions. This could be seen in the Middle Ages with French-Style feudalism in Catalunya and a very strong feeling of a free city in Barcelona; in the early dedication to commerce and the manufacture of textiles in the 14C; in the industrialisation at the beginning of the 19C; in the great movement dedicated to cultural and political recovery in the latter part of the last century (the so-called Renaixença), which was then followed by the equally important and powerful "modernisme" or Modernism period in Catalunya, along with several other ultra-modern movements in the 20C. The writer Vargas Llosa said that there was no other city in the world as "snobbish" as Barcelona, except for Milan. The search for and capture of what is "new" is characteristic of one sector of the population and slowly spreads to the rest. It is no wonder, therefore, that some people have spoken of "schizophrenia" caused by the dichotomy between what is traditional and what is new.

At the moment, Barcelona is a "closed" city. That is, it cannot and does not want to grow any more, and so, as result, its streets and buildings are now undergoing a restoration period, and it is trying to improve its services and living conditions in an attempt to substitute quantity for quality. Its newly restored squares are already drawing the attention of the rest of the world, and during the summer months there are all kinds of sporting, commercial and cultural event being held in ever-increasing numbers where previously there was nothing.

what tours we have available here!

Book Organized Tours of Spain

Popular tours sell out well in advance! Don't be disappointed!

Reduce stress! Don't waste time haggling with the hotel concierge.

Lock in your price! Currency dips & price hikes won't effect you.

Save vacation time! Plan & book now, not when you're there.

Balance your vacation budget! Charge tours on this month's credit card bill.

what tours we have available here!

Related sites

Cellar Tours - Gourmet wine tours in Spain and Portugal. Includes tours of Penedes and Tarragona in Catalonia

Book your holiday:

Hotels in Spain

Car Hire in Spain

Organised Tours in Spain

Regions of Spain




Balearic Islands

Basque Country

Canary Islands

Castile and Leon

Castile la Mancha





La Rioja




Valencian Community

Car Hire Malaga, Spain
Top value car rentals from our trusted partner in Malaga.

Spain Travel Guides
Travel guides to Spain

Map of Spain
Map of Spain

All content © 2007 All Rights Reserved.
Cookie Policy

Site Map - Useful Travel Links - Spain related links